Lee exceeded Royle's rating

ALAN Lee's record of 34 goals in 109 appearances for Ipswich Town compares favourably with that of any Town striker.When Lee arrived at Portman Road in January 2006 then manager Joe Royle confided to me: “With respect to Alan we have signed a £100,000 player.

Elvin King

ALAN Lee's record of 34 goals in 109 appearances for Ipswich Town compares favourably with that of any Town striker.

When Lee arrived at Portman Road in January 2006 then manager Joe Royle confided to me: “With respect to Alan we have signed a £100,000 player.”

The implications are that Royle - a former star striker himself - didn't expect too much from the Republic of Ireland international in the days when the purse strings were strictly controlled.

Royle was being badgered to sell to keep the club financial stable - a totally different world to life at Ipswich these days.

But, thanks to the genial and articulate Lee falling in love with the area after finding an idyllic residence in the middle of Constable Country at Dedham, the 30-year-old started playing some of the best football of his career.

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He scored 17 goals in 2006/07 in a non-too-successful side and became a big favourite with Blues supporters.

In total Lee, who was sold to Crystal Palace for a fee rising to £900,000 last week (good business indeed), notched 34 goals in 109 first team appearances.

This sits well with goal output figures of some of the more revered strikers who have pulled on a blue Ipswich shirt.

David Johnson (the second) scored 62 times in 158 matches, Darren Bent 55 in 141 and Kevin Wilson 49 in 123.

Current striker Pablo Counago's record is below that of Lee's with the Spaniard having found the net 49 times in 172 games.

The top Town scorers of all time have better ratios - apart from John Wark who was a midfield magician who had a wonderful knack of scoring goals.

Ray Crawford scored 227 times in 353 starts, Wark 179 in 678 appearances, Ted Phillips 179 in 294 starts, Tom Garneys 143 in 272 starts and Paul Mariner 135 in 339 appearances.

Lee is set to remain living in Dedham where he often has members of his family over from Ireland to stay.

But he now has his sights on helping Palace gain promotion, although there is reason to believe in an ideal world he would have loved to have stayed with Ipswich Town.

“I was getting regular football at Ipswich but I jumped at the chance to go and play for Neil Warnock,” said Lee.

“He's a winner. He's someone who's very successful. He took an unfancied team up to the Premiership and I like his style of play and jumped at the chance.

“I like playing on my own up front, I've played with a big centre forward, small centre-forward and each one asks a different thing from you. I like to think from my experience I can handle whatever.”

AN Ipswich Town veterans' side is in action against Norwich City at Carrow Road tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

The Blues side will be led by Simon Milton with Micky Stockwell, Chris Kiwomya, Jason Dozzell, Paul Goddard, Bontcho Guentchev and Ian Atkins also in action.

Only the Jarrold Stand will be open with tickets £5 for adults and £1 for concessions. Proceeds are going to Norwich City's Historical Trust.

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