Norris: Jim's passion was the clincher

JIM Magilton has finally got his man after 18 months of watching from afar.When the new Town boss was asked who was on his shopping list having taken over the reins at Portman Road in the summer of 2006, David Norris' name was one of the first on his lips.

JIM Magilton has finally got his man after 18 months of watching from afar.

When the new Town boss was asked who was on his shopping list having taken over the reins at Portman Road in the summer of 2006, David Norris' name was one of the first on his lips.

Jim had played against the 26-year-old on a number of occasions, but prising the fans' favourite away from Plymouth would prove to be a mission of patience and frustration in equal measure.

A polite enquiry to his availability was rejected by then Pilgrims' boss Ian Holloway at the start of the season, before Blues stepped up interest in the player as soon as the transfer window swung open in January.

Two bids were turned down and then the player put in a transfer request, but still it looked as though Town's efforts to bring the former Bolton man to Portman Road would be thwarted.

A sell-on clause written in by Bolton when they let David join Plymouth in 2002 proved one of the major obstacles in a deal that Town chairman David Sheepshanks described as the most complicated he has been involved in during his time at the club.

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But on transfer deadline day, the deal was finally done and now the Stamford-born player is looking forward to a new chapter in his career.

"I knew about Ipswich's interest for a long time and the move appealed straight away," David tells the matchday programme.

"But to be honest, there were many times when I didn't think it was going to happen.

"Ipswich were certainly persistent, though, and when I made up my mind that I wanted to come here and made that clear to Plymouth, things started to move on fairly quickly.

"Bolton helped out, I think, with the sell-on clause and everything managed to be sorted out just before the deadline expired.

"It was a great relief when it was all done and dusted and I could get going, because all the speculation over where I would be playing had dragged on right through January.

"Plymouth were great to me during what could have been a difficult time. The fans were terrific. I've always had a good relationship with them, and the manager, Paul Sturrock, was the same as well.

"I really enjoyed my time at Plymouth but just felt that this was the right move for me at the right time.

"Jim Magilton was a big reason I came here. He had spoken well about me in the past and I have been impressed with his passion for the job and for this Football Club.

"He's very ambitious for Ipswich Town and knows where he wants to take the club and that matches my own thoughts about the future.

"The move here also means that I am closer to my family base. They are only 90 minutes down the road now and that will make it a lot easier for them to get to games.

"I would never join a club just for those reasons - being near family - but it's a welcome bonus."

David was one of five new arrivals at Portman Road during the January transfer window, with Alan Quinn, Stephen Bywater, Velice Sumulikoski and Nick Colgan making up the other fresh faces at the club.

Nick was on the bench but the other four featured as Blues ended that away day hoodoo with victory at Sheffield Wednesday last week.

After playing the full 90 minutes at Hillsborough, David admits that he is at a loss to explain why Town had to wait so long _ it was the 15th League trip of the season _ to experience a first success on the road in 2007/08.

"We deserved to win and I was surprised that it had been such a long time coming," he says.

"The way Ipswich approach games is very attack-minded. I have seen first-hand how many chances the team creates, so it was a shock that the boys had gone so long without a win. Now it would be nice to put a few more together as we push on.

"Promotion is wide open in this league and I reckon 10 or more clubs believe they could still win automatic promotion, let alone finish in the play-off places.

"We are nicely placed, and looking around the training ground we have the squad to have a real chance."

Being one of five new recruits has made it a little easier for the new players to settle in and David is already starting to feel at home.

"We're all in the same hotel so that helps and we are beginning to get used to the way things are done here," he adds.

"It's a new life here for me and that is a little nerve-wracking at the start. It's a bit similar to your first day at school, but the lads have made us all feel at home.

"It's a million miles from what I have been used to though. This is a very professional football club. The preparation for games, the training facilities, the indoor pitch, the stadium - they are all first class.

"Everything is done to the highest standards. That is important and it also limits your excuses.

"The preparation is so good that you then have to take responsibility if performances are not up to the standard they should be."

David's move to Portman Road sees him line up with a former team-mate from his Bolton days, where he started his career, Jon Walters.

The two were youngsters together at the Reebok before moving on for first-team football elsewhere.

"We played a few times together for the reserves there. You could see Jon was a good player back then and it's no surprise to me that he is doing really well at Ipswich," says David.

"I was quite young when Bolton got promoted to the Premier League and I realised pretty quickly that I wasn't going to get a look in at first-team level while they were at that level. When there was so much at stake.

"Maybe if we had got relegated then things might have been different, but that didn't happen and Sam Allardyce brought in a lot of new players, some of them internationals, and it was hard for the home grown players to break into the first team.

"I had come from non-League when I joined Bolton and was pretty raw, but I learned a lot there - mainly not to get on the wrong side of big Sam if I could help it!"

Ollie way

WHILE David Norris looks at his move to Portman Road as a forward step, he has nothing but fond memories of his time at Plymouth.

The midfielder, who can play wide or through the centre, spent five years at Home Park including more than a year under Ian Holloway's management.

"I really enjoyed my time there under Ollie. He's as mad as a hatter, but a great character and a very good manager," says David.

"He's hyperactive, but so enthusiastic for the game and deadly serious about the business of winning matches.

"I think a lot of players agreed to join Plymouth because of him. The location of the club can sometimes make it difficult for them to attract players, but that didn't seem to be such a problem when Ollie was there.

"He had the knack of getting players to join him and that must have been down to his character and his ability.

"He liked playing attacking football as well and getting players forward and that suited my style. It was a good time for me there."

This interview has been reproduced courtesy of today's matchday programme against Watford.

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