Town's national speedway manager trio

IPSWICH'S proud link with international sporting managers goes beyond football.As reported on Thursday, George Burley's appointment as Scotland manager was follows Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson transition from successful club management with Ipswich to the international scene.

Elvin King

By ELVIN KING

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

IPSWICH'S proud link with international sporting managers goes beyond football.


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As reported on Thursday, George Burley's appointment as Scotland manager was follows Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson transition from successful club management with Ipswich to the international scene.

Former Town players Bryan Hamilton and Frank Yallop have also gone on the manage Northern Ireland and Canada respectively.

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However, it is not just the round ball game that has seen the capital town of Suffolk produce managers for a national side.

Despite failing to set the track alight over the last few years, Ipswich remains a speedway hot bed.

And the Ipswich Evening Star Witches can boast supplying two managers for the Great Britain team.

John Berry, who was Witches promoter from 1979 until 1984, was a successful manager of the England team, while locally raised John Louis has been running the club for the last 20 years and also moved up from Foxhall Stadium to take charge of the national side.

And in addition, Ipswich-based travel agent and life-long speedway devotee James Easter has also team-managed the Great Britain, USA and Australian speedway sides.

“There could be something in the air,” said Louis. “But really I think it is that both the town's football and speedway clubs have been well run over the years.

“I know it was a huge honour for me to be asked to take charge of my home country team. Perhaps a bigger thrill than actually riding for Great Britain.

“I learned how to manage and motivate from John Berry while I was riding for Ipswich.

“I have to admit I thought the England job might be a bit too far when I was first approached.

“For the first year I was joint manager with James (Easter) and he convinced me that it was the right thing to do.

“I was able to mix the national ream with club affairs, and I did the job for four years - three on my own as James pulled out within a year.”

Neil Middleditch from Poole Pirates is the current Great Britain team manager and he has held the post for some time.

While Louis is still promotes the Witches in the Elite League, Berry has been living in virtual retirement in Perth Western Australia for the last 15 years and Easter is no long involved in speedway other than arranging fan trips to continental meetings.

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