Tag Archives: Ipswich Town

Premier League Files: Hermann Hreidarsson

Premier League Career: Crystal Palace (1997-1998), Wimbledon (1999-2000), Ipswich Town (2000-2002), Charlton Athletic (2003-2007), Portsmouth (2007-2010)

Hermann Hreidarsson shares an unwanted Premier League record with forward Nathan Blake. He has been relegated from the top-flight a joint-record five times and with all the clubs he represented too in the Premier League.

It is unfortunate he holds this distinction because Hreidarsson was a very capable centre-back during his 15 seasons on these shores. He played 315 times in the Premier League, enjoying his best season in 2000-2001 when Ipswich Town finished a brilliant fifth in the table.

Hermann started his professional career at his local club IBV, making the breakthrough into their first-team in 1993. He spent five seasons with them, notching up 66 appearances and scoring five goals. In his final season, IBV ended up as champions of Iceland for only the second time in 18 years. However, by the time they were lifting the trophy, Hreidarsson had already embarked on his English adventure.

Crystal Palace liked what they saw and in August 1997, they signed the defender on their return to the top-flight. Hreidarsson immediately became a fixture in the team on a regular basis. He missed just one match in the 1997-1998 campaign, scoring league goals against Sheffield Wednesday and at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. The Eagles were relegated but his performances stood out week in, week out in a struggling side.

Hreidarsson had been signed by Ron Noades and when he stepped aside as Crystal Palace chairman and moved to Brentford, he took the Icelandic international with him. It was a surprising move considering the Bees were playing in the Third Division at the time. He scored six times in 1998-1999, helping the London-based side to the title but his talents were far greater than the league he was playing in. Settled in the capital, he moved to Wimbledon in October 1999 for a fee of £2.5 million. That was Brentford’s record transfer fee received for 15 years until Andre Gray’s move to Burnley.

Hreidarsson was signed at Wimbledon by fellow Scandinavian Egil Olsen and scored a goal on Boxing Day 1999 against West Ham United, capitalising on a rare error from Shaka Hislop. However, Olsen’s demanding training methods saw him fall out with the majority of the squad and he was sacked weeks before Wimbledon’s relegation to the First Division was confirmed.

That summer, he was on the move again, this time to newly-promoted Ipswich Town for £4.5 million. Hreidarsson formed decent partnerships with Mark Venus and young prodigy Titus Bramble, scoring in a 3-1 victory over Bradford City in March 2001. In their first season back in the Premier League after a six-year absence, the Tractor Boys finished a brilliant fifth in the table, earning a place in the UEFA Cup. The good times didn’t last though in Suffolk.

Ipswich experienced a dramatic reverse in their fortunes in 2001-2002 and a 5-0 defeat on the final day of the season at Anfield saw them relegated. Hreidarsson stayed at Portman Road despite their relegation, turning down a move to West Bromwich Albion in the summer of 2002 for the fear of being involved in yet another dogfight against relegation. However, with financial problems growing and the club slipping into administration, Hermann was sold in March 2003 to Charlton Athletic for £900,000.

Hreidarsson’s return to London to play for his fourth club in the capital was largely a success. He played a key role in Charlton’s best-ever Premier League season as they finished seventh in 2003-2004, scoring one of his three league goals for the club in a surprising 4-2 victory over big-spending Chelsea on Boxing Day 2003.

He made 132 appearances for the Addicks but their stability was rocked by Alan Curbishley’s departure at the end of the 2005-2006 season. Iain Dowie, Les Reed and Alan Pardew all managed the club in the following season but Charlton’s seven-season stay in England’s top-flight ended and that meant a fourth relegation on Hermann’s CV.

Exercising a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave on a free transfer if Charlton were relegated, Hreidarsson switched to Portsmouth in May 2007. He found the net in Pompey’s thrilling 7-4 victory over Reading which remains the highest-scoring match in Premier League history and was part of the team that won the FA Cup in 2008. Hreidarsson made 72 top-flight appearances for Portsmouth but relegation was inevitable when a nine-point penalty was imposed when the club slipped into administration. His 2009-2010 season ended when he snapped an Achilles tendon in an away match against Tottenham Hotspur, ruling himself out of the FA Cup final.

Hreidarsson would never play in the Premier League again but stayed with Portsmouth in the Championship until January 2012. After a six-month spell at Coventry City, he returned to his homeland to begin his coaching career. He managed the Fylkir men’s and women’s teams before becoming an assistant coach for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League in January 2018, linking up with his former Portsmouth teammate, David James.

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The Clubs: Ipswich Town

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
202 57 53 92 219 312 -93 224 5

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
David Linighan 112
Geraint Williams 109
John Wark 101
Mick Stockwell 96
Chris Kiwomya 91
Matt Holland 76
Craig Forrest 74
Hermann Hreidarsson 74
Phil Whelan 74
Gavin Johnson 73

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Marcus Stewart 25
Chris Kiwomya 18
Ian Marshall 13
John Wark 13
Alun Armstrong 11
Marcus Bent 9
Jason Dozzell 7
Martijn Reuser 7
Finidi George 6
Bontcho Guentchev 6

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Ipswich Town 5-0 Sunderland 29th December 2001 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 4-1 Leicester City 2nd January 1995 1994-1995
Oldham Athletic 0-3 Ipswich Town 14th August 1993 1993-1994
Everton 0-3 Ipswich Town 30th September 2000 2000-2001
Ipswich Town 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur 30th December 2000 2000-2001
Southampton 0-3 Ipswich Town 2nd April 2001 2000-2001
Ipswich Town 4-2 Leeds United 3rd October 1992 1992-1993
Ipswich Town 3-1 Manchester City 12th December 1992 1992-1993
Ipswich Town 3-1 Norwich City 19th April 1993 1992-1993
Ipswich Town 3-1 Southampton 16th December 2000 2000-2001

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town 4th March 1995 1994-1995
Ipswich Town 0-6 Liverpool FC 9th February 2002 2001-2002
Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 Ipswich Town 23rd April 1994 1993-1994
Liverpool FC 5-0 Ipswich Town 11th May 2002 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 1-5 Arsenal 5th March 1994 1993-1994
Arsenal 4-0 Ipswich Town 11th September 1993 1993-1994
Leeds United 4-0 Ipswich Town 5th April 1995 1994-1995
Manchester United 4-0 Ipswich Town 22nd September 2001 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 1-4 Sheffield Wednesday 6th November 1993 1993-1994
Nottingham Forest 4-1 Ipswich Town 10th December 1994 1994-1995

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
John Lyall 3 5th December 1994
George Burley 3 11th October 2002

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Ipswich Town 0-1 Manchester United 27th April 2002 28,433 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 0-0 Chelsea 1st April 2002 28,053 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 1-0 Middlesbrough 24th April 2002 25,979 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 0-6 Liverpool FC 9th February 2002 25,608 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 1-3 Southampton 2nd March 2002 25,440 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 0-0 Aston Villa 23rd March 2002 25,247 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 1-0 Fulham 30th January 2002 25,156 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 12th January 2002 25,077 2001-2002
Ipswich Town 2-1 Manchester City 7th May 2001 25,004 2000-2001
Ipswich Town 0-1 Newcastle United 9th December 2001 24,748 2001-2002

 

Intro

Ipswich Town were the last champions of the old Second Division before the formation of the FA Premier League in 1992. The Tractor Boys were a side who might have lacked world-class players but had an abundance of team spirit. This meant they ensured top-flight football remained at Portman Road until 1995. They returned to the Premier League in 2000 for a two-season spell which saw them record a fine fifth-place finish in 2000-2001 before a crushing relegation just one season later.

 

1992-1993

Ipswich’s reward for winning the Second Division title in 1992-1993 was a place in the inaugural Premier League season. They made an impressive start, staying unbeaten in their first eight matches, even though six of those games ended in draws. By January, they sat as high as fourth in the table and even defeated Manchester United 2-1 at Portman Road.

However, the win over the Red Devils was their last success in 13 and saw the club plummet to 17th in the table. A crucial 3-1 victory over East Anglia rivals Norwich City in April with Jason Dozzell scoring twice helped Ipswich achieve their aim of survival, just three points clear of the drop zone.

 

1993-1994

Ipswich dealt with the blow of selling Jason Dozzell to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer initially very well and new signing Ian Marshall made a great start. The summer arrival from Oldham Athletic scored in his first three games as Ipswich recorded victories over the Latics, Southampton and Chelsea, without conceding a goal.

In November, they held Manchester United to a goalless draw at Old Trafford and by New Year’s Day, they sat in the top half, having lost only six of their first 22 games. However, there was little joy in 1994. John Lyall’s team recorded just two further victories and slipped into the relegation battle. On the final day of the season, they managed a goalless draw at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers.

However, they would have been relegated but for a late Mark Stein goal at Stamford Bridge which ensured Sheffield United lost at Chelsea and meant they went down rather than Ipswich.

 

1994-1995

After avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth on the final day of the 1993-1994 season, Ipswich’s luck ran out this season. Although there were early season victories over Queens Park Rangers and Manchester United, Ipswich weren’t able to sustain any consistent form. They were in the bottom four from October onwards and two months later, manager John Lyall resigned as first-team boss.

Former full-back George Burley, who had played a big part in the successful era the club enjoyed during Sir Bobby Robson’s spell, returned to the club as manager. Ipswich did record a surprising 1-0 victory at Anfield over Liverpool FC in mid-January but survival was virtually impossible. In March, they fell victim to a 9-0 beating at Old Trafford against Manchester United which remains the biggest-ever defeat in Premier League history.

Relegation was confirmed over the Easter weekend and Ipswich ultimately finished bottom of the 22-team table, conceding 93 goals and recording just seven league victories.

 

2000-2001

After an absence of five seasons, Ipswich finally returned to the top-flight as play-off winners in 2000 and they spectacularly surpassed expectations. Considered as one of the pre-season favourites for the drop, Ipswich defied the critics time and again. They lost just three home matches all season and never relinquished a position inside the top six after a 2-0 victory away at Bradford City in late October.

A 3-1 home victory over the Bantams in early March took Ipswich into the dizzy heights of third position and it was a spot they held for over seven weeks. Marcus Stewart was a revelation and his 19 goals meant he finished runner-up in the race for the Golden Boot.

Ultimately, the experience of Liverpool FC and Leeds United wore down Ipswich and a 2-1 defeat to Charlton Athletic meant Ipswich were squeezed into fifth spot at the season’s end. Nevertheless, they spectacularly exceeded expectations, earning UEFA Cup football for the first time since 1982 and George Burley’s achievements meant he deservedly won the LMA Manager of the Year award.

 

2001-2002

£8 million was spent on new players in the summer of 2001 with the likes of Finidi George and Matteo Sereni arriving at the club. However, Ipswich were about to fall victim to the curse of “second season syndrome.” A 3-1 victory over Derby County on the 21st August was their only win in their first 18 games and left them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table. Not even a 1-0 victory over Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup could lift the gloom around Portman Road.

Winter looked bleak but Ipswich then hit a purple patch. A late win at White Hart Lane over Tottenham Hotspur just days before Christmas started a glorious run of seven wins in eight games. This included a 5-0 drubbing of Sunderland which remains the club’s biggest-ever Premier League victory.

Ipswich were upto 12th and at this point, a mid-table finish looked a real possibility. However, a soul-destroying 6-0 home beating by Liverpool FC knocked the stuffing out of the team. Ipswich recorded just one victory from their last 12 matches and six more points following the defeat by the Merseysiders. They arrived at Anfield on the last day needing a win to stand any chance of survival. That never looked likely and a 5-0 defeat ultimately consigned them to relegation.

George Burley resigned five months later and Ipswich have rarely looked like escaping the Championship since. Paul Lambert has just been appointed manager but he’ll have a job on his hands to keep Ipswich in the second-tier of English football.

Premier League Files: Richard Wright

Premier League Career: Ipswich Town (1995, 2000-2001), Arsenal (2001-2002), Everton (2002-2006)

In total, Richard Wright made 111 Premier League appearances and won the league title with Arsenal in 2001-2002. However, he only retired from the game in 2016, nearly a decade after his last appearance in the Premier League with Everton. A former England international, Wright seemed more than happy to fulfil the back-up goalkeeper role which considering his rapid rise through the ranks at Ipswich Town, is a sad indictment of his career.

Born not far away from Portman Road, Wright served his apprenticeship with the Tractor Boys and signed a professional contract in January 1995. Four months later, he was thrust into the Premier League limelight for the first time, making his debut as a 17-year-old in a 2-0 victory over Coventry City. By then, Ipswich’s relegation to Division One had already been confirmed but it was a good opportunity for Richard to get a brief experience of top-flight football. George Burley kept him in-goal for their final two Premier League games that season which ended in defeats at home to Everton and away to Sheffield Wednesday.

He remained Ipswich’s first-choice goalkeeper throughout the next five campaigns as they toiled away in the second-tier, often being the bridesmaids but never the brides in the play-offs. In 2000, they finally cracked it and the play-off final win over Barnsley was an eventful afternoon for Wright. He conceded a penalty for fouling Craig Hignett but would save the resultant spot-kick from Darren Barnard. Later, he would play a part in Richard Naylor giving Ipswich the lead which they would hold onto, eventually prevailing 4-2.

In total, Wright played 240 times for Ipswich’s first-team and was one of their leading stars in their return to the Premier League which saw the club finished an unexpected fifth in the table and earn qualification for the UEFA Cup. That was despite being involved in an unfortunate collision with Aston Villa’s Luc Nilis during a match in September 2000 which would see the Belgian never play professional football again.

It was in this period that he won both his senior international caps for England, playing in friendlies against Malta and Netherlands. He went to the 2000 European Championships, serving as the expected third-choice position behind more experienced keepers David Seaman and Nigel Martyn.

He would become club teammates with Seaman just one year later when he decided to make the bold move to Arsenal for £2 million. Arsene Wenger saw him as the man who could be Seaman’s long-term successor, even if that meant taking some short-term pain of giving up regular first-team football. He effectively replaced Alex Manninger in this role. He made 12 Premier League appearances, enough for him to win a title winners’ medal but by the end of the season, he had slipped to third-choice behind youth product Stuart Taylor after some error-strewn displays. He managed to punch the ball into his own net during a home loss to Charlton Athletic in November 2001 and was even subbed at half-time of another dismal showing away to Deportivo La Coruna in the UEFA Champions League.

When Seaman signed a contract extension, Wright knew he needed to leave a difficult season at Highbury behind him and joined Everton for £3.5 million in the summer of 2002. His debut was not good, making another blunder to allow Les Ferdinand of Tottenham Hotspur to score in the 2-2 draw between the sides. However, he redeemed himself a week later, saving Kevin Phillips’ penalty to earn Everton all three points away at Sunderland. He played 33 times and helped the Toffees finish seventh in the final standings.

David Moyes brought Nigel Martyn in as goalkeeping cover in 2003 but when Richard needed knee surgery after a match against Newcastle United in September, he would miss the rest of the campaign. In truth, he would rarely figure again in the Premier League. Martyn put in some inspirational individual displays so even when Wright was fit to return, Moyes stuck with Martyn as his first-choice goalkeeper. He would play just 24 more times in the league for Everton and any further action was restricted to appearances in cup football.

His last outing in the Premier League came in November 2006, conceding three goals in a 3-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Released at the end of the season, he only enjoyed one more campaign as a goalkeeper playing regular football and that was back with Ipswich Town in 2008-2009. Wright became a back-up for the likes of Sheffield United, Southampton and Preston North End. He would actually spend four years on the books of Manchester City but never played a first-team match for the Citizens. At the age of 38, he called time on his career in May 2016.

The Managers: George Burley

Premier League Clubs Managed: Ipswich Town (1994-1995, 2000-2002)

George Burley’s club is most definitely Ipswich Town. A full-back during Sir Bobby Robson’s heyday at the club, Burley made nearly 400 league appearances for the Tractor Boys over 12 successful years which saw glory on both the domestic and European stage.

He then became the club’s manager in late 1994 and spearheaded them to their best-ever Premier League finish of fifth place in 2000-2001. Burley has managed several other clubs and also had a largely unsuccessful year as manager of the Scottish national side.

An FA Cup winner

Ipswich was not only Burley’s main club, it was his first team. Joining as an apprentice in 1972, his first job in his first senior game was to man-mark the great George Best at Old Trafford.

Six years later, he was a senior member of Robson’s squad that were the underdogs in the FA Cup final but continued the tradition in the 1970s of favourites being upset by the outsiders. Ipswich defeated Arsenal 1-0 in 1978 to win the famous trophy for the first time in their history.

In 1981, Ipswich enjoyed their best-ever top-flight campaign, finishing runners-up to Aston Villa in the First Division. They only missed out on the title on the last day of the season. There was glory in the UEFA Cup, as Robson’s side defeated AZ Alkmaar in the final. However, injury meant Burley missed out on the opportunity to play in the showpiece event.

Robson left in 1982 to take the England international job but Burley stayed for another three seasons before moving to Sunderland in 1985. He would experience both relegation and promotion on Wearside before finishing his playing days with Gillingham, Motherwell in two separate spells, Ayr United, Falkirk and Colchester United.

By this point though, he was firmly planted into a long and fairly useful coaching career.

Initial frustration

George’s first taste of management came in Scotland when he succeeded Ally MacLeod as player-manager of Ayr United in 1991. He took the team to two consecutive Scottish Challenge Cup finals but was unable to steer Ayr into the top-flight of Scottish football.

Dismissed in 1993, he resumed his playing career for a year before being appointed Colchester United boss in June 1994. He was only in-charge for 20 games, winning eight of them and was still registered as a player at the time.

In November 1994, John Lyall stepped down as manager of Ipswich with the club firmly rooted in the bottom four of the Premier League. Without Colchester knowing, he held talks with Ipswich and eventually, a compensation package was reluctantly agreed between the two East Anglian sides. Burley became Ipswich boss and once Colchester had sorted out their managerial vacancy, he took the late Dale Roberts with him as assistant manager. The pair had worked together at Ayr too.

There was early success with a fantastic 1-0 victory at Anfield over Liverpool FC with Adam Tanner scoring the only goal. However, there were few victories. The squad was ageing and relegation was confirmed to Division One in April 1995. Among the losses was a record-breaking Premier League 9-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Burley was already building for the future though but the Suffolk side’s stay in the second-tier of English football was to be much longer than hoped. Ipswich were always a promotion contender and never finished lower than seventh for five successive campaigns. There was agony in three play-off semi-finals before finally achieving promotion at the fourth attempt of asking. Barnsley were defeated 4-2 in the final at Wembley Stadium and Ipswich Town were returning to the top-flight.

A stellar return to the top-flight

Tipped by many to go straight back down to Division One after winning promotion, Ipswich quickly wowed the Premiership with an unlikely challenge for not just the top six, but the top three and a place in the UEFA Champions League.

There were impressive away victories along the way at Southampton, Everton, Leeds United and Liverpool FC and Marcus Stewart finished second to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in the race for the Golden Boot. In the end, a 2-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic in April meant a Champions League position would be just beyond Ipswich with two games left.

However, they finished a fine fifth and just four points adrift of Arsenal in second spot. It meant qualification for the UEFA Cup for the first time in 19 years. Burley’s fantastic effort saw him voted the LMA Manager of the Year by his fellow colleagues.

After the highs of 2000-2001, the 2001-2002 season was very disappointing. Only two wins were achieved before Christmas in the Premier League which meant this was going to be a completely different campaign and a battle against relegation. There was an upturn in fortunes with seven wins in eight games taking Ipswich clear of the bottom three. However, a 6-0 home defeat by Liverpool FC started another drastic slide down the table. Ultimately, a 5-0 beating by the Reds at Anfield on the final day saw Ipswich relegated back to the First Division.

Burley was sacked in October 2002 after a 3-0 defeat to Grimsby Town as Ipswich started poorly on their return to the second-tier. They haven’t been back in the Premier League since.

Burley took over at Derby County in 2003 after their manager, John Gregory had been suspended. He did take them to a fourth-place finish in 2005 before resigning after strained relations with the board following the sale of Tom Huddlestone to Tottenham Hotspur. He then went on to have spells with Hearts which did see them briefly threaten the Glasgow clubs dominance of the Scottish game, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Apollon Limassol where his 2012 reign ended there after just two games in control.

Between 2008 and 2009, he was given the honour of managing his country with the remit to try and take Scotland to the World Cup finals in 2010. It didn’t work out. He won just three of his 14 matches as manager and a 3-0 friendly defeat in Cardiff to Wales in November 2009 spelt the end of his difficult reign as an international manager.

Shock Results: Ipswich Town 5-0 Sunderland (December 2001)

Goalscorers: Alun Armstrong 15, 27, Thomas Gaardsoe 26, Finidi George 31, Jamie Clapham 86

Teams:

Ipswich Town: Matteo Sereni, Thomas Gaardsoe, Hermann Hreidarsson, Chris Makin, Mark Venus, Jim Magilton, Matt Holland, Finidi George, Martijn Reuser (Jamie Clapham 72), Alun Armstrong (Richard Naylor 72), Marcus Bent (Jermaine Wright 80)

Sunderland: Thomas Sorensen, Bernt Haas, Michael Gray (George McCartney 45), Emerson Thome, Julio Arca, Jason McAteer (Kevin Kilbane 45), Gavin McCann, Claudio Reyna, Darren Williams, Kevin Phillips, Niall Quinn (Kevin Kyle 45)

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 24,517

The 2001 calendar year had been of tale of two halves for Ipswich Town. After flourishing in the first part of the year which saw them finish a stunning fifth in the table, the Tractor Boys were finding out the tough nature of Premier League football. George Burley’s side were trapped in the bottom three ahead of this clash with Sunderland. The Black Cats sat 10th at kick-off.

Peter Reid’s men went into the match having not conceded a goal in their last 203 minutes of Premier League football but were to be breached four times in a 45 minute spell that left him fuming and the home supporters stunned.

Ipswich took the lead after 15 minutes. Forward Alun Armstrong made the most of a mishit cross by Nigerian summer signing Finidi George to open the scoring. The lead was doubled 11 minutes later. Slack marking at a Mark Venus corner allowed Thomas Gaardsoe to head home. The Dane was only playing because of an injury to Ipswich’s first-choice centre-back, Titus Bramble. It was his first goal in English football.

Sunderland’s previously strong defensive unit seemed to have disappeared for an early New Year party because they looked all over the place – unable to cope with the barrage of attacks the home side were putting together. Just 60 seconds after Gaardsoe’s goal, Darren Williams’ poor backward header saw visiting goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen dash from his goal-line. He was beaten to the aerial challenge by Armstrong. The former Newcastle player couldn’t believe his luck. He had just been gifted his second goal of the afternoon and the onslaught wasn’t finished yet.

Fine work from skipper Matt Holland and recent new arrival Marcus Bent played in Finidi George. Sorensen partially committed himself and was caught in no-man’s land as the winger punished him by lobbing the ball delightfully over the hapless Dane. Ipswich had scored four goals in a 16-minute spell which suggested their current league position of 18th was false.

Reid made a triple half-time substitution and there was a slight improvement after the break. However, there was still time for Ipswich’s own substitute, Jamie Clapham to round off the scoring with four minutes left to play.

This win was part of a run that saw George Burley’s side win seven out of eight games that saw them climb to 12th but it was a false dawn. Ipswich never recovered from a 6-0 walloping in February from Liverpool FC and were relegated on the final day, with Sunderland only just surviving in 17th. This though was Ipswich’s day and one small memory for their supporters from an underwhelming campaign.

Shock Results: Ipswich Town 3-2 Manchester United (September 1994)

Goalscorers: Paul Mason 15, 43, Eric Cantona 70, Paul Scholes 73, Steve Sedgley 80

Teams:

Ipswich Town: Craig Forrest, David Linighan, Steve Palmer, Steve Sedgley, Claus Thomsen, Frank Yallop, John Wark (Simon Milton 88), Gavin Johnson, Paul Mason, Adrian Paz (Bontcho Guentchev 79), Geraint Williams

Manchester United: Gary Walsh, Steve Bruce, Denis Irwin, Gary Pallister, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Andrei Kanchelskis, Brian McClair (Nicky Butt 83), Ryan Giggs, Lee Sharpe (Paul Scholes 62), Eric Cantona

Referee: Peter Jones, Attendance: 22,553

Reigning champions Manchester United travelled to Portman Road where they were expected to comfortably get the better of Ipswich Town. The Red Devils had effectively won the title the previous season at this ground and were keen to keep up with the early season pacesetters, Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest.

Ipswich weren’t in the best of form. John Lyall’s side had managed just one victory all season and were coming off the back of a 2-1 home defeat to Norwich City in the East Anglian Derby. Their spirits might have been lifted when they saw the teams and Peter Schmeichel being a notable absentee. The Dane was not risked here with an important UEFA Champions League game in midweek in Istanbul against Galatasaray.

The Tractor Boys took advantage to grab the early initiative and the lead after just 15 minutes. Claus Thomsen produced a teasing cross and Paul Mason dived in to beat reserve goalkeeper Gary Walsh. At this stage, this was probably just a blot in the United copybook but concern grew two minutes before half-time for Alex Ferguson as his side went 2-0 down. Playing as an emergency left-back, Lee Sharpe lost his footing and this gave Mason the space to launch another shot on-goal that defeated Walsh comprehensively. Ferguson’s decision to leave out a more natural defender in David May had come back to haunt him.

Harsh words must have been said at half-time from the manager and he reacted past the hour mark. Sharpe, who wasn’t enjoying his afternoon, was sacrificed for Paul Scholes, who had scored twice in a midweek League Cup victory over Port Vale. It changed the momentum of the match as the champions started to demonstrate their clear class. With 20 minutes left, Roy Keane’s superb ball across the face of goal was tapped home by Eric Cantona to half the deficit. Three minutes later, they were back on level terms. Keane again broke clear down the right-hand side and produced another testing delivery which was clipped into the net at the near post by Scholes. Just 19-years-old, he had now scored three goals in a week and was clearly going to be an exciting talent for the future.

His contribution wasn’t enough though to salvage a point. With 10 minutes remaining, Frank Yallop galloped down the right-hand side, swung the ball into the box and there was ex-Tottenham midfielder Steve Sedgley to strike the winning goal past Walsh, via a deflection off Keane.

It was Ipswich’s first home Premier League victory since February and part of a run that saw Manchester United lose three consecutive away games. Ferguson’s men got their own back in the return meeting, thumping Ipswich 9-0 in March 1995 but this was the high point of the season for the men from Suffolk.

Premier League Rewind: 11th May 2002

Results: Arsenal 4-3 Everton, Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Fulham, Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa, Leeds United 1-0 Middlesbrough, Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool FC 5-0 Ipswich Town, Manchester United 0-0 Charlton Athletic, Southampton 3-1 Newcastle United, Sunderland 1-1 Derby County, West Ham United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

Although the destiny of the championship had been settled a few days earlier, there was still some issues to address on the final day of the 2001-2002 season. The main factor at stake was the final relegation spot. Who would be joining Derby County and Leicester City on a one-way ticket to the First Division?

The favourites to join them in the second-tier were Ipswich Town. George Burley’s side had finished fifth the previous campaign but apart from a brief revival early in 2002, they had failed to find the form that took them so close to UEFA Champions League qualification in 2000-2001. They went to Anfield and had to win to stand any chance of survival.

Liverpool FC were in no mood to be easy either. Midweek results meant a victory here would guarantee their best-ever finishing position in the Premier League of runners-up. They had beaten Ipswich 6-0 at Portman Road in February and another thrashing was on the cards when John Arne Riise fired Liverpool into an 11th minute lead. Ipswich did hit the bar and the Reds’ lost Steven Gerrard to a groin injury which would destroy his World Cup hopes. However, as soon as Riise doubled his tally just before the half-hour mark, the Tractor Boys’ fate was sealed. A mistake from Titus Bramble allowed Michael Owen to score a third seconds into the restart and further goals from substitute Vladimir Smicer and Nicolas Anelka put the seal on the 5-0 final scoreline. Ipswich went down and Liverpool FC had beaten Manchester United in a final league standings table for the first time since 1990.

Ipswich’s nightmare on Merseyside meant Sunderland would survive, regardless of their result at home to Derby County. Kevin Phillips scored the opening goal and although Derby equalised, these sides would be playing in different divisions in 2002-2003. It was a worrying drop for Peter Reid’s side though – a fall of 10 positions on their previous two seasons.

It was a day of parties and celebration at Highbury. Arsenal’s midweek magic at Old Trafford had meant they’d won the double for the second time in four years. Thierry Henry scored twice in an entertaining 4-3 final day victory over Everton to pip Alan Shearer and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to the Golden Boot award. It was the first of four occasions that the Frenchman would come out on top in this race. At the end of the match, Tony Adams lifted aloft the Barclaycard Premiership title which confirmed Arsenal were back at the summit of English football. Adams and Lee Dixon would announce their retirements from professional football shortly after the celebrations had concluded.

Another player saying farewell was Matt Le Tissier. ‘Saint Le Tiss’ had struggled with injuries for the past couple of seasons and had already played his last game for the club. However, he received a guard of honour and presentations on-field before Southampton’s final match of the season which was a 3-1 victory over Newcastle United.

At Old Trafford, there were no trophies to lift at the end of an unsuccessful season but David Beckham did sign a new contract on the eve of a sterile goalless draw between the former champions and Charlton Athletic. Beckham would only feature in one more Premier League season before joining Real Madrid in the summer of 2003.

After 111 years, Leicester City played their final match at Filbert Street before moving to the Walkers’ Stadium (later known as the King Power Stadium). They ended on a high – beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. The ground was demolished a year later. Elsewhere, Leeds United overtook Chelsea on the final day to finish fifth after beating Middlesbrough 1-0. David O’Leary was sacked though in June and Blackburn’s 3-0 triumph against Fulham ensured a top-10 finish on their return to the top-flight.

What else happened in May 2002?

  • Tragedy hits the rail industry with the fatal accident at Potters Bar railway station. A points’ failure was to blame, leaving seven dead and 76 injured.
  • After 21 years, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical “Cats” appears for the last time of its original run at London’s West End. It is revived in 2014.
  • Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones debuts at cinemas.
  • Latvia wins the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Tallinn, Estonia.
  • African newcomers Senegal stun holders France to win 1-0 in the opening match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
  • After 26 years of occupation by Indonesia, East Timor regains its independence.
  • McLaren’s David Coulthard wins the Monaco Grand Prix for the second time in his career. It is the last time a team other than Ferrari will win a Formula One event for 10 months.

Premier League Files: David Linighan

Premier League Career: Ipswich Town (1992-1995)

Defender David Linighan came from a footballing family. He has two brothers who played professional football. One of his brothers, Andy Linighan scored a winning goal for Arsenal in the 1993 FA Cup final.

David’s career wasn’t quite as high-profile as that of Andy but has the record for the most Premier League appearances for Ipswich Town and is a former captain of the club.

He began his career as a 17-year-old at Hartlepool United in 1982, making close to 100 appearances at Victoria Park. David moved onto Shrewsbury Town in 1986 before Ipswich snapped him up two years later.

He played 277 league games for the Tractor Boys’, scoring 12 times. Named skipper in 1990, his commanding performances helped the club win promotion to the Premier League in 1992.

Linighan would score four times in the Premier League Years – all at Portman Road. His final goal came in a draw with Manchester City in March 1994.

He moved to Blackpool in the closing months of 1995, playing under three different managers at Bloomfield Road in Sam Allardyce, Gary Megson and Nigel Worthington. He finished his playing career playing in the non-league with Hyde United in 2002.

Although he has made the occasional appearance on local radio as a matchday pundit, David has stayed out of the game since retirement and now works as a carpenter.

Shock Results: Liverpool FC 0-1 Ipswich Town (January 1995)

Goalscorer: Adam Tanner 30

Teams:

Liverpool FC: David James, Rob Jones, Neil Ruddock, Phil Babb, John Scales, Stig-Inge Bjornebye (Mark Walters 56), Steve McManaman, Michael Thomas, Jamie Redknapp, Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler

Ipswich Town: Craig Forrest, John Wark, Frank Yallop, Gavin Johnson, David Linighan, Geraint Williams, Adam Tanner, Steve Sedgley, Adrian Paz, Stuart Slater, Claus Thomsen

Referee: Rodger Gifford, Attendance: 32,733

Few gave Ipswich Town much chance of defeating an ever-improving Liverpool FC side in the early weeks of 1995. In the table, there was a gulfing class between the two teams.  Roy Evans’ side were in the top three in the table whilst Ipswich sat second-bottom and already looked doomed. With top scorer Chris Kiwomya on his way to Arsenal, Ipswich’s plight looked even more desperate.

Liverpool though had failed to beat fellow strugglers Crystal Palace and West Ham United at home earlier in the campaign which did give the Tractor Boys’ supporters a glimmer of hope as they turned up at Anfield. What they wouldn’t have been thrilled about was that the Reds’ were on a run of five matches without conceding a goal.

As expected, the home side started strongly with Steve McManaman’s weaving runs causing problems for the backline and full-back Rob Jones testing Craig Forrest with a couple of early efforts. So, the home support was left stunned by an opening goal from Ipswich in the 30th minute.

A nice passing move involving Geraint Williams and Steve Sedgley started the move. The skipper found Adam Tanner, who killed the ball with a deft first touch and as three defenders approached him, he produced a beautiful curling effort that left David James without a chance. Tanner had been brought into the side over the Christmas period by the new manager George Burley and struck in just his third appearance for the club.

Liverpool FC had to improve in the second half and it was Jones once again who forced Forrest into serious work. He burst into the box but unfortunately, his shot was hit straight at the Canadian international who beat it away to safety.

Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler had a very quiet afternoon as they were well-marshalled by Frank Yallop and the ex-Liverpool FC defender John Wark. McManaman did get into some dangerous positions but even his final ball wasn’t quite up to its usual standards.

Ipswich didn’t have a lot to celebrate during the season. They would finish bottom of the table and consequently were relegated but this was a special result and one of the shocks of the 1994-1995 season. Liverpool’s first defeat since November’s Merseyside derby at Goodison Park all-but-ended any potential surge into the championship picture.