Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon reveals his greatest ever Blues number nine

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WITH negativity having already descended on our season for most of us, I thought I’d use the international break to indulge you in the one thing in that won’t let you down... nostalgia.

Somehow having been given total control of table names for my wedding earlier this summer (safer than the venue or we might have ended up on a pitch), I opted for Ipswich Town legends.

This gave me a chance to sift through the great and good of our successful past with potted histories.

The head table had to be Ramsey/Robson as it was just too difficult to separate our (and England’s) greatest ever managers.

But coming across so many other great players who have played in blue-and-white, I decided to go with double names for the rest as well.

Trying to link together the generations to match my guests, I coined: Osborne/Burley, Thijssen/Muhren, Crawford/Phillips, Beattie/Brazil, Ambrose/Bent, Mariner/Wark,Wilnis/Stewart, Reuser/Holland, and not to forget the tribute to our fabulous number ones: Cooper/Wright.

But what it didn’t answer was who was our greatest ever number nine?

It was a conundrum posed by Prostrate Cancer UK to all 72 clubs to celebrate it becoming the Football League’s official charity for 2012/13 and to raise awareness that the illness currently affects one in nine men.

You can make arguments for quite a few, including both the David Johnsons, the more recent dreadlocked one the best I have seen in my generation, as well as Paul Mariner, Ray Crawford and Ted Phillips for that top spot.

But strikers are judged on goals, and therefore I can’t look past Crawford for the accolade.

The first Town player to be capped by England fired us to our only ever First Division title with 33 goals, incredibly in our first season since promotion to the top flight in 1961/62 under Sir Alf Ramsey.

In total he scored 218 times for us in 354 appearances, across two spells, an incredible strike-rate that will probably never be beaten.

A straw poll I carried out on Twitter earlier this week saw you overwhelmingly disagree with me and vote Paul Mariner (96 in 260 apps), as did TWTD’s Phil Ham. The complete full list can be found at the Prostrate Cancer UK Football League webpage.

Meanwhile, we’re finally back in league action on Saturday at Middlesbrough before Wolverhampton Wanderers visit on Wednesday - hopefully with a defender or two signed on by the latter game!