Date: 28th March 2018 at 5:18pm
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Bobby Ferguson, like Sir Bobby Robson, was born in County Durham and not only shared the same christian name as Sir Bobby but also many of his football ethics. It was he who persuaded the most successful manager in the club’s history to play Eric Gates in a hole behind the main two strikers, and it returned almost instant dividends.

The club itself issued an official statement via a tweet, in which they said they were ‘deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Town manager Bobby Ferguson at the age of 80 and that the thoughts of everyone at itfc were with Bobby’s family and friends at this difficult time.’

Ferguson was born on the 8th January 1938 and was nurtured in his youthful years by Newcastle United where he made just eleven appearances as a full back, then moving to Derby, Cardiff, Barry Town and finally Newport County, before taking his coaching badge.

The former Portman Road boss leaves behind his wife Ann, his son Keith and his daughter Kim, who returned from working in the Bahamas just two months since, so that she could celebrate his 80th with him!

He joined Sir Bobby coaching staff in 1970, having briefly worked as a player coach at Newport. He began coaching the reserves and Terry Butcher, George Burley, Eric Gates, Russell Osman, Kevin Beattie and Jason Dozzell can all be grateful for his motivation and expertise and he was also the head coach of the Ipswich Town team that won the FA Youth Cup in the 1975!

In fact, his reserve team coaching duties continued until after the 1978 FA Cup final victory over Arsenal, and some say that it was his tactical know-how that stifled The Gunners attacking prowess that wonderful day at Wembley.

Shortly afterwards, he became first team coach at the expense of Cyril Lea and the rest, as they say, is football history!

Town exploits in Europe began after he become involved in first team affairs and there is little doubt that he had a big influence on Sir Bobby’s decision-making processes in those days.

He took over the job of managing the club in 1982, when Sir Bobby was appointed as the England boss but could not replicate the achievements of the great man himself.

He kept his job after relegation from the First Division in 1986 but was replaced by John Duncan the following year, after Ipswich failed to win promotion.

His death will be marked by the club holding a minutes applause and wearing the customary black armbands as a mark of respect, in their next match at Portman Road against Millwall this coming Easter Monday.

Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich


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