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John Elsworthy, who died on 3 May, 2009, was a Welsh footballer who played a key role in Ipswich Town’s ascent up the English football league, winning a champion’s medal at each level.He achieved legendary status at Portman Road under manager Alf Ramsey by helping his team win the Division Three (South) league in 1957, Division Two in 1961 and the overall League Championship in 1962.He had previously won another Division Three (South) medal in 1954 with Scott Duncan at the helm.In total he played 435 games and scored 53 goals for Ipswich Town, his only professional club, between 1949 and 1965.The wing-half was also selected for the Welsh international squad for the 1958 World Cup, but never won a cap. In fact he did not even travel to Sweden because the Welsh FA’s limited budget forced them to reduce the size of the squad.Born in Nantyderry, Gwent, on 26 July, 1931, Elsworthy began his footballing career with amateur side Newport County, before being signed by Duncan in 1949.He became established in the first team in the early ’50s and was known by fans as ‘Big John’. He attracted interest from top clubs but fate saw it fit that he should continue playing for Ipswich as the club rose through the leagues to eventually become English champions.The following season he scored in a 10-0 victory over Maltese champions Florianain the European Cup, but after losing Ramsey to England Ipswich began to slide back down the league. Elsworthy captained the side in his last three games before he retired in 1964.He stayed in Ipswich and ran a local post office for many years. He was later inducted into the Ipswich Town Hall of Fame.
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Published in: Online.
Published from: May 05, 2009.
Region: National
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