3. Statue of Sir Alf
(not to confused with the Statue of Zeus at Olympia)
Authoritative / Bronze / Calm
Planning to meet a friend to watch the once mighty ITFC? A dead handy landmark is the haunting Statue of Sir Alf Ramsey at the corner of Portman Road and, er, Sir Alf Ramsey Way. Sure, Zeus may have been the king of the gods, but it took Alf to turn Ipswich into champions of England.
Those Were The Days
Round here, we fear change. No surprise, then, that a chap named Scott Duncan was Ipswich Town's manager for fully 18 years. Finally, in 1955, aged 67, he stepped aside to be replaced by a bright young button nearly half his age, a former Spurs and England right-back. Enter Alf Ramsey, all of 35 years old.
Born in Dagenham, Alf took control of a lacklustre bunch of players languishing in the Third Division South and, with a few acute signings and plenty of acumen, guided them to a remarkable First Division championship win in 1961/62. Not unlike a Melchester Rovers storyline in Roy Of The Rovers. Wikipedia tells us that Alf actually managed Melchester when Roy was in hospital!
Come October 1962, Ramsey accepted the job of England manager and promptly predicted that they'd win the next World Cup. The rest is history.
This fantastically lifelife 7ft sculpture was unveiled in August 2000 by Ray Crawford, one of the championship winning team's forwards, and is the work of (ITFC fan) Sean Hedges-Quinn, known as Coach. The plinth reads:
SIR ALFRED RAMSEY
1920 - 1999
Ipswich Town F.C. Manager
1955 - 1963
Division One Champions 1961-62
England Team Manager
1963 - 1974
World Cup Winners 1966
Erected by ITFC Supporters Club
in recognition of a great man
Among SHQ's other work -- you may catch his name on the credits for films like V For Vendetta -- he's also created memorials for a brace of Bobs:
- Bobby Robson, unveiled July 2002, a bit further along Portman Road
- Bob Stokoe, unveiled July 2006, up at Sunderland's Stadium of Light
The site of the statue, just yards from the ground, has given rise to the phrase Meet Me At Sir Alf, also the name of a Blues fanzine. Rather cleverly, the railings behind have a series of indents: catch them at the right angle and they spell out ITFC.
For years and years, Sir Alf and Lady Victoria Ramsey lived in a modest house on Valley Road (three doors up from Framlingham Court), two streets away from my place on Broom Hill Road. As it happens, we used to share the same newsagents -- Goldings on Norwich Road (became The Pasta Place, then Hunterskill Recruitment) -- and I once had the pleasure of holding open the door for him. He remained an inscrutable and unassuming chap.
Over at Olympia, that 40ft statue had Zeus adorned with winged figures of Victory. Alf, bless him, didn't need wingers.