The year in 2006 and Ipswich Town are facing a daunting prospect in the FA Youth Cup Final.
They were up against a Southampton side with an array of future superstars in their squad. Theo Walcott, Leon Best, David McGoldrick and Gareth Bale all lined up against the Blues and were widely expected, even then, to take the win. Going back to the early nineties, the biggest names in English football had dominated the competition, with Leeds, Manchester United and Liverpool all taking the silver. This was a huge chance for Ipswich’s young guns to do themselves proud.
Bets and McGoldrick has scored for the Saints in the first leg, both who later graced the Portman Road turf in the blue of Town, but Cathal Lordan’s brace cancelled those out. Into the second leg, a winner could not be found over 90 minutes, but as the game went into extra time, the pendulum swung the way of the Blues. Ed Upson, a 15–year-old at the time, grabbed a winner to bring the title home.
Such was the magnitude of the win, only one side from outside the big six have won it since, some team in yellow from up the road, but otherwise, it is very much the stronghold on the big clubs and heavily-funded academies. Whilst these games now almost always boast stars of the future, what became of some of Ipswich’s big players from the night? We’ve picked out five for you here.
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Casement did eventually emerge in the Town first team, making 14 appearances fas well as featuring in loan moves to Wycombe, Hamilton and Millwall. He eventually left for Dundee, where he struggled for game time before heading back to his homeland with Linfield.
He played lots of games for Portadown and Linfield, appearing in the Europa League, as well as earning a single Irish cap in 2009. He’s now turning out for Stowmarket Town.