Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
It Was 30 Years Ago Today
Tuesday, 4th Feb 2014 06:00

Thirty years ago today Jason Dozzell became the youngest player to score a goal in the English top flight, a record which still stands. Aged just 16 years and 57 days, the Chantry High School pupil was given his debut as a sub and netted the final goal in a 3-1 home victory over Coventry City in the old First Division. TWTD caught up with Jason to find out what he recalls of that momentous day.

Ipswich-born Dozzell’s elevation into the first team squad came in the week after Town’s 2-0 FA Cup exit at Shrewsbury with manager Bobby Ferguson keen to put pressure on some of his more senior players following that defeat.

“I’d only played a few youth team games and a couple of reserve games,” Dozzell remembers. “In those days there was only one sub. I was pulled out of school on the Thursday and went and trained with the first team and I was in the squad for the Saturday.”

With the likes of John Wark, George Burley, Paul Cooper, Terry Butcher, Eric Gates, Russell Osman and Paul Mariner still at the club - although the Coventry game was the striker's last before his move to Arsenal - Dozzell admits he was a touch overawed by the company he was suddenly keeping.

“Outside the dressing room there used to be a boiler room on the right-hand side and I used to go and hide in there for half an hour because I was scared of walking into the changing room with the team I had supported only a few years earlier.

“I’d followed Ipswich home and away before I’d got really seriously into playing football. I never thought that I’d be playing with them.”

He says Ferguson only told him he would be involved shortly before kick-off: “You didn’t know until you got down there on the Saturday whether you were playing.

“I went and had the pre-match meal and we had the meeting at about a quarter to two and then the manager said I was on the bench.

“I try and think back now to what I was thinking and can’t remember. When you’re so young it sometimes just goes over your head. It’s only now when I look back I think ‘Jesus Christ!’.

“Eric Gates got injured after 29 minutes and I was on. I can’t remember any of how I felt at that point, I really can’t, apart from being very, very nervous. Of course, the icing on the cake was getting the last goal with us 2-1 up at the time.”

Three decades on, his memories of that goal are crystal clear: “I remember it like it was yesterday. There was a freekick on the halfway line, Terry Butcher took it, he aimed it at John Wark.

“He knocked it down, I slid in and I managed to get a good hook on it and lobbed the keeper and it went into the top corner. And the rest is history. It was a good goal, actually!

“I just put my hands up and ran away, I knew people there, my school friends were there where I scored at the North Stand end.

“And then I just got mobbed by everybody. I didn’t really have a goal celebration in my mind, I didn’t really think I was going to score!”

Becoming the talk not just of the town but of the entire footballing nation scuppered his plans for an appearance in a lower key game the following day: “I went to play for my Sunday league side, Langham Lions. I took my boots and everything to play but there were some reporters there.

“I was trying to get a sneaky game in but there were reporters there so I ended up stood on the sidelines with my boots watching.”

The media circus really started in earnest on the Monday: “I went back to school and television cameras came along and at break they got the whole school to make a big circle and I’m there in the middle kicking the ball, it was hilarious.

“They loved me at school after that. They used to give me detentions, but they loved me after that. I couldn’t do anything wrong!”

Despite the TV coverage in the days after the game, Dozzell, who is now a coach in the Town academy where his 14-year-old son Andre is following in his footsteps, has never seen footage of the goal itself: “I’m still trying to get a tape of it now but I’ve had no luck on that front.”

While Connor Wickham (16 years and 11 days) and Byron Lawrence (16 years and 47 days) have since made Town debuts while younger than Dozzell, albeit in the Championship, he remains the youngest player to score in the top division, a record he doesn’t expect to be beaten.

James Vaughan is the youngest to score in the Premier League era, the Huddersfield striker having netted for Everton against Crystal Palace when 16 years and 267 days in 2005.

“They don’t really mention it a lot because it wasn’t the Premier League then, but I still hold the record for top flight,” Dozzell said.

“No one’s really come close to 16 years and 57 days. Hopefully it’ll stand. You might see someone play at that age, a 16-year-old might make their debut, but it’s the goalscoring bit that’s going to be hard to beat.”

Dozzell was amongst the guests on last Saturday's Life's a Pitch on Radio Suffolk talking about Town past, present and hopefully future (01.40.00).

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

megamoth added 06:34 - Feb 4
Happy happy days. But I have never woken up to news that has made me feel so old. Thanks for that one Phil. Ouch!

hpj added 06:40 - Feb 4
One of the most over rated town players I have ever seen.

Dozzells_Bobblehat added 07:07 - Feb 4
hpj - totally disagree, class player

Dissboyitfc added 07:08 - Feb 4
Happy days ... a very underrated player in my opinion, no pace but a very silky skillful player.

Wouldnt happen now of course under big mick, he would be at a non league club.. COYB

pennblue added 07:26 - Feb 4
The best goal for me was the one at Anfield, where we came away with 3 points in a 1-0 win..

Steve_M added 07:36 - Feb 4
A little bit of nostalgia to start the day; nice one. I enjoyed watching Dozzell here, very good in Lyall's promotion season and then the one after just a shame he went to Spurs when he did and the football stopped under McGiven.

trncbluearmy added 07:36 - Feb 4
I was there

Class Act,hope his boy is just as good

Gingerblues added 07:53 - Feb 4
What a great is his determined run and shot along the ground against Norwich that sticks in the mind, I remember being there, it was a tense derby and the flood of relief that we had won it stays with me :-)

(second goal on here)

yesjohn99 added 07:53 - Feb 4
Pennblue, dozzell scored in the fa cup loss in 91, Adam tanner got the winner in the one nil a few years later.

itfchorry added 09:02 - Feb 4
hpj - up there with the worst post I have
ever read on here


brazil1982 added 09:42 - Feb 4
I agree with hpj I'm afraid, he had one good, consistent season under Lyall for promotion, the rest mediocre.

yorksblue added 09:48 - Feb 4
I remember the last second equaliser vs Hartlepool at home in the FA Cup. Shame he had to declare his life long love of Spurs.

LeighOnSeaBlue added 10:15 - Feb 4
Yep makes me feel very old. I so remember seeing him score and it was a good goal as well.

Smithy added 10:36 - Feb 4
remember it well, also seem to recall Mariner had to play on despite being badly injured during game (cracked rib I think), remember him being gangly, skinny and not to muscular when he burst onto the scene!

afrodids added 12:15 - Feb 4
I was there :) A day in town history Dozzell's 1st goal and Mariner's last! I remember watching him many times, me and my dad used to call him dozzy Dozzell as he was so slow on the ball!

Langdon_Blue added 12:24 - Feb 4
Loved Dozzell. I have a friend who was at a Spurs game and while the players were warming up the announcer reminded fans that it is an offence to run on the pitch and anyone doing so could be ejected from the ground. Apparently someone shouted 'that doesn't refer to you Dozzell!' Makes you wonder if we got the best out of him, similarly Kiwomya with Arsenal.

brendenward35 added 12:55 - Feb 4
why oh why do people just love making bad comments about ITFC players past or present? if he was that bad why did Tottenham buy him? must have shown some potential or they wouldn't have brought him. His also helped out a few local clubs in the area so lets get off his back and have some positive comments for once

Seasider added 15:47 - Feb 4
Manager at the time Fergy had a hard act to follow in Sir Bobby and if I remember rightly had to sell our best players to finance the extra tier on West Stand.
In those days however did give young players the chance unlike today.
Mick is first Manager I can remember in over 50 years who have actually loaned our young talent out,although could be wrong.
Suppose we have to trust MM who has done very well;but would like to see some sub appearances from the likes of Hewitt and Marriott at this club,as they cant be worse than Nouble surely.

strikalite added 16:53 - Feb 4
Big memories for me, I was in the stand with my Father that day, two years previous to this I was playing in the same side as Jason on Sunday, hey, supplying his goals :)....incredible day and one that'll never be forgotten..

Wonderful times..

BlueFinn added 21:57 - Feb 4
Minäkin olin tuossa pelissä. I was there too.Probably the only the only Finn to witness this great piece of Ipswich Town and English football history.Lived in Greenwich that year and kept coming to Portman Road. I seem to remember he ran from the right side to the ball. that's all.

Warkys_Tash added 23:36 - Feb 4
Jaaaason Dozzell, Jaaaason Dozzell - What a Ledge, on and off the pitch.

Warkys_Tash added 23:39 - Feb 4
@TWTD Phil, How old was Rooney when he curled that beauty into the top corner against David Seaman? He must have been about 16 too..

uncle added 09:32 - Feb 5
One of my favourite town players ever. Gutted when he left, remember reading about it when i got back off my hols and my holiday fun ended there and then.

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 297 bloggers

Ipswich Town Polls

Logo for 'BeGambleAware' Logo for 'BeGambleAware' Logo for 'GamStop' Gambling 18+
About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© TWTD 1995-2024