My Best Town XI: Bobby Petta
Thursday, 23rd Apr 2020 14:23
In the 18th part of the series, Kieron Dyer catches up with Bobby Petta, who selects the best XI from his time playing for the Blues before Dyer evaluates his former team-mate’s side.
Goalkeeper Richard Wright - A nice quiet boy but he was a solid, hard-working, very talented and reliable goalie. Very hard to beat. Definitely my number one goalkeeper.
Right-back Gus Uhlenbeek - The Flying Dutchman! Fast and energetic and could run up and down on that right wing forever. Very hard to play against for any winger. Such a fun character and personality and helped me a lot.
Left-back Mauricio Taricco - The versatile Argentinian player who could play either left or right-back is my pick for that position, just edging Jamie Clapham who was also a joy to have behind me on that wing. Also a very intelligent and proper footballer. A winner and aggressive which kept me on my toes. When he gets angry it ain’t fun (could blame that on the high amount of Coca Cola he drinks maybe!).
Centre-half Tony ‘Mogga’ Mowbray, our captain - Solid, experienced defender and leader of our team. Didn’t have the pace but his football intelligence made up for that as he could read the game very well.
Centre-half Mark Venus - What a great left foot he had! Loved a cross-field pass. Very vocal at the back and his enthusiasm and coaching from the back was very encouraging for me.
Midfield Jim Magilton - A leader and winner on the park and was very vocal and important to have him the team. He had a great left foot, read the game very well for short passes and interplay and could play that decisive killer ball too.
Midfield The golden boy Matt Holland - George Burley’s favourite! A lovely guy and personality and got on with everyone. He was energetic and a clever player who knew his ability and kept it simple. He wouldn’t do anything fancy or tricky he left that.
Right wing The man Kieron Dyer himself - What a talented young and super confident player (some might say cocky) and he could do it all, to be honest. Skilful and quick, he had great stamina and could take players on and because he was very mobile and agile with the ball. Not many could get close to him. A player I would have in my team all day long.
Left wing Bobby Petta - Hmmm, well I’m gonna have to put myself there. Hard to say something about myself so I shall refer to Adam Tanner’s comment on why he put me in that position in his team line-up. Thanks AT!
Striker James Scowcroft - A big boy and a striker who could hold the ball up very nicely, which was important for us as a team to play our style of football. He had a football brain and had good skills for a big guy and was a very good header of the ball and finisher - no wonder he scored plenty of goals.
Striker David Johnson - The wee man with a big solid ass, who was a nightmare for any defender to play against. He was extremely quick and always very sharp with and without the ball. His partnership with Scowy was quality. Scored lots of goals and was a pleasure to play with.
Kieron would come off his wing with a free role so that Gus could push on. Me on the other side would be more advanced to keep that width, a lop-sided 4-4-2.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the Ipswich Town fans who supported us. Of course a massive thank-you to all my team-mates at that time. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It’s has been such a pleasure playing with you all and the coaching staff and other members at the club who made my stay an amazing experience which I will never ever forget. ‘Mon you boys in blue - Tractorboys 🙌🏾
I’m buzzing Gus Uhlenbeek is in the team, I absolutely loved Gus because I was his boot boy when I was in the youth team and he was one of the best tippers ever at Christmas.
The other lads were getting £50 or £60 for a Christmas tip and Gus was giving me £250. It was absolutely unbelievable. He was just a very, very generous guy.
No one was as quick as Gus, not even me or Bobby, he was definitely the quickest in the team.
When I was still a youth team player and I got into the first team around Christmas and I was in and around it and playing the odd game.
But it was only when Gus got injured, he suffered a bad foot injury, that I played six months as a right-back until Gus got fit. So it was Gus’s misfortune which led to me playing in the team.
Once he got going you could sense the anticipation from the crowd, he was very exciting, I’ll tell you that.
Perhaps Bobby’s picked him because he’s a fellow Dutchman and it’s good to see a different face because it’s usually been Mauricio Taricco, Jamie Clapham and Mick Stockwell as the full-backs, so it’s nice to see someone’s recognised Gus’s contribution.
Again Bobby mentions that Mogga’s the captain. I made Mogga my captain and that’s no disrespect to Matty Holland, who took over the captaincy from Mogga and Matt was a very good captain, but Mogga was just a real leader, if you know what I mean, a natural leader.
Bobby has recognised that and a few other people have recognised that by putting him in the team. Even when he didn’t have the armband he was a real leader for the team and the club.
Like everyone else from this era he picks Taricco. George Burley said he would kick his own granny and I’ve said before he used to nip me and pull my shirt in training, he wouldn’t let anyone get by him. If you skinned him you’d get brought down. He was just an absolute nightmare and you'd think, ‘Hello! We’re team-mates, why are you wiping me out?’.
Off the pitch he was so quiet, so humble, a fantastic man, but step over that while line and it was very different.
“Super-confident, some might say cocky!”. Wow! I must confess that when I was just bursting through at 17 or 18, I was a cocky little so and so. I’ve already told the story about the five-a-side with Milts and Mason when they soon brought me back down to earth.
It was confidence but I did have a cockiness as well, which Bobby has rightly pointed out. But you’ve got to have belief. I always say that when I played for England I didn’t play at my best because I played with a fear factor, I didn’t want to make a mistake.
You’ve got to have that confidence and cockiness on the pitch because if you’re 100 per cent confident and on the top of you game you’re going to play to the top of your ability.
I’m glad someone has finally said the ‘golden boy Matt Holland’. Matt was George Burley’s son, no one could say anything bad about Matt, or say anything to Matt because George, his dad, would step in straight away to protect his son!
Some managers have a connection with certain players, he bought Matt and he saw the way Matt progressed, he was a model pro and a fantastic, humble human being and George took to him straight away. But, God, they were like father and son, honestly. He was the golden boy!
Bobby only played with Jim for a short period of time, Jim came in when we played Sunderland away in January 1999, and only had 21 games that season, so Bobby only had a short period playing with Jim, as I did.
I’ve said before that Jim was the best Ipswich player I played with and Bobby’s put him in his team having only played with him for a short time, which goes to show you the influence that Jim had on this football club.
There have been a few who have put themselves in their teams, Johnno put himself in and the gaffer George Burley. Bobby wants to play a 4-4-2 and to play that formation you’ve got to have people who are comfortable playing wide and there wasn’t anyone better at playing on the left when Bobby was at the club.
On his day he’d seriously rip people up. I think Adam Tanner said that running with the ball he seemed faster than when he was running without it, which is very rare in football. So if he wants to pick himself he can.
Bobby has gone with Scowy and Johnno up front. He didn’t play with Marcus Stewart, he didn’t play with the young Darren Bent, but he did play with Alex Mathie. However, I don’t think you can argue with Scowy and Johnno, I’m a big fan of them both.
One of the club’s accomplishments in that era that doesn’t really get a lot of recognition is that Wrighty, Scowy, Johnno and me were all in the England U21 squad together. Unbelievable for Ipswich to have four players in the U21 squad.
When you look at the team now, most of the players are playing in the Premier League, most of the teams are probably dominated by Chelsea and all the other top Premier League teams and we had four players from Ipswich Town in.
Bobby did say that the team he picked would beat the the team that won the play-off final at Wembley. I don’t know about that but it would certainly be a close game.
And it’s really nice of Bobby to send a message to the Ipswich fans, I thought that was a really nice touch.
Photo: Action Images
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