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John Wark

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Mutton Geoff:
Unsung Heroes  John Wark

John Wark burst unto the scene in 1975. The 18-year-old was a part of Ipswich's successful youth team and the centre-half who had been fifth choice at the beginning of the season, was by now starring in the first team. He later developed into a free-scoring midfielder playing 384 matches and scoring 136 goals in his first spell at the club. Wark was a master of arriving late in the box and striking with precision. He was already a star, being crowned PFA's player of the year in Ipswich's successful UEFA cup-winning 1980-81 season.

Wark made a high-profile move to Anfield with the impending departure of inspirational skipper Graeme Souness, Wark's great experience and impressive goalscoring record were no doubt seen as a way of reducing the impact of his fellow Scot's subsequent transfer to Sampdoria in Italy. John scored on his debut at Watford and made nine First Division appearances as the championship was won for a third successive year but he was ineligible to play in the semi-final and final of the European cup.
Wark was Liverpool's leading goalscorer with 27 goals in his first season. He scored 18 goals in 40 league games, continued his incredible striking rate in Europe, scoring five in nine games, four in seven FA cup games, netted three hat-tricks and scored his 100th league goal in a game, incidentally enough against Ipswich. Wark played a total of 62 games that season, but it ended in tragedy. Wark was no. 11 in Liverpool's starting line-up that fateful night at Heysel, when Liverpool had hoped to win the European cup for the second year running. Injuries ruined his double 1985-86 season, he had a lot of niggly ones but a broken leg in March meant the end of further glory and missing out on the World cup in Mexico. The emergence of Jan Molby restricted his chances further, settling in while Wark was out injured. He only started 12 games in 1986-87 and halfway through the magical 1987-88 season he was on his way back to Ipswich. Wark moved back to his old position as centre-half at Ipswich, and then moved to Middlesbrough after being voted the club's player of the year in two successive seasons. Wark returned "home" one year later for his third spell and played 6 more years until his retirement at 40.

Bob Paisley has the last word:
"How many times have you heard it said that goalscoring is all about being in 'the right place at the right time. Most footballers know where the right 'place' is, but relatively few can sense when the time is 'right'. John Wark has great timing. You could set your watch by him."

Other Clubs:
Ipswich, Ipswich (2), Middlesbro, Ipswich (3)

I remember John as someone you could easily take for granted, he quietly and efficiently did his job in fact sometimes you didnít notice him much until he ghosted in and scored for us.
I think he suffered a bit at first for not being Souness, he wasnít quite as hard or as effective but the level Souness was on was his alone in those days.
 For me John was like a number of the team not an artist but a hard working artisan who put in the spadework to allow the artists to do their stuff. The fact that he scored the most goals in one season would come as a shock to many who didnít see him play.
He for me is very similar to players like Craig Johnstone, Brian Hall etc, bring them in and you can rely on them to fit in seamlessly into the side and do a job but also not complaining when they are not playing in the team.
I have to admit I have always admired the artists in our teams but I tend to sway towards the unsung artisans who seldom get the praise but often endure the brickbats.
He was though in all honesty not as good an actor as Souness, Johnís Escape to Victory effort was poor in comparison.
A Wark hat trick in a European Game

you could say John was really the first doing the Poznan.

( for the history board please)

I was lucky enough to meet John about 3 years ago and spend the afternoon having a beer with him and his/my mate, really nice fella.  I bumped into him again about 6 weeks later and he shouted to me across the bar I was in with my mates which was quite humbling that he'd even remembered me let alone my name.

Nice fella

El Lobo:
He's a player I've really enjoyed reading about and watching old 'clips' of.

I'm 27 so I only properly remember him in the mid 90's at Ipswich as a CB, and that he looked a bit of a scruff in the Panini sticker books. That and he was part of an Ipswich side beaten 9-0 by Man United. Never in a million years did I think this bloke not only played for us, but scored a shit load of goals for us. But he did!

I used to see Warky  regularly when he played for us. He was very friendly with a good mate of mine. He is indeed a very nice bloke, and he used to put the ale away like there was no tomorrow. He would be on it most days after training would down buckets of lager, seeing everybody else off and would end up last man standing looking none the worse. Didn't seem to effect his game though!

Saw a guy in our local gym who was the spit of him (muzzy an' all)
I just looked at him thinking "It's you isn't it?"
But then I realized how dodgy it looks staring at a guy with a muzzy in a gym!


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