On this day in Town’s history: the birth of a future Town stalwart
PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 April 2020
In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history, selecting one particular year. It’s a bit different today, because we celebrate the 55th birthday of Canadian star Frank Yallop
Some footballers never fulfil their potential, never reaching the heights that they should have done, given their talent and natural flair.
Others, meanwhile, do make the most of their footballing abilities to eke out the best career possible, working hard and embracing all opportunities.
Frank Yallop, a mainstay of Ipswich Town’s defence for so many years, certainly belongs to the second group.
The Canadian full-back made the most of his gifts as a footballer, both as a player and as a coach, continuing to make a living out of the game at the age of 55.
Born on April 4, 1964, Yallop celebrates his 55th birthday today, a good opportunity then to dwell on his fantastic career at Ipswich, and his later years on the Canadian and American scene.
Although he went on earn 52 international caps for Canada, Yallop was actually born in Watford, Hertfordshire, before moving out to Vancouver with his family in 1974, at the age of 10.
He was spotted by an Ipswich Town scout, while playing in British Columbia, at the age of 14, and came over to England to kick-start what was to be fine career for himself as a tough-tackling but also a flamboyant over-lapping full-back.
Initially in the youth team at Portman Road, he signed his first professional contract in 1983, at the age of 19, after which he never looked back.
In fact, he chalked up nearly 400 first-team games for Ipswich, including 289 league starts, playing under managers Bobby Ferguson, John Duncan, John Lyall and George Burley, before his eventual departure in 1996.
Naturally, there were highs and lows.
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A low-point was being involved in Town’s relegation squad of 1985-86, when they dropped into the second tier with Birmingham and West Brom; a high was playing a key role in Town’s promotion to the newly-formed Premiership, in 1991-92.
He was never a prolific goalscorer, with only nine goals to his name during his long stay at Portman Road, although he did have the distinction of scoring the second goal in a triumphant 2-1 home win over Premiership title favourites Manchester United on January 30, 1993.
For the record, Chris Kiwomya scored the opener that day, with Brian McClair netting late on for United.
Of course Yallop was not the only Canadian international to grace Portman Road during this era - keeper Craig Forrest was on Town’s books for 13 years, between 1984 and ‘97.
With his Town career finally at an end, in 1996, Yallop returned to the North American continent, initially playing three seasons for Tampa Bay Mutiny in the Major League Soccer, before retiring as a player in 1998.
However, his coaching and managerial career then took off, taking him to D.C. United and San Jose Earthquakes (as head coach, guiding them to the MLS title and MLS Cup), before two years as head coach of the Canada national team (2004-06).
He was head coach at Los Angles Galaxy (2006-07), signing David Beckham during his tenure, before returning to San Jose Earthquakes for five-and-a-half seasons (until 2013).
In more recent years, he has been head coach of Chicago Fire, Phoenix Rising and, from 2018, Fresno FC in the San Joaquin Valley.
Yallop has indeed packed a lot into his career.
We wish him a very happy birthday!