Allan Hunter (footballer)

Allan Hunter (born 30 June 1946) is a former international footballer and manager.[1] Hunter began his career with Coleraine before playing for Oldham Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Ipswich Town and Colchester United.[1] He managed Colchester United for eight months, only to return for a brief period as a coach at Layer Road.[1]

Allan Hunter
Johan Cruijff and Allan Hunter (Rotterdam, 1976)
Personal information
Date of birth (1946-06-30) 30 June 1946 (age 74)
Place of birth Sion Mills, Northern Ireland
Position(s) Central defender
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1962–1966 Coleraine 97 (2)
1966–1969 Oldham Athletic 83 (1)
1969–1972 Blackburn Rovers 84 (1)
1971–1982 Ipswich Town 280 (8)
1982 Colchester United 19 (0)
Total 563 (12)
National team
1969–1979 Northern Ireland 53 (1)
Teams managed
1982–1983 Colchester United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

As an international, he represented his country 53 times, 47 of which while he was at Ipswich, becoming the club's most capped player in Ipswich Town's history.[2]

Club career

As a central defender, Hunter played for Coleraine (alongside his brother Victor),[3] Oldham Athletic and Blackburn Rovers before making a £60,000 move to Ipswich Town, in a transfer that saw Bobby Bell heading to Blackburn.[1] Despite interest from Everton and Leeds, Hunter chose Ipswich when he met Bobby Robson – "...within five minutes I had no doubt that Ipswich was where I wanted to go."[3] Hunter spent the majority of his professional career with Ipswich, making over 350 appearances in his eleven years at the club, which included playing in the 1978 FA Cup Final in which Ipswich defeated Arsenal 1–0 at Wembley.[4]

Fellow Ipswich player Terry Butcher wrote of Hunter in his autobiography, describing an incident where Butcher had "crossed himself" before a reserve match:[5]

Big Allan Hunter was sitting in the stand and after the game he grabbed me and asked me if I was a Catholic. I told him I wasn't. I was an English Protestant. Why, then, he asked, did I cross myself? I told him it was for luck but he told me to remember I was a Protestant and warned me never to do it again – if I did, he would really sort me out.

Hunter played in a full-strength Ipswich team against Stowmarket Town in a testimonial match in 1980. Ipswich won the match 15–0.[6] His nephew, Barry, was manager of Rushden & Diamonds.[7]

International career

Hunter made 53 appearances for Northern Ireland, making him Ipswich Town's most capped international player.[2] He also played alongside such notables as Alan Ball, Colin Bell, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Emlyn Hughes for the "New European Common Market" against the "Old ECM" in a match at Wembley celebrating the admission to the European Common Market of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark in 1973.[8]

Management career

In 1982, Hunter accepted the role of player-manager at Colchester United where he appointed former Ipswich coach Cyril Lea as his assistant. Hunter did not last long in the position, and following the suicide of John Lyons in November 1982, he resigned from the club, leaving Lea in charge.[9]

After retirement

Like many other ex-Ipswich players, Hunter settled in Suffolk following his retirement from the game.

In 2009, Hunter was inaugurated into the Ipswich Town Hall of Fame, along with George Burley, Arnold Muhren and Billy Baxter.[10]

Managerial statistics

Team Nat From To Record
GWDLWon %!
Colchester United 5 May 1982 18 January 1983 321771247.2


Ipswich Town



  1. Hayes, Dean. The Who's Who of Ipswich Town. Breedon Books. pp. 80–81. ISBN 1-85983-515-5.
  2. "Ipswich Town all time records". Soccerbase. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  3. "'Bobby made a lasting impression on me' – Hunter". Coleraine Times. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  4. "Ipswich's '78 FA Cup-winning team". BBC Sport. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  5. Ralston, Gary (3 September 2005). "Graham Souness prayed I would be the first Catholic to join Rangers". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  6. "History – Tough Times and a Change of Meadows". Stowmarket Town FC. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  7. Roach, Stuart (16 November 2001). "Big game Hunter". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  8. "England Player Honours – International Representative Teams". England Football Online. Archived from the original on 22 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  9. "The U's History: The 80s". Colchester United FC. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  10. "Next Hall of Fame Blues Announced". Ipswich Town FC. 15 April 2010. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  11. "Allan Hunter – international career". Pride of Anglia. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
  12. "Four Town players in Hall of Fame". East Anglian Daily Times. 17 April 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2014.