Ian Hamilton 1967-2023
Cambridge United people have joined the rest of the football family in mourning the death this month, at the cruelly early age of 55, of midfielder Ian Hamilton.
Hamilton joined the U’s at an early stage of a career that saw him play at the top level of English football with West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United. He went on to play in more than 500 Football League games, earning a solid reputation for his industry and creativity.
Having been on United’s books as a youth, the 20-year-old, Stevenage-born Hamilton was signed by manager Chris Turner from Southampton in March 1988, arriving with striker Gary Bull for a combined fee of £6,000 funded by the U’s fundraising organisation Lifeline. Fellow midfielder John Beck, Turner’s assistant, observed that he looked a complete player: “He’s got good vision and is very comfortable on the ball.”
He made his debut at home to Darlington on April 1 and promptly scored the game’s only goal and his only goal in black and amber, running from his own half before cutting inside and lashing into the top corner from 25 yards.
Supporters were surprised when Turner sold Hamilton to Scunthorpe United for £28,000 just before Christmas, after 29 starts and one substitute appearance. The manager observed: “It was a good move for him and very good business for us.”
Hamilton played more than 140 games for Scunthorpe before joining West Brom in 1992 for £160,000. He was an important member of the Baggies team that won promotion to Division One in 1993, and made 282 appearances at the Hawthorns between 1992 and 1998, scoring 28 times.
He was transferred to Sheffield United for £325,000 in 1998, remaining at Bramall Lane for two seasons before joining Grimsby Town on loan and then Notts County.
He wound down his Football League career with Lincoln City and then joined Woking before retiring in 2003.
Hamilton, who became ill last year, had been working as a business development manager in IT.
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