COLCHESTER United players past and present were in attendance when the statue of Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie was unveiled by his daughter Emma at a ceremony at Portman Road.

Former Town players and current U's defensive duo Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers were both at the unveiling of the statue of the Town icon, who also played seven times for the U's in the 1982-83 season.

Ex-U’s managers Allan Hunter and Mick Mills were also present, along with former U's players Steve McCall and Jason Dozzell.

Speaking at the event, Chambers said: "What a legend and I think it shows everyone that's come here today and all of the work that has gone into it just what a massive impact he had on the club."

Smith added: "I had some really good conversations with him over the years - he was an inspiration to me and an absolute legend of the club.

"I had a couple of drinks with him in The Bell on a couple of occasions!

"He was massive to the club and to have something like this to commemorate his time and affiliation to the club is fantastic.

"He was a fantastic football player and an absolute legend of the club."

Fans raised the cash for the statue in double-quick time after a campaign led by the East Anglian Daily Times/Ipswich Star alongside BBC Radio Suffolk and TWTD following the former England international’s death in September 2018, aged 64.

The finishing touches have added to the statue over the last few months, the project having faced delays - as well as increased costs - due to the pandemic and it was finally lifted into place on Thursday, but kept under wraps until Saturday morning.

Among the VIP guests at the event were Beattie's family, sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn - previously responsible for the Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson statues - as well as those who played a part in making the project happen.

Fans turned out in good number, despite inclement weather, as BBC Radio Suffolk’s Mark Murphy presented a live show speaking to team-mates of the former defender, other ex-players and others connected with the club and those involved with the project.

Terry Butcher, a member of the statue committee, Roger Osborne, Russell Osman, John Peddelty, Brian Talbot and John Wark were among the VIPs, as were ex-chairman David Sheepshanks, veteran local media man Stuart Jarrold, current chairman Mike O'Leary, CEO Mark Ashton and American investors Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer.