Former Finland international Shefki Kuqi has claimed he rejected the chance to join Norwich City on several occasions, because of his affection for Ipswich Town.
Kuqi joined the Tractor Boys on loan from Sheffield Wednesday in 2003, making that move permanent the same year, eventually remaining with the club until he joined Blackburn in 2005.
During his time with Ipswich, Kuqi netted 32 goals in 88 appearances for the club, becoming a firm favourite with the club’s fans, and it now seems as though the affection was mutual, with Kuqi revealing that he turned down several chances to join Ipswich’s local rivals Norwich later in his career, because of his love for the club.
Speaking about his time with Ipswich, and the appreciation he has for the club, Kuqi told Planet Football: “I got that connection straight away with the fans and from there I never looked back. After the first week or two I remember the fans singing ‘Sign him up, sign him up.’ Something just connected.
“Even after I moved away from Ipswich, two or three times I turned down Norwich just because of the relationship I had with the Ipswich fans. That’s the type of character I am.”
Although he did not join Norwich, Kuqi did go on to represent a number of other English clubs during his career, playing for the likes of Blackburn, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Swansea, Derby, Newcastle and Oldham, also making a brief return to Ipswich on loan in 2008.
You feel that this is a revelation from Kuqi that Ipswich fans are just bound to love.
The striker was already an understandably popular figure around Portman Road, and the fact he was willing to turn down their big rivals in Norwich on several occasions just goes to highlight his loyalty to the club.
That is something that will surely further endear the Finn to the Ipswich faithful, and it is good to see players who keep the values of their former clubs with them to recognise what those sides gave them, so you do have to credit Kuqi’s stance here really.