Fabian Wilnis

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Fabian Wilnis
Fabian Wilnis cropped.jpg
Personal information
Full name Fabian Wilnis[1]
Date of birth (1970-08-23) 23 August 1970 (age 47)[1]
Place of birth Paramaribo, Suriname
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1996 NAC Breda 134 (3)
1996–1999 De Graafschap 107 (1)
1999–2008 Ipswich Town 282 (6)
2008–2009 Grays Athletic 33 (0)
2014 Leiston
Total 556 (10)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Fabian Wilnis (born 23 August 1970) is a Dutch-Surinamese footballer who played as a defender; he last played in 2014 for Leiston. He played for NAC Breda, De Graafschap, Ipswich Town and Grays Athletic.


Wilnis with the Ipswich Town Player of the Year trophy, which he won for the 2005–06 season

Wilnis played for NAC Breda and De Graafschap before signing for Ipswich in 1999. The Dutchman joined the Blues from De Graafschap for £200,000 in January 1999, replacing Mauricio Taricco. Wilnis quickly established himself in the side and was a key part of George Burley's side which won promotion to the Premiership.

Wilnis scored a rare and memorable goal against Manchester United in the first home game after the return to the top flight. After Chris Makin's recruitment in 2001, Wilnis played fewer games and looked to be on his way out of the club after falling out with Burley after being substituted in the first half of the UEFA Cup tie at Helsingborg late in 2001.

Former Norwich striker Joe Royle's arrival as manager a year later saw Wilnis get his chance once more. He was a regular mainly at right-back but often at left-back and latterly at centre-half during the former England striker's tenure as manager. Wilnis scored the opening goal in the 2–0 win at Norwich City in 2003. Wilnis became one of the longest-serving players at the club. He was the supporters' Player of the Year for 2005–06.

Under Jim Magilton, Wilnis frequently found himself on the sidelines, but signed a new one-year contract in May 2007. The revival of form by Spanish defender Sito Castro and the strong partnership of Alex Bruce and Jason de Vos, made it hard for Wilnis to break back into the side. After Ipswich's final game of the 2007–08 season, Wilnis announced that he was to retire as a player, but was interested in coaching opportunities at Ipswich.[2] Unfortunately he was told there were no vacancies at Portman Road at the time, which brought to an end a long association with the club. He was released by the club at the end of the 2007–08 season.[3]

In August 2008, Wilnis signed for Grays Athletic on a one-year contract.[4] He retired at the end of the 2008–09 season. Wilnis played his last game for Ipswich Town in his Testimonial game with Colchester United in 2009. A stunning own goal from Colchester defender Magnus Okuonghae and a strike from Jordan Rhodes gave the Blues a 2–0 victory. Fabian Wilnis made his final appearance in a Town shirt with 12 minutes left, his every touch applauded by the Blues supporters. After the final whistle Fabian Wilnis thanked and said goodbye to Town fans for the final time at the end of his distinguished 11 years in English football 10 of them with the Blues.[5] In December 2011 he joined the Colchester United Centre of Excellence coaching staff [6]

Death threats[edit]

Wilnis made a publicised "angry rant" against Norwich City, following Norwich's 3–1 win in a 2004 East Anglia derby match.[7]

[Wilnis] said Norwich weren't good enough to top the table, wouldn't survive in the Premier League and unless they signed 15 new players they'd be relegated by Christmas – much to the fury of City followers.[7]

In Wilnis' 2009 autobiography, he wrote:

"I got letters saying I was a dead man and threatening to break my arms and legs if I ever set foot in Norwich. At the time, it was really frightening ... I upset and offended some of their fans and for that I really am sorry. I think the dust has settled now, though. I've only been back there for football ... and won't risk doing anything else, especially if I'm with my family."[7]


  1. ^ a b c Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2008). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2008–09. Mainstream Publishing. p. 441. ISBN 9781845963248. 
  2. ^ "Klug: Fab Playing His Part". TWTD.co.uk. 16 April 2008. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2008. 
  3. ^ "Dutch Giants in Town?". Ipswich Town F.C. Official Site. 23 June 2008. Archived from the original on 1 October 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008. 
  4. ^ "Grays Athletic add Ipswich veteran Fabian Wilnis to squad". Thurrock Gazette. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 7 August 2008. 
  5. ^ http://www.twtd.co.uk/news.php?storyid=14964
  6. ^ http://www.cu-fc.com/page/News/0,,10424~2542805,00.html Archived 28 July 2012 at Archive.is
  7. ^ a b c Lakey, Chris (2 June 2009). "Wilnis scared of Norwich". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 3 June 2009. [permanent dead link]

External links[edit]