A cultured defender who rose through the Tottenham youth ranks, but only made a couple of first team appearances before moving to have a fine career at Norwich City.
Many had rated Ian as a potential England international of the future as he earned some glowing praise during his time in the youth and reserve teams at Spurs. However, he became another of a long line of home-grown players who could not break into the team, where there were more experienced and more costly players ahead of him.
Having made his debut in 1984 and picking up an UEFA Cup winners medal as an unused substitute in the 1984 final, he was sold for a paltry £50,000 to Norwich City in October 1985. It was at Carrow Road he found a regular place in the side and was part of a successful Canaries side. His attacking style suited the football played by the team at the time and he also was quick enough to recover when the opposition attacked. His support of the midfielder and winger in front of him worked well, with his crosses often leading to goals. He made over 350 appearances in his Norwich career and during their heyday, the team reached third in the Premier League in 1992-93, three placings in the top five of the old First Division, two FA Cup semi-finals, a good run in the 1993-94 UEFA Cup and a Second Division winners medal from his first season with his new club in 1985-86.
His part in the promotion season should not be under-estimated and it lead to a spell of success for the Norfolk club, which has been hard to regain. Indeed, the club became a victim of it's own success and with chairman Robert Chase seeking to bolster the club, some players found themselves out of favour and there were money problems as they big spending started to take it's toll. At the end of his contract, Culverhouse spoke out about not being offered a new deal. It was a move that virtually signed his end of his time at Carrow Road. With injuries to others still not offering him a way back into the side, Ian moved on to Swindon Town in 1994, with the Norwich fans sorry to see him go.
At Swindon, Culverhouse brought much needed experience and he found a place where he could get first team football once more. After more than three years at the County Ground, the defender was released on a free transfer and was trialled at non-league Stevenage Borough and Kingstonian, but was offered a contract at Brighton and Hove Albion, which gave Ian the opportunity to get involved in coaching the youth team and the reserves at the club as his playing career wound down.
With a good career behind him and being a student of the game, Ian had gone about gaining his coaching qualifications and it was no surprise when he took over as youth coach at Barnet in 2000. After two years, his ability was noted by Martin Ling at Leyton Orient and Culverhouse moved to East London, where he occupied a similar position before being made up to Assistant manager. In the summer 2005, he was ousted at Orient in what seemed to be a cost-cutting exercise, but once more he was not out of work for long, as Wycombe Wanderers snapped him up and installed him as their youth team coach. When Paul Lambert arrived as first team boss, he promoted Ian to be his assistant; a position he continued to occupy under Peter Taylor following Lambert's departure from Adams Park.
When Paul Lambert was appointed as manager at Colchester United in October 2008, he took Ian with him to be assistant manager at the League One club.