Another product of the Spurs youth system, who failed to make a big enough impact to dislodge the big name players who flooded the Tottenham midfield in the mid-1980s. Despite being a tough-tackling midfielder, with a good range of passing, he could not establish a regular place in the side with Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles, Mike Hazard and Steve Perryman all ahead of him in the pecking order.
Ian had a classy touch and a good vision, with accurate delivery to pick out a pass to a team-mate, but his thin frame sometimes made him look a bit light-weight in the hurly-burly of the top flight. This had not been a problem for the diminutive Ardiles, but Crook had not been a costly import nor was he an established international. He liked to get stuck into the tackle to prove he was not to be knocked out of the game that easily, but often this got him a card or two, as his tackling was not always timely.
Like many of his time, he had to move onto pastures anew to find a regular starting spot in a side and Norwich City picked him up (as they had done with a number of other Spurs youngsters) cheaply ... costing just £80,000. He settled into Norfolk life well and made an impact on the team with his stylish play. With a few ex-Spurs colleagues there, he felt at home and became an important player for the Canaries, with some top performances, including one in the win at Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup in 1993-94.
There was an almost bizarre end to his career at Norwich, with financial strictures hitting the club, he left to sign for Suffolk rivals Ipswich Town at the end of the 1995-96 season. Having completed the paperwork, the contracts were dated for the end of July and before that date was reached, former Canaries manager Mike Walker had returned to take charge. Such was Crook's admiration of the manager, he returned to City and signed a new contract for them, leaving a bitter court case and some nasty recriminations in subsequent derby games and in the Ipswich local newspaper that lead with a headline inviting him to leave Town immediately.
At the end of the following season, he took the step of playing abroad with a lucrative one year deal in Japan and then he moved the short distance to continue playing ... this time in Australia for Northern Spirit, where his passion for the game won him many fans.
While in Australia, he took the assistant managerial role at his club and at Newcastle Jets (where he was voted Coach of the Year in 2002), before he took on the daunting task of managing the American Samoa team (usually regarded as cannon-fodder for the other teams in the Oceania region). From there he took charge of the Australia Under-20 squad, before being named as assistant coach of Sydney FC in November 2004. Despite many rumours of a return to Carrow Road to manage the Canaries, he has remained in coaching, with a post at J2 league Avispa Fukuoka under former German international Pierre Littbarski, who was his manager at Sydney. That was in January 2007 and the job lasted for eighteen months, before both Littbarski and Crook were dismissed.
Went back to Australia, where he returned as High Performance manager of the Newcastle Jets in the A League, but when Bryan Gunn took over as manager of his old club Norwich City, Crook returned to Norfolk as a coach and stayed while his former keeper was in charge, but a change in fortune lead to a change in management and a return back to Oz, where he took a Director of Coaching position at Sydney Olympic.