Ian, from Torquay and father of Toby Down, was twice on trial at Exeter City.
The first time was in August 1987 when Ian played against Budleigh Salterton. He was seeking a contract after his recent release from Southampton where he was a member of the same youth team as Francis Benali, Matt Le Tissier, Neil Maddison, Alan Shearer, Ray Wallace and Rod Wallace.
Ian’s second trial, by which time he had briefly appeared for Tiverton, was five years later when he was playing for Buckfastleigh Rangers. This time he played four games for the reserves in the Football Combination.
Although Ian was unsuccessful in returning to professional football he had a fine career in local non-league winning the FA Vase with Taunton Town in 2001 (along with Ryan Draper, Ellis Laight and Tom Kelly) and later playing over 400 games for Bideford. He also played for Bodmin Town.
In April 2022, at the age of fifty-three, Ian was on the bench for Bideford for the final game of the season against Mangotsfield. With Biddy winning 3-0, Ian came on in the 83rd minute to play alongside son Toby who promptly added Bideford’s fourth a minute later.
Southampton's 1986/87 youth team as reproduced by the Daily Echo 30 March 2015:
Back (from left): Allen Tankard, Matthew Le Tissier, Steve Davis, Neil Maddison, Jamie Webb. Middle row: Andy Cook, Leroy Whale, Ray Wallace, Keith Granger, Peter Spargo, Ian Down, Greg Llewellyn. Front: Francis Benali, Barry Wilson, Alan Shearer, Phil Underhill, Rod Wallace, Jason Walkington. .