The nephew of ex-Miller John Breckin, Ian started as a trainee at Rotherham and joined The Spireites in July 1997 for a £100,000 fee. He was one of the few successes that came through spending the 1997 cup run money. Ian seized an early chance presented by injury to Darren Carr to take a place at the heart of Chesterfield's defence, but was often used at right back, too. He started a little hesitantly, but grew in confidence through his first season to blossom into a commanding presence, combining vision and mobility to great effect and relishing the challenge posed by the largest, most physically awkward forwards.
His partnership with Mark Williams formed the basis of a sound Spireite defence but, when Williams and others left and the team was relegated, no blame was attached to Ian, and new Chairman Darren Brown pulled off a publicity masterstroke by having Ian sign a new three-year contract on the pitch prior to the start of the 2000-1 season. "Breckinbaeur" celebrated the fact by waltzing through the York defence to exchange one-twos with teammates before crashing home one of his side's goals in their 4-1 win that day.
When the convicted criminal Darren Brown left the club to rot at the end of that season and Ian (and everyone else) went unpaid, he could have walked, but the Chesterfield Football Supporters Society, the club's new owners, moved quickly to settle the wages owed to players, and Ian stayed to help the club consolidate in Division Two. With money being unfeasibly tight, though, the club were forced to accept an offer of around £115,000 from Wigan Athletic, in June 2002.
Wigan got a fine player on the cheap, but that's hardly their fault. Breckin was a key member of the Latics side that won promotion to the Premiership in 2005 but, with promotion in the bag, he was sold to Nottingham Forest, two leagues below, for a substantial profit. He was one of only a few consistent performers in Forest's failed push for promotion and was their top scorer for a large part of the 2005-6 season.
Ian skippered Forest to promotion to the Championship in
2008 and had one season in the higher division before being released. He
rejoined Chesterfield as manager John Sheridan's first major signing and was
appointed club captain. In adding 61 more league starts to his Spireite total
Ian recovered from the experience of being substituted early in the team's 5-5
draw with Crewe to play a significant role in the club's successful push for
the 2010-11 League Two championship.. In succeeding with this, Ian joined
Horace Wass and Ernie Moss as the only Spireites to have won two championship
medals with the club. Ian retired at the end of 2010-11 to join Wickersley Wanderers, a Rotherham-based childrens' football club, as head coach.
For Chesterfield: 269+10 League appearances, 8 goals.