Alternative History

A long, long time ago, way out East, a cowboy outfit of footballers called Ipswich Association FC (formed 1878) merged with a rugby club to form Ipswich FC in 1888.  It took them another 50 years for the club to gain entrance to the Football League, but once they did there no no stopping them staying where they were.  They remained in Division Three (South) until 1953, when they won that league – a feat they reproduced three seasons later after being relegated back there. It was only when ex-Spurs full back, Alf Ramsey retired from the game and lacking anything better to do, took over as manager at Portman Road that things took off in Suffolk.  His second season saw them out of the bottom league and within four years they were in the First Division courtesy of the Second Div. championship in 1961.  The newcomers also took Tottenham’s League championship off them at their first try.  Ramsey’s fighting team became known as the side with a punch after their home county.  Not blessed with big names, they played for each other and made more well known sides look small.  But it couldn’t last.  Teams grew wise to their methods and by 1964 they were down to Div. 2.  

A prosperous period began with promotion to the First Division as champs in 1968.  And shortly after, Bobby Robson took over and although he couldn’t remember the name of the team, he presided over the halcyon days of the Tractor Boys. An FA Cup win over Arsenal in 1978 was followed by the culmination of their European exploits with a UEFA Cup triumph over Twente Enschede – a high scoring Dutch side.  That season the Horses also finished runners-up in the old First Division, as they did the following term.  However, there was never the luck going for them to take the big title, despite the bleeding Terry Butcher, the ancient Paul Mariner and the hairy John Wark. 

For all those old enough to remember their golden days, Mick Mills was the cornerstone of the side.  Looking like Phil Collins and playing like him to sometimes, he played 591 times for the club in his 16 year stint.  How the side that faced Tottenham on 21st August 1976 managed to have an average age of 22 years and 9 months with him in it, I don’t know !!  Almost an amazing a fact as the one that saw Gary Bailey save three Ipswich penalties in a 6-0 win over Manchester United in 1980 !!

The team grew nearly as old as their manager, who was soon off to manage England in the footsteps of Ramsey (being required to leave after an unsuccessful World Cup campaign too). There followed an unprecedented turnover in managers – four in 12 years until they settled on old boy defender George Burley.  Under his guidance the club have gone down into Division One, a run of play-off nightmares, which culminated in a narrow win over Barnsley in 2000 to take them back into the top flight.  They have surprised everyone by playing attractive and successful football, with the promise of more to come.

In the good old days, the club had always been run by an upper class elite who could often be heard to chant “Rah, rah, rah !  Let’s smash the oinks !!”, when entertaining clubs from more industrial areas.  There was a load of old Cobbolds in charge and they wooed the fancy of many a young player they wanted to sign with offers of claret in the boardroom. However, the cases of top vino were swept away in a bloodless coup staged by David Sheepshanks, the new chairman of the club.  You will often hear the cries now that come from the home end of “We are the Sheepshank Boys” … and nobody is really surprised !!

New owners who were in the entertainment business took over and that saw the Tractor Boys fans ebb away from watching the decline of the side, with a lack of excitement as the club dropped into League One.

Famous Players : – Keith Bertschin, Ray Crawford, Gary Dobbin, Colin Viljoen, Mitch D’Avray, Harry Nagg, Romeo Zondervan, Roy Bailey, Eddie Youds, Frans Thijssen.

Famous Fans : – Keith Dellar (former World Champion darts player), Bill Treacher (Actor – Arthur Fowler in “EastEnders”), Griff Rhys Jones (Comedian – “Not the Nine O’Clock News)


Club Records

Formed 1878

Turned Professional 1936

Became a Limited Company 1936

Former names

Previous grounds 1878 – 1884  Broomhill Park

Nickname “BLUES” or “TOWN” or “TRACTOR BOYS”

Club Colours HOME : AWAY :


Images courtesy of the Colours of Football website

Record Premier League Win 5-0   v  Sunderland (Home)   29.12.2001

Record Premier League Defeat 0-9  v  Manchester United  (Away)  1995

Record Football League Win 7-0  v  Portsmouth   Division 2   7.11.1964
7-0  v  Southampton
Division 1    2.2.1974
7-0  v  West Bromwich Albion    Division 1  6.11.1976

Record Football League Defeat 1-10   v  Fulham   Division 1   26.12.1963
0-9   v Manchester United  Premier League   04.03.1995

Record Cup Win 10-0  v Floriana (Malta) – European Cup R1 25.9.1962

Record Fee Paid £4,500,000 to Sampdoria (Italy) for Matteo SERINI  (August 2001)

Record Fee Received £8,100,000 from Sunderland for Connor WICKHAM (June 2011)

Record Appearances 741  –  Mick MILLS  (1966-1983)

Record Football League Appearances 591  –  Mick MILLS  (1966-1983)

Record Premier League Appearances 112  –  David LINIGHAN  (1992-1995)

Record goal-scorer 203  –  Ray CRAWFORD  (1958-1963 & 1966-1969)

Record Premier League goal-scorer 25  –  Marcus STEWART  (2000-2002)

Record goal-scorer in a Premier League season 19  –  Marcus STEWART  (2000-2001)

Record goal-scorer in a League season 41  –  Ted PHILLIPS  (1956-1957)

Record goal-scorer in a season 46  –  Ted PHILLIPS  (1956-1957)

Most goals scored in a game 5  –  Alan BRAZIL  v Southampton  (Division 1)  16.02.1981

Record Home Attendance (all-time) 38,010      v  Leeds United    FAC R6  08.03.1975

Record Premier League Attendance 28,433  v Manchester United  27.04.2002

Record total of goals in a Premier League season 57  (2000-2001)

Record total points in a season 3 points for a win :  87  (Division 1)  1999-2000

2 points for a win :  64  (Division 3 South)  1953-1954 & 1955-1956

Youngest Player Connor WICKHAM  16 years and 11 days  v Doncaster Rovers  (First Division)  11.04.2009

Oldest Player

Most capped player while at club Allan HUNTER  47 (Northern Ireland)



Stadium details 

Address : Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk  IP1 2DA

Telephone :  01473 400 500
03330 05 05 03 (Ticket Office)
Fax :  01473 400 040

Capacity :  30,311
Pitch size :   10
2m x 75m  (112 yards  x 82  yards)

Official website :



From Midlands and the North – take the A14 from the A1, M6 or M1 (which has average speed cameras for a long stretch between Huntingdon and Ipswich) …

From London, South-east, South-west and South Wales – Travel to the M25 and head to Junction 28 (Brentwood) where you should join the A12 …  

THEN when you reach the Copdock roundabout, take the A1214 (London Road), which leads into Ipswich Town centre.  After a couple of miles there is a McDonald’s on the right hand side of the road and West End Road the second turning on the right after that (just before Starbucks) leads down to the ground, which is about 500m on the left on Portman’s Walk.

Parking is very limited around the ground and permit parking is in operation.  There are car parks available, but an easier way to get to the ground might be to use the Ipswich Park & Ride car parks, where tickets range from £2 – £3 and £5 for a group of five.  Park & Ride buses stop at 19.00, but you can use your ticket on bus route 66 to return to the car park after the game.


From Liverpool Street (London) or Peterborough, trains go direct to Ipswich station.

Exit station and cross the road ahead of you, going over a bridge.

Continue on road for approximately 500m and the ground is on your left.


There is a nominated AWAY PUB – The Station Hotel opposite the station.


Division One Champions 1961-62

Division One Runner-up 1980-1981, 1981-1982

Division Two Champions 1960-1961, 1967-1968, 1991-1992

Division Three (South) Champions 1953-1954, 1956-1957

FA Cup Winners 1978

UEFA Cup Winners 1981

Texaco Cup Winners 1973

Charity Shield Runners-up 1962-1963, 1978-1979



Mick O’BRIEN 29 May 1936 – 11 August 1937

Vacant 12 August 1937 – 11 November 1937

Scott DUNCAN 11 November 1937  – 

Alf RAMSEY 7 August 1955 – 30 April 1963

Jackie MILBURN 30 April 1963 – 8 September 1964

Jimmy FORSYTH (Caretaker) 9 September 1964 – 4 October 1964

Bill McGARRY 5 October 1964 – 23 November 1968

Cyril LEA (Caretaker) 24 November 1968 – 12 January 1969

Bobby ROBSON 13 January 1969 – 18 August 1982

Bobby FERGUSON 19 August 1982 – 17 May 1987

John DUNCAN 17 June 1987- 5 May 1990

John LYALL 11 May 1990 – 5 December 1994

Paul GODDARD/John WARK (Caretaker) 6 December 1994 –  27 December 2002

George BURLEY 28 December 1994 –  11 October 2002

Tony MOWBRAY/Bryan KLUG (Caretaker) 11 October 2002 – 28 October 2002

Joe ROYLE 28 October 2002 – 11 May 2006

Jim MAGILTON 5 June 2006 – 22 April 2009

Roy KEANE 23 April 2009 – 7 January 2011

Ian McPARTLAND (Caretaker) 7 January 2011 – 12 January 2011

Paul JEWELL 13 January 2011 – 24 October 2012

Chris HUTCHINGS (Caretaker) 24 October 2012 – 1 November 2012

Mick McCARTHY 1 November 2012 – 10 April 2018

Bryan KLUG (Caretaker) 11 April 2018 – 29 May 2018

Paul HURST 30 May 2018 – 25 October 2018

Bryan KLUG (Caretaker) 25 October 2018 – 27 October 2018

Paul LAMBERT 27 October 2018 –


League Record

The Football League structure has historically been as follows …

1888-1892 1892-1920 1920-1921 1921-1958 1958-1992 1992-2004 2004 to date
First tier Football League Division One Division One Division One Division One Premiership Premier League
Second tier Division Two Division Two Division Two Division Two Division One Championship
Third tier Division Three Division Three
(North) and (South)
Division Three Division Two  League One
Fourth tier Division Four Division Three League Two

Joined Division Three (South) 1938

Division Three (South)  (Tier three) 1938-1954

Division Two  (Tier two) 1954-1955

Division Three (South)  (Tier three) 1955-1957

Division Two  (Tier two) 1957-1961

Division One  (Tier one) 1961-1964

Division Two  (Tier two) 1964-1968

Division One  (Tier one) 1968-1986

Division Two  (Tier two) 1986-1992

Premier League  (Tier one) 1992-1995

Division One  (Tier two) 1995-2000

Premier League  (Tier one) 2000-2002

The Championship  (Tier two) 2002-2004

Division One  (Tier two) 2002-2004

The Championship  (Tier three) 2004-2019

League One  (Tier two) 2019-