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[Blog] 1961-1962 - Those Were The Days
Written by Mossy on Monday, 2nd Aug 2010 01:44

Cast your minds back to the beginning of the 1961-62 season. Ipswich Town were in Division One for the first time in their history. An average house cost £2,530, the cost of a loaf of bread was 5p, there was the first man in space and JFK was the President of the United States.

The club up to this point had no history. Being elected to the Football League in 1938 had never played in the top flight till this fairytale season. Regarded as relegation candidates, Ramsey added one player to the team in that summer; inside Forward Doug Moran. He turned out to be an astute signing, bagging 18 goals in our romp to the championship.

Ray Crawford (37) and Ted Phillips (36) scored the goals. Phillips having the hardest shot in football at the time. Supplied by the crosses of Roy Stephenson, from the right.

In goal we had Roy Bailey (Gary Bailey's father), at full-back was Larry Carberry and John Compton, they were certainly not the fastest, but they could defend well and pick out a good pass. In defence, the captain Andy Nelson and, hard as nails from only just completing national service; Bill Baxter with, underrated big, John Elsworthy on the left hand side.

We surprised many that season, playing good passing football described by Matt Busby as, 'one of the First Division's most attractive sides'. One of our strengths was that we had no stars. Everyone worked for each other. And, many team's couldn't combat Ramsey's choice of having a deep lying left wing playmaker by the name of Jimmy Leadbetter, rather than playing him in a more attacking role.

Portman Road at the time was described thus: "Basic with only the West Stand, now the Britannia, with any seating. A season ticket was about £12 and you could purchase a cushion for an old penny to make the seat more comfortable.

"The crowds, especially in the North Stand used to surge forwards when goal mouth action was happening and you were constantly on the move backwards and forwards as the crowd moved. Keeping your balance was an art form in itself.

"Wooden rattles and big rosettes were the order of the day along with community singing before the games. The smell of Woodbines and flasks of hot tea also come flooding back.

"There was no trouble and small children were often passed over heads to the front and were allowed to sit on the grass at the side of the pitch.

"Crowds of 25,000 were common and that expanded to over 30,000 for the big clubs."

The club started the season slowly, as always, losing two of the first three matches and conceding eight goals in the process. We took on the mighty Burnley. A force in this time, many people's tip to regain their crown, they lost to double-winning Spurs the year previously. But, they were in for a shock. Being utterly outclassed by a rampant Ipswich side 6-2 described as one of the best games seen at Portman Road.

This victory gave them great heart and belief beating the big teams like Spurs, Wolves and Man Utd on our way to the championship. What helped us finish the season in top spot, was, our after Christmas run, losing Just three games in 23, including a 5-0 tonking handed out by Man Utd at Old Trafford, gaining revenge for our 4-1 hammering we gave them previously in the season.

We finished top, three points ahead of Burnley with 56 points, scoring an impressive 93 goals in 42 matches in the process. This was in the days before three points for a win, we would have got 80 points now.

Achieving what Ramsey did, it was like Wigan winning the division now. It was bound to get him noticed and after this triumph Ramsey was given the England job. We struggled to reach these same heights until Bobby Robson started improving the club again well over a decade later.

Despite my father being a young lad at this time, I still am proud of this achievement in beating the big boys playing the football we did. Laying down a legacy which Robson built on and given us a clear vision and tradition we have today.




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51blue added 14:16 - Aug 2
A fantastic season of football I only missed one game and can clearly remember many of the goals scored and have been hooked ever since!
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Vic added 08:45 - Aug 3
Excellent blog Mossy - nice to be reminded of the heritage we have as a club and why many of us are so proud to be Town supporters.
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Mossy added 10:54 - Aug 3
Thank you, Vik.
I agree. Even almost 50 years on Ramsey's influence is still on our football club.

My hope of the blog was to remind the older posters of that great season and, for people like me give them a little understanding of what we did in probably one of our finest acheivements. Never, sadly, to be repeated.

I also want to thank TB for his comments and experiences that helped me write this blog.
Without his help i wouldn't of been able to do this season any justice.
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Mossy added 10:57 - Aug 3
Thank you, Vik.
I agree. Even almost 50 years on Ramsey's influence is still on our football club.

My hope of the blog was to remind the older posters of that great season and, for people like me give them a little understanding of what we did in probably one of our finest acheivements. Never, sadly, to be repeated.

I also want to thank TB for his comments and experiences that helped me write this blog.
Without his help i wouldn't of been able to do this season any justice.
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DanLyles added 12:44 - Aug 3
Interesting read Mossy. I'm sure I read once that this was the season that Ramsey pioneered the 4-4-2 formation? Or were we still using the WM formation?
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DanLyles added 13:01 - Aug 3
Didn't take me long to find this on the net:

England's 1966 World Cup-winning manager, Alf Ramsey, had actually used his pioneering "wingless" 4-4-2 formation to lead Ipswich Town to the league title in 1962, but the world only saw it four years later. Just to be certain, Ramsey kept the system under wraps in the lead-up to the World Cup, telling the Daily Mail: "I think it would be quite wrong to let the rest of the world, our rivals, see what we are doing."

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December1963 added 15:17 - Aug 3
Good Read
This was the first season i can remember but i was only 6 at the time and my dad was not a footy fan but i was hooked on town and have been ever since.It took me another year to persuade my dad to take me and my first game was on December 20th 1963 (hence my user name) and we beat West Ham 3-2
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TractorBeezer added 16:04 - Aug 3
This article certainly rekindles a lot of great memories since I was fortunate enough to see many of those games. One prominent match in my mind was when I slipped out of Northgate School mid-afternoon from a Chemistry class with a couple of pals to get the train to London to see us beat Spurs at White Hart Lane in March 1962.I had one of those big wooden rattles which accidentally flew out of my hand and whacked a Spurs supporter on the back of the head..he graciously pssed it back without making any fuss! The entire team was magnificent that night and for me that was the pivotal game of the season and we then went on to win the league with a squad of only 16 players. I also recall that during the Easter weekend there were 3 games in 4 days without any substitutes!
Thanks Mossy.
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ipswichjon added 08:18 - Aug 4
Excellent piece of nostalgia and particularly apt to read of £12 season tickets when I then read that our season tickets are now the fourth most expensive in the country:
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/ipswich-season-tick

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cjwinthesun added 19:09 - Aug 4
Thanks for the memories. I saw my first game that year - the 4-1 beating of Man Utd, watching from the North Stand. I still have the rosette my father bought me as a 'treat'. From that moment always a Blues supporter. I went to five more games that season including the final game v Aston Villa. I couldn't climb up the wall from the terrace at the final whistle so was helped buy two 'Big' guys who lifted me up so we could dance on the pitch. You are right about children sitting on the grass. I had a close up view of the match v Wolves from such a vantage point. Champions!
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dobbie73 added 08:41 - Aug 5
Fascinating blog Mossy, thank you. Being 'only' 37 years old, this was obviously another era to me, but stll interesting to read. And although our 'friends' from up the road may disagree (maybe because they have no history to speak of), history in general is important to learn from, and for a football club history is everything!
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EatonBlue added 13:24 - Aug 5
Well done Mossy. There were no oustanding individual stars in the 1961/62 side but as a team we were the best - and that was down to Ramsey.
My first game was November 1962 3-5 against Man U.
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itfcjon added 12:30 - Aug 7
it's great to be reminded of the great season i started following town the season before when we won the second division title my first match at elland road where we came back from 2-1 down to win 5-2
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Back_The_Boss added 16:53 - Aug 16
Great blog that Mossy, those really were the days, TWTD.
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Fatcatevans added 09:36 - Aug 22
i well remember the night we beat Burnley 6-2 At that time they and spurs were the top 2 sides in England. Town tore them apart playing quite wonderful football. Burnley got off light.
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