|[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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