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Ted's Greatest Game 1962 Win at Spurs
Tuesday, 9th Jan 2018 15:15 by Mel Henderson

Ted Phillips, who has died aged 84, played 295 games for Ipswich, scoring 181 goals, an impressive ratio by any standards, and he was quick to nominate the victory over reigning champions Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Wednesday 14 March 1962, as the most memorable of his entire career.

I recall ringing him to set up an interview for a book – Match of My Life – that I was writing. I explained it would feature 16 of Town’s leading players reliving their most memorable games for the club and he said he would be delighted to assist.

We agreed a date when I would visit his house in Colchester - where he lived until recently moving to a care home in Ipswich - to have a chat. “That gives you a few days to think about it,” I said. “Don’t need to,” he quickly replied. “There’s only one game as far as I’m concerned.”

When Ted and I sat down – him to reminisce, me to record his words – he told me the win at Spurs was regarded at the time as the best result in the club’s history.

They were not only the champions, less than a year earlier they had become the first winners in the modern era of the League and FA Cup double.

Throw in the fact that Town had triumphed in the first fixture earlier that season at Portman Road, that they were becoming recognised as potential title-winners in their first top-flight campaign and that manager Alf Ramsey was an ex-Tottenham player, and it was one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures of the time.

Hard to imagine now, of course, but there was no segregation at White Hart Lane on the night. Town supporters, many given a day off from their studies as local schools organised special buses, others making the journey on a fleet of trains to Northumberland Park, were able to make their way into the stadium via any entrance.

The players also travelled by rail, Ted joining them at Colchester and making his way to the restaurant car where he and his team-mates tucked into a meal en route to Liverpool Street.

Ted’s strike partner, Ray Crawford, opened the scoring in the eighth minute but Jimmy Greaves quickly levelled. Ted scored the first of his two goals four minutes before half-time and netted again in the 71st minute, when he raced 40 yards on to Doug Moran’s clever pass and fired past goalkeeper Bill Brown from the edge of the area, to complete the scoring.

Ted was delighted but recalled how he could, and probably should, have made it a perfect hat-trick. But, having scored with a header and a right-foot shot, he saw his left-foot effort come back off the junction of bar and post.

“The main thing was that we won and to be honest we were never really in danger of losing, or even drawing, the game,” he remembered. “A pal of mine who was there, and who attended most of our games in that era, said to me afterwards that he had never seen me play a better game for Ipswich.

“I wasn’t one to blow my own trumpet – I preferred to let Alf dish out the praise and he was waiting for us when we came into the dressing room. He made a point of congratulating each and every one of us, patting us all on the back. He looked as if he had won the pools, he was so happy.”

Club chairman John Cobbold was also delighted with the outcome and escorted Ted and his colleagues to a pub virtually next door to the stadium. “The place was full of Spurs fans but we went into the posh bit, the lounge, and there was no trouble,” Ted said.

“Alf didn’t like the way Mr John would take the players for a drink but he couldn’t stop him. You heard Mr John before you saw him because he had so many whisky miniatures in his coat pockets. I remember Alf standing there shouting ‘Come on lads’ and I said ‘Not likely, I’ve still got a pint here.’

“We’d have stayed all night if we could have done but Alf eventually dragged us out and on to the bus to get to Liverpool Street just in time for the last train.”

The victory over Spurs was hugely significant as they had to settle for third place behind runners-up Burnley, with Town top of the pile and Ted was one of many players to collect a League Championship medal a mere 12 months after they had won the Second Division to secure top-flight status for the very first time in their history.

Gromford-born Ted added: “The whole country was stunned by our achievement. We started the season as favourites to go straight back down again, only for the very opposite to happen. It was all down to Alf, who was so thorough in everything he did.

“I’d have been nothing without Alf. He made me as a player the way he chatted to me and built up my confidence. He was like a god to me.”

He was also a renowned practical joker, whose mere presence enhanced the team spirit that carried Town so far under Ramsey. Ted rarely missed a chance to entertain his team-mates, on one occasion borrowing a hotel diner’s bowler hat and umbrella to make his very own grand entrance via a Rolls Royce parked outside, much to the surprise of a stunned commissionaire.

The team hotel was often the scene of Ted’s tomfoolery, even managing to completely remove a colleague’s bed from his room and, more than once, weighing down unsuspecting diners by filling the pockets of coats hanging up with a raft of cutlery.

Ramsey was on the receiving end when he found what he initially suspected to be a real cockroach floating in his soup and Ted also recalled how Scottish trainer Jimmy Forsyth was often the butt of his jokes. He said: “I put some bricks in his bag one day when we were at the station and he could hardly lift it off the platform.

“But one joke very nearly backfired. We were in London waiting to head north when I jumped up and said ‘This is our train Jimmy’. I even helped him on with the skip, then I quickly hopped off again and the train pulled away with him on it and the rest of us standing on the platform.

“Jimmy ended up in Preston but we were actually playing at Stoke and he only got to the ground with 20 minutes to spare.”

Ted had few equals when it came to putting the ball in the net, many of his goals coming from long-distance shots too powerful for the keeper to stop.

He was even officially recognised as having the fiercest shot in football, measured at 87 miles per hour, but he never saw it as a God-given talent. He explained: “As a youngster setting off on the walk to school every morning, I always had a tennis ball in my pocket. I would get it out and kick it all the way there and back, as well as playing with it in the playground in between.

“Eventually I kicked my shoes to pieces and because there wasn’t enough money to buy me another pair I had no alternative but to go to school in my socks. One of my brothers would carry me as far as he could but I still wanted to kick the ball and I genuinely believe that’s what toughened up my feet.”

Like so many giants of the game, away from the pitch Ted was a gentle man, engaging company and blessed with a sharp sense of humour.

He may have plumped for that away win over Tottenham as the match of his life, but perhaps his greatest triumph was battling against the odds to survive double pneumonia as a child and later becoming not only one of the most prolific goalscorers ever but, undoubtedly, one of Ipswich Town’s all-time greats.


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itsonlyme added 15:26 - Jan 9
Wonderful wonderful player. He could strike the ball so hard and from a very long distance. I believe it was the Fulham goalie, Tony Macedo, who had his wrist broken by one of Teds thunderbolts. Magical player from a magical era of ITFC. RIP Ted and thanks for all the memories!

billyrobinson3 added 16:01 - Jan 9
I saw this great player score many goals for Ipswich town. 2 against Manchester United at Portman Road will always stay in my memory. Harry Gregg was in goal for Manchester and was well beaten from distance and never got anywhere near them. What a partnership he had with Ray Crawford, without doubt 2 all time Ipswich greats. I met him many years later when he was laying cables in Diss, he would have talked football all day. Atop bloke RIP Ted.

wherescounago added 16:02 - Jan 9
Brilliant piece on a man I never had the privilege of seeing play but one who really deserves the Legend status. Where are these local boys, with stories like these, who had it hard to start with but worked to achieve the unbelievable. RIP Ted shame we will never see his like again.

WoodfordTim added 16:03 - Jan 9
I had the privilege of chatting to him at a function some 10 years ago. As a boy growing up in London, I was a Spurs fan and he recalled this match (or the previous one at PR) whereby Danny Blanchflower rounded on the Spurs' goalkeeper, Bill Brown and called him a coward for shying away from one of Ted's shots. Ted was a really nice bloke to chat to and has given me a great memory.

PJH added 16:10 - Jan 9
A lovely read about a great man in a wonderful era for ITFC.
Today is a sad day but also a happy day for me because it has conjured up so many memories from that wonderful season so long ago.


BackToRussia added 16:38 - Jan 9
Great read, thanks Phil.
RIP Ted.

PhilTWTD added 16:44 - Jan 9

Cheers but can't claim the credit, Mel Henderson wrote it for us.

classicblue added 16:47 - Jan 9
I went to that game - it was wonderful to see our lads outplay such a great team that included Greaves and Danny Blanchflower. Ted and Ray were brilliant.

cfmoses added 16:50 - Jan 9
A legend and a hero of mine. Ted scored the first goal I saw at Portman Road when I was 9. Needless to say it won the match and was a bullet from 30 yards. On my 60th birthday my twin brother and I were programme sponsors and I had the privilege of meeting him and Ray after the game. I have a photo and his autograph that I treasure. RIP Ted, a wonderful servant to the Club.

Radlett_blue added 17:00 - Jan 9
Yes, we only finished 4 points ahead of Spurs in that Championship season so that was a massive game.
Spurs certainly extracted their revenge, beating us 6 times out of 6 over the next 3 years & scoring 28 goals in the process.

therein61 added 17:09 - Jan 9
That man and the genuine honest players in that era who I had the pleasure of watching as a kid home and away(thanks dad) are what Ipswich Town are all about followed by Sir Bobs days again a team with honesty and drive to succeed while entertaining the fans, what a sorry state we are in now!!!!!!!

rfretwell added 17:21 - Jan 9
Always remember my dad taking me to the huge celebrations on the Cornhill after winning the league title. We were the Leicester City of that season, even better because we had got promoted as champions from Div 3 in successive seasons too! RIP big Ted.

CornardBlue added 17:25 - Jan 9
Great tribute to Big Ted. He was a true Son of Suffolk "one of our own"
I hope the club does does something special as a tribute to him on Saturday.
R.I.P. Big Ted

jungleboy added 17:25 - Jan 9
The report mentions the Spurs away match in 61-62 but Ted was great in the home match also.

I was standing behind the goal of the North Stand at the wall with my mother. It was her first ever football match. Ted hit one of his super powerful shots which just missed the Spurs goal, hit my mum on the head and bounced back into the field of play. A perfect header - but my mum never went to a match again and I'm not sure if she was ever the same again.

Mind you after the 61-62 season nothing was the same again. Thanks TED. RIP.

algarvefan added 17:46 - Jan 9
What a lovely tribute to a real gent and a character too, the like of which we wil not see again.
RIP Ted and thanks for the memories and the fun

happybeingblue added 17:50 - Jan 9
Never had the pleasure of watching the boys of 61 but love reading the stories about them,proud what they achieved,and made us the champions of England.In the days when it was equal opportunity to win, before £ ruined the chances of many.some of the pictures in the legends bar and centre spot area are fabulous reminders of some wonderful players who have graced portman rd

BlueandTruesince82 added 17:52 - Jan 9
"Mr John". Diffrent time. Good read.

blueboy1981 added 17:53 - Jan 9
R.I.P. Ted. A Legend, and one of the best. Thanks for Great Memories.

cat added 18:00 - Jan 9
Reading through this got me thinking back to the last ‘Tractor Derby’ when many on here said history counts for Jack and it’s all about the here & now. In my opinion ‘OUR’ Ted has achieved the greatest honour a person can achieve in life, and that’s leaving a legacy of being a true legend, he will be ‘up there’ & part of our history forever.

SpiritOfJohn added 18:05 - Jan 9
Great to read all of the tributes to a true Town legend. I never saw him play but my Dad told me about his explosive shooting power. I heard that his shots were so fierce that they broke the goal net on more than one occasion.

Waterfootblue added 18:12 - Jan 9
Phil, an amazing piece of writing. Captures the times exactly as they were for us old boys. Think definitely football has sold it's soul, perhaps society has missed out too. We could go to matches with opposing supporters without hatred, win, lose or draw! just pure enjoyment, and Ted gave that in spades. Thanks to Mel and yourself. And thanks to big Ted for all the amazing memories. RIP big man.

TotalBlue added 18:14 - Jan 9
Sadly never saw him play. But the stories and sheer achievement speaks volumes. RIP Ted you will always be part of our clubs history a true town legend..

Cheshire_Blue added 18:23 - Jan 9
Those really were the days!!
I am lucky enough to have seen all the glory years since about 1957 and was at that game at White Hart Lane, but nothing since compares to the air of expectation when Ted picked up the ball on the half way line and moved menacingly forward to unleash one of those unstoppable shots.
It's a different world now.

muccletonjoe added 18:25 - Jan 9
Didnt know about anything when ted and ipswich town won the league and became champions of England. But it stands as a proud and very unique achievement in the clubs history. Ted Phillips will be remembered for those goals as long as football is played in Ipswich.R.I .P

Karlosfandangal added 19:17 - Jan 9

Never saw him play but my mum and Nan saw them many time and said the side which Ted played in were amazing.

Funny how players after their career had to find a job, yet today a very average football is made for life......

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