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Ipswich Town’s greatest games: Blues win First Division title in 1962

The most unlikely league champions? Almost certainly. This was the line-up which won the Division One title, against all the odds, in 1961-1962. Pictures: DAVE KINDRED

The most unlikely league champions? Almost certainly. This was the line-up which won the Division One title, against all the odds, in 1961-1962. Pictures: DAVE KINDRED

Dave Kindred

In today’s look back at Ipswich Town’s greatest games, we relive the extraordinary day in 1962 that the Blues shocked the footballing world by winning the First Division title.

Action from the crucial, championship-deciding game against Aston Villa at Portman Road in May 1962. Here, a shot from Ted Phillips goes just wide much to the relief of Villa keeper Sims. Ray Crawford is in close attendance. Picture: DAVE KINDRED Action from the crucial, championship-deciding game against Aston Villa at Portman Road in May 1962. Here, a shot from Ted Phillips goes just wide much to the relief of Villa keeper Sims. Ray Crawford is in close attendance. Picture: DAVE KINDRED

Ipswich Town 2 Aston Villa 0,

The ball is on its way to the back of the net, thanks to Ray Crawford's diving header after John Elsworthy had hit the bar. The ball is on its way to the back of the net, thanks to Ray Crawford's diving header after John Elsworthy had hit the bar.

April 28, 1962

The triumphant Town team arrives on the Cornhill in Ipswich in the traditional open-top bus to be greeted by thousands of adoring fans. Picture: DAVE KINDRED The triumphant Town team arrives on the Cornhill in Ipswich in the traditional open-top bus to be greeted by thousands of adoring fans. Picture: DAVE KINDRED

Ipswich Town skipper Andy Nelson holds the First Division Championship trophy aloft on the Cornhill after their win over Aston Villa in 1962 Ipswich Town skipper Andy Nelson holds the First Division Championship trophy aloft on the Cornhill after their win over Aston Villa in 1962

Surely the most extraordinary day in the illustrious history of Ipswich Town Football Club.

Andy Nelson doesn't look especially comfortable as he is hoisted skyward by John Elsworthy and Roy Bailey during the 1962 championship celebrations. Picture: DAVE KINDRED Andy Nelson doesn't look especially comfortable as he is hoisted skyward by John Elsworthy and Roy Bailey during the 1962 championship celebrations. Picture: DAVE KINDRED

Alf Ramsey’s collection of has-beens and cast-offs had shocked the football world a year earlier when they were promoted to the First Division. They were universally written off as relegation certainties.

But, as the season went by, incredibly Town found themselves in the race for the title, alongside mighty Spurs and Burnley.

Prolific strikers Ray Crawford and Ted Phillips were banging in goals left, right, and centre, supplied by Ramsey’s deep-lying wingers, Jimmy Leadbetter and Roy “Rocky” Stephenson.

It was a revolutionary tactic which flummoxed First Division defences and, four years later, would see England to World cup glory.

On the final Saturday of the season, in front of nearly 29,000 fans, Town knew they must win against visitors Aston Villa.

The first half was frustrating, but in the 72nd minute a diving header from Crawford brought the breakthrough. Four minutes later, Crawford struck again.

Town had done their bit, and a few minutes after the final whistle came the news that Burnley had only drawn.

Ipswich were First Division champions – arguably the greatest-ever achievement in English football.

5 comments

  • I don't follow football anymore.....I was 10 in 1962 and used to be taken to watch by my friends dad and me and my mate used to share the apple box to stand on. My hero was Billy Baxter. Hard as nails and could head a ball further than some could kick it. I followed them through my teens and travelled by coach and mini van all over to watch them play. It's a shame they are where they are now but like a lot of things...the game has been corrupted by greed. If you 'aint got the money you will remain in the lower divisions.

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    waspie

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

  • I'd agree with the author that ITFC were the most unlikely league champions. Although Leicester's title win in 2016 was a big shock, the club had already won a few trophies. Ipswich came from nowhere.

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    Suffolk Exile

    Sunday, June 18, 2017

  • Not sure this was a great game - undeniably a great outcome. But it was a distinctly ordinary game. The games against Spurs then hyped as the best team ever were great. And ultimately delivered Town the title. Of course neither Town, nor Spurs have won the title since. Which is interesting. Both clubs are owned by offshore tax dodgers. Both run by in-house yes men. Alas there the similarities now end. Even the other early 1960s powerhouse (and once prolific producers of homes grown talent), Burnley, have become born again and inhabit a different planet to Touts.

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    Pundit

    Sunday, June 18, 2017

  • Cast-offs and has-beens? A good omen for the coming season perhaps!!! I was with the R.A.F in Lagos Nigeria when the news came through. Still paying off my mess bar bill.

    Report this comment

    Inathens

    Sunday, June 18, 2017

  • Those were the days when the ground was packed. You couldn't move. Wooden rattles being swung above your head. Wooden crates to stand on so I could see above all the adults heads. How different to today's crowds. (If you can call them that - half of the 1960's crowds if your lucky).

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Sunday, June 18, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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