Ipswich Town are set to play in the Premier League for the first time since 2002, with their fixtures being released tomorrow at 9am. In preparation, Ross Halls takes a look at the Blues' last five Premier League opening games, in reverse order...

Gavin Johnson celebrates in the reverse fixture at Villa Park.Gavin Johnson celebrates in the reverse fixture at Villa Park. (Image: Newsquest)

1992/93 - Ipswich Town 1-1 Aston Villa

The Blues are, of course, founding members of the Premiership after they won the Second Division title in 91/92 to return to the top flight of English football for the first time in six years.

Their inaugural match was at Portman Road as they faced Ron Atkinson's side in the first all-seater game at the stadium, following the recommendations of the Taylor Report. 

Town opened the scoring in the 31st minute when Gavin Johnson fired home from 30 yards to score the first goal for the Blues in the new league. 

However, former Town striker Dalian Atkinson equalised late on for the visitors as the two sides shared the points on the opening day in Suffolk.


Ian Marshall joined Ipswich from Oldham Athletic in the summer of 1993.Ian Marshall joined Ipswich from Oldham Athletic in the summer of 1993. (Image: Newsquest)

1993/94 - Oldham Athletic 0-3 Ipswich Town

The second top flight season saw the Blues start their campaign with a trip to Boundary Park, as they faced a future Town manager in Joe Royle.

There was a big talking point before the game as Ian Marshall was coming up against his former side, having only joined the Blues from the Latics for £750,000 a week before. 

It was a winning start for John Lyall's side and a debut goal for Marshall as he opened the scoring for Town on the 41st minute, with the forward celebrating in front of his former boss and supporters.  

Just before the half-time break Steve Palmer doubled the lead, before another debutant in Paul Mason wrapped up all three points for Town to secure their first ever win at Oldham. 


Bryan Roy scored for Nottingham Forest against Ipswich Town on the opening day of the 1994/95 season.Bryan Roy scored for Nottingham Forest against Ipswich Town on the opening day of the 1994/95 season. (Image: PA)

1994/95 - Ipswich Town 0-1 Nottingham Forest

The Blues' unbeaten run on the opening day in the Premier League was broken in their third season when they hosted Frank Clark's side, who were back in the top flight after Town had relegated Forest in the 1992/93 campaign.  

Manager John Lyall was back to being boss after serving as Director of Football, but suffered a defeat as Dutchman Bryan Roy scored the only goal of the game in the 41st minute to notch on his Forest debut.  

Town experienced their worst start to a season for 31 years, losing 11 of their first 15 games. Shortly after Lyall left the club and was replaced by former player George Burley. 

Overall, it was a disappointing season for Town as they were relegated to the second tier after finishing rock bottom of the table. 


Mark Venus opened the scoring for Ipswich at Tottenham.Mark Venus opened the scoring for Ipswich at Tottenham. (Image: Pagepix)

2000/01 - Tottenham 3-1 Ipswich Town

Town returned to the big time after winning promotion at Wembley, with their first game being a trip to White Hart Lane and it was a dream start for the Blues when they took the lead via Mark Venus, scoring a free-kick beyond goalkeeper Neil Sullivan in the ninth minute. 

However, the hosts scored two goals quickfire goals to turn the game around, with Darren Anderton scoring from the spot, before a minute later, Stephen Carr - who had won the penalty - turned goalscorer when he was picked out by Serhiy Rebrov and was able to beat Richard Wright at his near post.

Late in the second half, Les Ferdinand wrapped up the points for Spurs as he headed home to inflict an opening day defeat for Town, with a familiar face in Mauricio Taricco coming off the bench in the final moments. 

Of course, this was a campaign to remember as the Blues would go on to finish fifth in the table and qualify for Europe for the first time in nearly 20 years.


Finidi George was making his debut for Town at Sunderland.Finidi George was making his debut for Town at Sunderland. (Image: Pagepix)

2001/02 - Sunderland 1-0 Ipswich Town

It was another opening day defeat for the Blues as they travelled to the Stadium of Light, with big money signings Matteo Sereni and Finidi George making their Town debuts. 

The home side scored the only goal of the game in the 31st minute when Titus Bramble fouled Kevin Kilbane in the box, with Kevin Phillips stepping up to convert the spot kick by sending Sereni the wrong way.

Ipswich improved dramatically in the second half, but weren't able to find a equaliser with another debutant, Pablo Counago, coming close late on but being denied by Thomas Sorensen. 

Of course, it was mixed bag season for Burley's men as they looked set to secure their survival with 10 games to go but a poor run of results saw Town relegated back to the second tier. 

Who then could have predicted it would be 22 years before Town returned to the top flight?