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On this day in Ipswich Town’s history: when Chelsea and Manchester City were second class

PUBLISHED: 05:59 03 September 2020

Jason Dozzell celebrates with fellow goalscorer Dalian Atkinson against Sunderland in September 1988

Jason Dozzell celebrates with fellow goalscorer Dalian Atkinson against Sunderland in September 1988

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In this daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history, selecting one particular year, this time from 32 years ago when John Duncan’s men beat Sunderland 2-0 on September 3, 1988

Midfielder Jason Dozzell celebrates his goal against Sunderland during a 2-0 win from 32 years agoMidfielder Jason Dozzell celebrates his goal against Sunderland during a 2-0 win from 32 years ago

It can often be eye-opening, looking back through old Football League tables, none more so than the 1988-89 season when modern-day ‘mighty’ clubs were not quite so mighty.

Exactly 32 years ago Ipswich Town, with John Duncan at the helm, chalked up a comfortable 2-0 home win over Sunderland in a Second Division clash at Portman Road.

The goalscorers that day were Jason Dozzell and Dalian Atkinson, who went on to be joint top scorers with 13 goals alongside veteran John Wark.

It was to ultimately be a disappointing campaign, though, with Town falling two places and three points adrift of the play-offs. Sunderland, who had the satisfaction of thrashing Town 4-0 in the return match at Roker Park the following March, finished in mid-table.

Romeo Zondervan fires in a shot during Town's 2-0 home win against Sunderland in September, 1988Romeo Zondervan fires in a shot during Town's 2-0 home win against Sunderland in September, 1988

Incidently, this was Sunderland’s 90th year at Roker Park. They were to eventually leave nine years later, in 1997, bound for the impressive Stadium of Light.

Of greater interest was the top of the second tier, where two very familiar names, Chelsea and Manchester City, were battling to get back into the top flight.

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Dalian Atkinson celebrates his goal in Town's 2-0 home win against Sunderland on September 3, 1988Dalian Atkinson celebrates his goal in Town's 2-0 home win against Sunderland on September 3, 1988

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Both managed it, in their stride.

Chelsea accumulated 99 points to be crowned champions (this was a new Second Division record), finishing an impressive 17 points ahead of Manchester City, who finished runners-up. Another current-day Premier League regular, Crystal Palace, were third and eventually won through the play-offs.

As for Town, they were to be stuck in the second tier from 1986 to 1992, before they were to be gracing the top flight again in the newly-established Premier League.

Their squad during the 1988-89 era including the likes of keeper Craig Forrest, defenders Frank Yallop and Tony Humes, often-forgotten midfielders David Hill and Ian Redford, plus strikers Mich D’Avray and David Lowe.

And champions Chelsea, who returned to the top flight at the first time of asking, had players of the calibre of Kerry Dixon, Tony Dorigo, Kevin Wilson and Graham Roberts to call upon. A very young Graeme Le Saux made his debut on the final day of the season, 3-2 win at Portsmouth.


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