Ipswich Town’s title win in 1962 is a bigger underdog tale than Leicester City winning the Premier League - Crawford

Ipswich Town's 1961/62 Championship winning team

Ipswich Town's 1961/62 Championship winning team - Credit: Archant

Leicester City’s Premier League title is being hailed as the most remarkable football fairytale of all time, but the biggest underdog story still belongs to Ipswich Town’s Class of ‘62 according to legendary striker Ray Crawford.

The Foxes started this season as 5,000-1 rank outsiders, but have become the first new name on the English top-flight trophy in 38 years. As recently as 2009 they were in League One and just 12 months ago they narrowly escaped relegation.

Many comparisons have been made with Nottingham Forest’s unlikely top-flight title in 1978, Brian Clough going on to win back-to-back European Cups after that success.

Those with longer memories say that the Blues’ achievements of 1961/62 are still the biggest underdog story of them all though.

Town had been in Division Three South when England’s future World Cup-winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey took charge in 1955. There was promotion in ‘57, they were Division Two title winners in ‘61 and top-flight champions the following year. Five players were there throughout the journey.

“Leicester’s is an unbelievable story because it’s come in an era which, sadly, is dominated by money,” said Crawford. “I still think ours was a bigger achievement then theirs though.

“We were a bunch of nobodies who had never been in the top division. Everyone wrote us off. They said we didn’t have enough experience, they said we were lucky to win the Second Division and they said we were favourites to go straight back down. We didn’t have a single international until I was capped (just twice) towards the end of that season.

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“Kenneth Wolstenholme (the BBC commentator of ‘they think it’s all over’ fame) was a Tottenham supporter and he said they had far more quality. He said that if Ipswich won it he would buy us a dozen bottles of champagne – and he did! As you can imagine, with John Cobbold the chairman, they were gratefully received!”

Crawford scored 33 goals that season as Burnley dropped points during the run-in to leave the door open for Town.

“None of us thought we would win the league, right up until the very last game,” said the sprightly 79-year-old. “It was never even discussed by Sir Alf or the players.

“Jamie Vardy is getting a lot of the credit because he’s Leicester’s goalscorer, it was the same with me in ‘62, but they’ve done it as a team, just like we did. The difference is I got a pay rise to £30-a-week back then, when I’d probably be on £100,000-a-week these days!”

Town finished 17th the next season, Ramsey was appointed England boss, Crawford was sold to Wolves and Town were relegated in ‘64.

“That was sad,” adds Crawford. “I hope the same doesn’t happen to Leicester.”