Saturday, July 30, 2011

Unnoticed end and unnoticed beginning – Ipswich Town finished 3rd! Once again, no big deal – the Blues had strong season. Good for them, yet, nothing particularly surprising in a league, where everybody could win and everybody can finish in the relegation zone.
Ipswich Town are one of the oldest English clubs, founded in 1878, but hardly successful one. They were champions only once – in 1962, and, generally, had very little to show in terms of trophies. By 1975 it was hardly big deal – there was not a single club able to win 10 titles so far and even a single champioship ranked strongly. However, Ipswich Town were not among the ‘heavy’ clubs; they were rather mid-table boys, more likely to fear relegation than to be among the top 5. Champions in 1962 – and dead last in 1964! Returning to 1st Division in 1968 and keeping their place since, but no more… gradually finishing at higher places until ending third with most wins in the League – 23; losing 2nd place only on goal difference, and finishing just 2 points behind the champions.
Bronze Tractor Boys: Sitting, left to right: Collard, Miller, Lambert, Johnson, Hamilton, Woods, Gates.
Middle: Lee, Osborne, Peddlety, Harper, Viljoen, Burley, Robson – manager.
Third row: Hammond, Talbot, Mills, Cooper, Sivell, Hunter, Beattie, Whymark.
At a glance, hardly a famous team – and it was not, but there were the seeds of something better sawn already. Mick Mills was included in the Englsih national team and was to stay in it for years. Others were to become reputable, solid players, if not exactly great stars: Talbot, Miller, Osborne, Beattie. Burley and Wark (not on the picture) gradually established themselves in the national team of Scotland. It was a promising squad, still in the making, but with good backbone, arounf which new talent was only to be added carefully. For which the manager was responsible – one Bobby Robson. He was not Sir Robson in 1975 – he was just noticed, and that only in England. It was only a beginning – the real fruits came a few years later and Robson gained enormous reputation. It was this year, however, marking the start of steady success. Nothing stays static in football: if 1975 was the end of Leeds, it was also the beginning of the next great team – Ipswich Town.