Suffolk Punch, Ipswich Town FC 1936-96, 60 Years of Professional Football, edited by Tony Moyse

Suffolk Punch, Ipswich Town FC 1936-96, 60 Years of Professional Football, edited by Tony Moyse

Book published by Extra Cover in 1996, 150 pages. A4 size paperback (A13)

Rather than a written history of Ipswich Town, this book charts the history of the club between 1936 and 1996 through statistics, and it includes data on the teams, games, players, penalties, dismissals, and more!

From the rear side cover: Ipswich Town Fe are relative newcomers to professional football. Having finally surrendered their amateur status in the summer of 1936 they joined the Southern League, winning it at the first attempt. Two years later they were elected to the Football League and completed just one full season before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Ipswich may be a comparatively small market town, situated some way from the traditional hot-beds of English soccer, but the achievements of the club are more than a match for all but the most powerful in the land. Two Third Division South championships in 1954 and 1957 were followed by three Second Division titles in 1961, 1968 and 1992, the latter elevating Town to the elite of the newly formed Premier League.

When Ipswich Town topped the First Division in 1962 they became the only club, apart from Preston North End in the Football League's inaugural season, to claim the highest prize in domestic football at their first attempt. Further success followed in 1978 when Town beat Arsenal 1-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley, and a major European trophy was added in 1981 when they triumphed in the UEFA Cup.

Details of these achievements, together with the career records of the 322 players who represented the club up to the end of 1995-96 season, a note of every penalty awarded and conceded, and full lists of Town and opposition players sent off, are included here.

Over the past sixty years Ipswich Town have provided the county of Suffolk with considerable, if metaphorical, sporting 'punch", Since 1972 the club's badge has featured a Suffolk Punch, a breed of horse which was once a popular sporting animal - strong enough to carry a knight in full armour - and which later became a commonplace sight in the lanes and fields of rural Suffolk. The link remains, and is perpetuated by the title adoped for this offering!

From the introduction: This publication, as the title makes clear, concentrates solely on the professional era from 1936 to the end of the 1995-96 season. Those 60 years represented a period of development during which Ipswich Town rose from raw Southern League newcomers to become founder-members of the FA Premier League. The club achieved national and international success, and while they may not be playing at the very top at the moment, they came close to a return to that level at the end of last season.

When Town took their first tentative steps against Tunbridge Wells Rangers in the Southern League on 29 August 1936, who among the 14,211 crowd would have dared to hope that the club's future opponents would include some of the best teams and the finest players in the world?

Many fine players have appeared in the Ipswich shirt as weIl, of course, and the details of their Town careers are shown in Section 2 of this publication. It is perhaps worth noting that Ipswich Town have used a relatively smaIl number of players - just 322 in 53 fuIl seasons - despite a considerable turnover of staff around the time of the Second World War. This suggests a loyalty among players which is likely to be evident at few other clubs.

Followers of Ipswich Town have always been of the opinion that their team tries more than most to play the game according to the rules, and Section 4 goes a long way to confirming this view. The disparity between the number of Town players and the number of opposition players that have been sent off is quite remarkable.

This book incorporates several new ideas which have not previously been evident in other football club histories, such as the numbering of matches, ongoing players' career records and lists of Town and opposition penalties and sendings-off. Plans are already in the pipeline for further
publications which will provide yet more details.

As a lifelong Ipswich Town fan, raised in Suffolk and old enough to remember the Third Division South days, I have derived enormous pleasure from gathering together all this information. I put it before you, confident that it will prove to be of great interest to Town supporters and statisticians alike.

The condition of the book is generally very good. The covers have one or two minor scuffs but are clean and bright, the spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.