Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughStriking the club to glory - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Striking the club to glory - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Striking the club to glory

IPSWICH TOWN MADE history when they won back to back championships in the seasons 1960-61 and 1961-62, the latter making them the champions of England. Under the guidance of one of the, if not the greatest English managers ever in Sir Alf Ramsey, Ipswich Town upset all the odds to become the only fourth club ever to achieve this remarkable feat.

Ted Phillips was one of the main reasons for this success, he formed an inseparable strike partnership with Ray Crawford and these two strikers’ goals played a major role in these two successive titles. In the 82 games they played together during these two seasons they netted a combined 131 league goals, an incredible record.

Edward John “Ted” Phillips was born 21 August 1933. Not long after coming out of the army, Phillips played for his hometown side non-league Leiston Town. In 1953 he was scouted and then signed by then Ipswich Town boss Scott Duncan. After spending a short amount of time on loan at fellow non-league outfit Stowmarket Town, Phillips made his Ipswich debut aged 20 on 3 March 1954. He never looked back since.

In the 11 years that Phillips spent at the club between 1953 and 1964 he scored an astonishing 161 league goals in 269 appearances, making him the second highest league goalscorer in the clubs history. Phillips was second only to his strike partner Ray Crawford, who hit 204 league goals in 320 appearances in two different spells for the ‘Tractor Boys’.

Phillips holds the record for the most goals scored for the club in one season, netting 46 in all competitions during the 1956/1957 season.

Strike Partnership

Phillips enjoyed a formidable partnership with Ray Crawford throughout his Ipswich career. During the 1960-61 Division Two promotion season, these two deadly strikers’ combined to score 70 of the 100 goals that the team scored that year. Phillips scored 30 goals with Crawford netting 40.

Both these strikers featured in all 42 league games during this campaign. It is very rare in the modern game that any outfield player plays in every single game due to the policy of rest and rotation.

Speaking of the partnerships success Phillips said: “We were the best of friends so when we played together the communication came naturally.”

These two strikers scored the goals that had got the club into the top tier of English football for the first time in their history. The partnership wasn’t to stop there; backed by all the media to go straight back down the players proved everyone wrong and won the league to become the English Champions.

Phillips netted 28 times and Crawford 33 as Ipswich achieved the amazing feet of winning the English Division One straight after winning the English Division Two. Ipswich became only the fourth club to achieve this remarkable record, emulating the same efforts by Liverpool in 1906, Everton in 1932 and Spurs in 1951. No team since have achieved the same feat and with the gap clearly widening between the top two leagues it looks increasingly unlikely that another team will do it again.

John Motson, the legendary football commentator and writer, once recorded reported Crawford and Phillips as having ‘a physical presence that was a frightening prospect for any defence.’

Phillips said: “We all clicked together and made a great team but  I don’t think any of us realised what we could achieve until it happened. Both the team and the fans were over the moon at what we achieved.”

Sir Alf

Ipswich achieved this under the management of Sir Alf Ramsey. Ramsey is renowned by journalists and football fans alike for being one of the best English managers ever. Ramsey took charge of Ipswich in 1955 and in the eight years he was at the club he transformed them from a Third Division Southern Side to English league Champions.

What made the achievement even more remarkable was that Ipswich were the first club that Ramsey managed and the team cost a mere £30,000 in total containing just one player with international caps – Ray Crawford.

Phillips said: “Alf was a joy to work with, my relationship with him was brilliant both on and off the field.”

In 1963 Ramsey left Ipswich to manage England and immediately predicted that ‘England will win the next World Cup’, his prediction proved right as he led England to their only World Cup trophy in 1966. The following year Ramsey was knighted.

“I was surprised like alot of others at the time that Alf was given the England job but I knew he would do a great job just like he did at Ipswich,” added Phillips.

Under Ramsey’s reign, Ipswich were often referred to as ‘Ramsey’s rustics’: they played an unusual midfield formation without wide players. This often left opposition full-backs confused as they had no wide-men to mark, as a consequence the attacking players as Crawford and Phillips used to run and pass through the centre to score.

When he was in charge of England Ramsey put in place the same tactics and again success followed. You often hear journalists and historians refer to Ramsey’s winning 1966 World Cup squad as the ‘Wingless Wonders’.

Ramsey installed a belief in his players that they could beat anyone, he had the respect of his players who were totally committed boasting utterly ruthless team spirit. All these things together led to his success with both Ipswich and England.

In 2009, Phillips appeared on the Sky Sports programme ‘Time of Our Lives’, reminiscing about his glorious Ipswich days with teammates Larry Carberry and Ray Crawford.

Phillips revealed that he had met Ramsey by chance the night before he was sacked as England manager. What surprised Phillips was that Ramsey already knew he was no longer in charge of England when they were together but didn’t mention it. Ramsey kept himself to himself; he was a very distinctive character.

Powerful Striker

The 1960-61 season was a sweet memory for Phillips not only because of Ipswich’s success but also because they recorded a double victory over fierce rivals Norwich City. Phillips was known for having one of the hardest shots in football and in one of these ‘Old Farm’ games he was given the responsibility from the penalty spot:

“I remember it well,” he laughs, “because the Norwich keeper, Sandy Kennon, came out of his goal and tried to put me off.

“He said ‘Where are you going to put it?’ and I told him I was going to aim for his head. He didn’t know what to say but I had a strong shot and it made him think.

“I ran up and stuck to my guns. He dived to the side and the ball thudded against the underside of the bar before hitting the net. If he’d stood still I reckon it might have taken his head off and well he knew it!”

Phillips once went head-to-head with Bobby Charlton, Peter Lorimer and Bobby Smith in a national competition to see who had the hardest shot:

“The area was all wired up and Bobby Smith missed the netting!

“I was recorded at 80-plus mph to be named England’s most powerful striker,” recalls a proud Phillips.

“Ted’s shot was so powerful that it made Bobby Charlton’s look like a back-pass,” said Ray Crawford.

Looking back on his Ipswich career, Phillips, now 77 and living in Colchester, Essex, a mere 20 minute drive from Ipswich claims: “I had a great time at Ipswich, I have no regrets whatsoever,  my best moment being when we won the First Division Championship.”

Unfortunately, the Ipswich Town hero rarely gets to attend many games these days because of operations on both his knees and shoulders.

Phillips was held in such high regard at Ipswich that when the club opened a hall of fame in 2007 he was one of the first names to be inducted into it. Strike partner Ray Crawford was added onto the list at the same time alongside club legends Mick Mills and John Wark.

Phillips last game for Ipswich ended up with him being in goal for the last six minutes of a 4-0 drubbing at Chelsea. It is ironic how Ipswich’s second ever top league goalscorer finished his Ipswich career trying to save goals.

“My relationship with the fans was very good and still is now. When I go to watch Ipswich, the fans will always shout have you brought your boots Ted?” joked Phillips.

Will Ridgard

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