Ipswich were formed as an amateur club in 1878, but it was not until 1936 when they turned professional. After winning the Southern League at the first attempt and finishing third the following season, they were elected to the Football League on May 30th, 1938.
They started in the Third Division (South) and their first success came in the 1953-54 season when they won the title. Ipswich found life in the Second Division tough and a year later they were down again.
The appointment of Alf Ramsey as manager in succession to the successful Scott Duncan proved a shrewd move. In 1956-57 Ipswich won the Third Division (South) title again, but the club really sprang to prominence when they won the Second Division in 1960-61 and the First Division Championship a year later which meant they had qualified for the European Cup.
Ipswich went out in the second round to eventual winners AC Milan after overcoming Floriana of Malta 14-1 on aggregate on their baptism.
It was back to Second Division football, however, by the end of the 1963-64 season with Ramsey having left to manage England and Jackie Milburn now in charge. Milburn resigned at the start of the following season, and Bill McGarry came from Watford to take over. Under McGarry the club regained its First Division status in the 1967-68 season, but in November 1968 McGarry left to go to Wolverhampton Wanderers, and after a period of Cyril Lea in charge as caretaker-manager, Bobby Robson was appointed in January 1969.
Robson did not have an easy start, but once he had stamped his mark on the club it really took off. In 1973 an '75 Ipswich won the FA Youth Cup before winning the FA Cup in 1978 - exactly 100 years after they had been formed as an amateur club.
The late 1970's saw the arrival of Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen, the two Dutchmen who made such an impact on the team and with the supporters, and they helped Ipswich win the UEFA Cup in 1981.
The First Division Championship eluded Robson's team on more than one occasion, but in 1982, following the World Cup in Spain, Robson became the second Ipswich manager to take over the England post. For some time previously Robson had been linked with clubs both at home and abroad, and it was no surprise when he took over the top job in succession to Ron Greenwood.
Ipswich decided to keep it in the family and Robson's job went to Bobby Ferguson, his chief coach during the glory years. Bobby had a difficult job in following Robson and tragically the Team slipped into the Second Division in 1986.
Losing in the play-offs to Charlton meant no quick return to the First Division and Ferguson's contract was not re-newed.
Former Chesterfield boss John Duncan took over in June 1987. Three seasons of mid-table positions led to Duncan becoming the first Ipswich Manager to be sacked in 1990.
John Lyall was appointed from Tottenham in May 1990, and in his first season started to re-shape the Club. In 1991-92 Lyall's men were Second Division Champions and a whole new chapter in Town's history was about to begin.
Ipswich Town's first season back in the top flight coincided with the launch of the FA Premier League. At the start of the season most Town fans would have been happy had the Club just avoided relegation. In reality Ipswich got off to a flying start and before Christmas supporters were talking about a return to Europe. In the New Year cup defeats in the quarter final stages of both the FA Cup and Coca Cola Cup made a dent in Town's confidence. Early season form could not be maintained and Ipswich flirted with the relegation zone. The drop was avoided and Town, in fact, finished a creditable sixteenth.
Two seasons later, Ipswich Town found the going just too difficult in the Premier League and John Lyall, who had taken a back-seat managerial role at the club resigned just before Christmas. Former favourite, George Burley took over in the hot seat but could not save Ipswich from the plunge into the first division.
Ipswich narrowly missed out on the playoffs in their first season in Division 1, before making it the following three years, losing out in the semi-final each time, including narrow defeats on the away goals rule against Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers.
However, it was a case of fourth time lucky for Town in 1999-2000 when Ipswich gained revenge on Bolton for the previous season, and progressed to Wembley for the playoff final. In a thrilling match Town beat Barnsley by four goals to two to gain promotion back into the top flight.
On their return to the top flight Ipswich were tipped by most for an instant return to Division One, but instead they took the Premiership by storm, staying in the top six for most of the campaign and reaching as high as third. A place in the Champions' League was a possibility until the final day of the season, with Town eventually ending in fifth to qualify for the UEFA Cup in their highest placing in the top-flight since the 1981-2 season.
The success was not to last. A less than consistent season in 2001/2 saw Ipswich Town finish 3rd from bottom of the Premier League and a return to First Division Football. It was not all bad news for Town that Season however, and the Ipswich Town Reserves under the leadership of Coach Dale Roberts picked up the Barclaycard Premiership Reserve League (South) Championship title. In addition, the Blues qualified for Europe for a second successive season by virtue of the Fair Play Award.
Town's first season back in Division 1 got off to a poor start culminating in the departure of manager, George Burley in early October 2002. Tony Mowbray took over temporarily until new boss, Joe Royle, was appointed at the end of the month. Despite financial problems off the field, culminating in a period of temporary Administration, Royle rekindled Town's play-off hopes until the last few matches of the season. It was to no avail and our final league position of 7th meant another season of Division One football was the inevitable outcome.
The start of 2003/04 was a nightmare with Town bottom of the First Division in September but Royle brought in a number of loanees and turned the fortunes of the Club around.
A long, unbeaten away run saw Blues steadily climb into the top six and hold that position through a nervy last day of the campaign, booking a place in the Play-Offs with a 1-1 draw with Cardiff.
A 1-0 win over West Ham in the Semi-Final first-leg at Portman Road put Blues on the brink of a trip to the Millennium Stadium but it wasn't to be, Hammers storming back to win 2-0 at Upton Park and take the tie on aggregate.