Many moons have passed since Ipswich Town last graced to top division of English football, but before the clubs fateful banishment from the Premier League 2002, the club were inaugural members of the division in 1992/93.
The club’s last appearance in the Premier League came to a disappointing end after a two-season spell between 2000 and 2002, but prior to their relegation, Ipswich were in fact regulars in the top division and Europe. In 1992, the club finished top of the Second Division table, and gained an invitation to participate in the newly formed Premier League’s first season.
The new first division was compiled of twenty two teams, thus containing forty four fixtures a season. Ipswich’s first match and debut ended in a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa on the 15th of August. But who was in the match day squad?
Craig Forrest – GK
The Canadian giant was -
and still is - an Ipswich fan favourite and legend. Played for the club between 1985 and 1997, making 127 Premier League appearances. Named in Canada's all time XI. Image Source: Sportsnet
David Linighan – DF
Linighan joined Ipswich Town from Shrewsbury in 1988 for £300,000, and it was at Portman Road that he would spend the majority of his career. In eight years, he made 277 league appearances, netting twelve goals for the club. Linighan now works as a carpenter. Image Source: Premier League
Phil Whelan – DF
Whelan was a Tractor Boy for five seasons between 1990-1995. Now works a school teacher in Cheshire. Image Source: Ipswich Star
Neil Thompson – DF
Another Ipswich favourite, Thompson made 206 appearances for the Tractor Boys across seven seasons before moving to Barnsley. Dabbled rather unsuccessfully in lower league management after retiring. Image Source: Twitter
Jason Dozzell – MF
Left Ispwich for Tottenham for £1.9m at the end of their debut Premier League season. His son Andre now also plays for Ipswich. Image Source: The Sun
Gavin Johnson – MF
Began his career at Ipswich in 1989. Made 131 appearances before moving to Luton Town in 1995. Image Source: Ipswich Star
Micky Stockwell – MF
He spent fifteen years of his career at Ipswich Town, notching up 506 league appearances for the club, 36 goals, and took part in several Premier League seasons. Image Source: Twitter
Joined Ipswich upon the clubs promotion to the Premier League. Remained at the club until 1998. Most recently involved in the Wales U21 setup. Image Source: Alchetron
John Wark – MF
In a career spanning 22 years, Wark played for Ipswich for three spells racking up 509 appearances. Image Source: Guardian
Paul Goddard – FW
Goddard moved to Ipswich Town on a free transfer and enjoyed a few more years in the Premier League before retiring in 1994. Went on to become the club's youth team coach. Image Source: Ipswich Star
Chris Kiwomya – FW
Kiwomya climbed the ranks at Ipswich played over 250 games. He was the club's top scorer in the 1991–92 season in which Ipswich were promoted from the old Second Division. In total he scored over 50 goals for the Tractor Boys. Image Source: TWTD
Eddie Youds – DF
The Liverpudlian defender played 50 games for Ipswich and was renowned for his physical style. Image Source: Diomedia
Simon Milton – MF
Milton joined Ipswich in 1987. He was voted Ipswich's player of the year in 1996 and retired in 1997 after 332 appearances. Image Source: Ipswich Town
The season began promisingly for the Tractor Boys, and by the turn of the new year the side had only lost two matches. The found themselves sitting comfortably, 4th in the table, but a steep decline followed. With goals drying up from Chris Kiwomya, Gavin Johnson, John Wark and Jason Dozzell, the club had sunk to 16th position come the end of the season.
Hopes of what could have been were dashed, and the players needed to regroup for the 1993/94 season. The comeback never occurred, and a final day survival race saw Ipswich cling on to their top flight status by a single point. One year later, Ipswich were condemned to the Division One after finishing bottom of the league. Their residence in the Premier League was over for the time being…