Rare Ipswich Town programme of Lowestoft game to be auctioned
16:40 12 August 2014
It has been described as an “extremely rare” piece of sporting ephemera dating back more than 75 years.
And next month, local football followers will be in for a treat as a pre-war programme – featuring one of the earliest Ipswich Town matches to be played – goes under the gavel.
The programme, dating back to September 19, 1936, was for an FA Cup preliminary round tie against the Lowestoft-based Eastern Counties United side. It is set to feature as part of a large collection of football programmes at the sale organised by Lockdales of Martlesham on the weekend of September 13-14.
Lockdales’ cataloguer Chris Elmy said that pre-war football programmes were “very scarce.”
He said: “This is an extremely rare 1936 Ipswich Town FA Cup home programme – one of the earlier matches they played in their first ever season as a professional Southern League side. There is a catalogue guide price of £80-£85, but the final figure is likely to go deep into three figures.”
In May 1936, the then amateur Ipswich Town team applied to the Southern League to become a professional side. They were unanimously elected into the league, with Mick O’Brien appointed as the club’s first-ever official manager.
Ipswich’s first professional player was Ossie Parry, who signed from Crystal Palace, and later that season there was joy as Town’s first season as a professional outfit saw them crowned Southern League champions.
The following season, while not being as successful as they finished third in the Southern League, Ipswich did gain entry into the Football League as they were voted into the Third Division (South).
The particular match that features in this programme was Ipswich’s third game as a professional side – after two Southern League victories over Tunbridge Well Rangers and Margate. But Ipswich’s first-ever FA Cup match as a professional outfit to be played at Portman Road saw them take on the Lowestoft-based Eastern Counties United.
It is unclear whether this Lowestoft side was formed from part of the Eastern Coachworks factory, which ran in the town between 1921 and 1987, or whether it was an Eastern Counties League representative side. So can our Turning Back The Clock readers help with providing more details on the Lowestoft-based Eastern Counties United side?
Auction manager James Sadler said: “This is an unusual programme indeed from a season that saw Town compete as a professional outfit for the first time in the Southern League. Mick O’Brien was the manager, and he led the club to the league title, beating Norwich City Reserves into second place.”
The September 19, 1936 FA Cup preliminary round tie against Eastern Counties United saw Ipswich win 7-0. A crowd of 6,700 watched Jack Blackwell score a hat-trick. George Dobson got two. Bobby Bruce and Jack Carter were also on target.
Ipswich’s FA Cup run that season also pitted them with further games against Suffolk opposition. On October 3, 1936, a crowd of 7.500 fans at Portman Road watched Ipswich beat Stowmarket 8-0 in an FA Cup first qualifying round tie.
Two weeks later and Town faced a trip to play Lowestoft Town at Crown Meadow in an FA Cup second qualifying round encounter.
The match ended 1-1, and a report of the game said: “Seasiders Spring A Surprise” as “professionals’ winning sequence” was “checked”. Fred Jones gave Lowestoft the lead, before Ipswich equalised in the last ten minutes and Lowestoft ended the game with nine men through injuries.
Just days later, on October 21, Ipswich went on to win the replay 7-1. And after an FA Cup first round victory was enjoyed by more than 18,000 fans at Portman Road in November, they eventually went out of the competition at the FA Cup second round stage after a 2-1 home defeat to Spennymoor United in December.
Mr Elmy added: “We have dealt with early programmes before, but we’ve not had this particular one. It is among one of the biggest collections of football programmes we have ever handled. It is very hard to get hold of early football programmes and particularly those pre-war are extremely rare. They are getting very scarce.”
Mr Elmy added that there will be a large amount of programmes going under the gavel as part of a “lifetime’s collection,” and he said: “We expect this private collection will attract a lot of interest.”
The programmes will be on sale as part of the coins and collectables auction on September 13-14 at Lockdales. To view the full catalogue, visit www.lockdales.com
■Do you recognise any of the Lowestoft team’s names in this programme, or if you have any information, or pictures of the team, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org