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PARALLEL LINES: IPSWICH

27 September 2016

The similarities between Albion and Ipswich.


The kit
From 1878 to 1934, Ipswich Town wore blue and white stripes, akin to those of Brighton and Hove Albion. The Suffolk side then began a long period of donning blue shirts with white sleeves, including the kit worn when Alf Ramsey’s side won the league championship in 1962.

Albion also tried used this Arsenal-esque combination from 1948 to 1951 and then memorably from 1964 to 1970, when Alex Dawson was in his pomp. Since 1964, bar one design with white sleeves from 1992 to 1994, it’s been blue shirts and white shorts all the way for the East Anglian side. The Adidas pinstriped kit of 1981 to 1984 was particularly exquisite. From 1980 to 1987, the Seagulls also ran out of the tunnel in plain blue shirts manufactured by Adidas.


The keeper

Former QPR and West Ham keeper Phil Parkes was one of the finest keepers in his day, showing an impressive cat-like agility despite his big frame. He must have had some trepidation when he recalls his encounters with Brighton. As a teenager, he was keeper for Walsall against Brighton in a marathon FA Cup tie in 1969/70 and was famously bundled into the net by striker Alex Dawson on more than one occasion. Despite thwarting the Brighton attack for long periods, a cheeky Dawson back heel got past him. Then, in the twilight of his career, Parkes played for John Lyall’s entertaining Ipswich side of the early 1990s. An unstoppable Dean Wilkins free-kick with two minutes to go had Parkes clutching thin air at the Goldstone. The 2-1 win sent Brighton into the play-offs.


The Fifties
After being elected to the Football League in 1938, Town went on to have some memorable encounters with Brighton in the 1950s in Division Three (South). Brighton lost 5-0 at Portman Road on 5th September 1951, but then avenged this defeat with a 5-1 success at the Goldstone just seven days later, with Billy Reed scoring a hat-trick. Both clubs also fought a tight promotion race in 1953/54. Back then, only the champions were promoted and Town beat Albion to top spot by just three points. 

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The battle for survival
On two occasions, Brighton have faced Ipswich on the last day of the season hoping to fight off the threat of relegation. In 1992, a 3-1 defeat at Portman Road ensured a happy finish for champions Ipswich, who had already clinched promotion to the inaugural Premier League. By contrast, the result sent the Seagulls down to the third tier. Then in 2005, Adam Virgo’s volley gave Brighton the equaliser in a 1-1 draw that kept the Seagulls in the Championship and denied automatic promotion to the Tractor Boys.


The centenaries
Both clubs celebrated 100 years of existence with some silverware. In 1978, Ipswich Town won the FA Cup after a convincing performance against Arsenal. At Wembley, Roger Osborne’s solitary goal clinched the victory. Then, in 2001, Brighton and Hove Albion were crowned champions of Division Three in a memorable season under Micky Adams.

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