When were Ipswich last in the Premier League? Rise and fall of the Tractor Boys explained

Ipswich are pushing for a return to the top-flight after a 22 year hiatus.Ipswich are pushing for a return to the top-flight after a 22 year hiatus.
Ipswich are pushing for a return to the top-flight after a 22 year hiatus. | Getty Images
Ipswich are on course to become just the fourth team to achieve back-to-back promotions from League 1 to the Premier League

The Championship is often described as one of the most difficult leagues in world football to predict and one team that epitomises that statement this season is Ipswich Town. The Suffolk based outfit recently ended their four-year hiatus from the second-tier by winning promotion from League One - and now they have their sights set on achieving promotion once again despite being one of the new boys in the division. 

As it stands, the Tractor Boys sit second in the Championship table. A hugely remarkable achievement - given the financial power that recently relegated trio Leicester, Leeds United and Southampton have at their disposal.

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Ipswich are vying to join an exclusive list of team’s to achieve back-to-back promotions, but when did they last play in the Premier League? Here’s all you need to know.

When did Ipswich last win promotion to the Premier League?

Ipswich Town were one of the 22 teams that competed in the inaugural Premier League season in 1992/93. The Tractor Boys were relegated from the Premier League for the first time in 1995 and missed out on promotion via the play-offs in three of the next four seasons.

However, that run ended at the turn of the millennium and Ipswich celebrated promotion back to the top-flight in 2000 with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Barnsley in a game which proved to be the last ever competitive club fixture to be played at the original Wembley Stadium. George Burley’s team went on to defy expectations by finishing fifth in their first season back in the top-flight. Striker Marcus Stewart was the standout performer that season with 19 goals, while a young Titus Bramble, Richard Wright and Matt Holland all won plaudits for their performances.

Burley was given the Manager of the Season award for his incredible efforts as his team finished above Chelsea, Newcastle and Aston Villa with what was a shoestring budget in comparison.

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When were Ipswich relegated from the Premier League?

Sadly for the Tractor Boys their time in their sun was not to last and by 2002, due to a combination of tiredness, bad luck, injuries and the added strain of European football, they found themselves back in the Championship - achieving just 36 points - exactly 30 less than the season before.

Fans were, however, treated to a few famous nights in what was then the UEFA Cup as they progressed to the third-round, notably securing a famous Portman Road win over Inter Milan before falling short in the second leg at the San Siro.

This was not the club’s first adventure into a European competition, but it was just their third entry into the UEFA Cup since winning it with Bobby Robson in 1981.

What has happened to Ipswich since then?

After a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, Ipswich stagnated in the Championship between 2002 and 2018 and other than two failed play-off attempts, were largely limited to mid-table finishes.

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The Tractor Boys, who had become the longest serving team in the Championship at the time, were relegated in 2019 in a dismal season which saw the club manage just five victories from 46 games.

The Suffolk side failed to mount any real promotion push until the arrival of manager Kieran McKenna in December 2021.  Since then the ex-Manchester United coach has transformed the side into an attacking force which plays on the front foot. They achieved automatic promotion from League One last season with an incredible 98 points, whilst scoring a league-high 101 goals from 46 matches.

This front foot cavalier style of football has continued in the Championship and Ipswich lead the goal charts with an incredible 90 goals. Ipswich need just a draw from their final game against relegation strugglers Huddersfield to complete the feat of back-to-back promotions.

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