Club History

Ipswich Cardinals History

The Ipswich Cardinals were formed in 1985 by two local American Football enthusiasts - Colin Cox & Mark Leport. The name comes from one of Ipswich's most famous sons, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor. It is a play on the traditional name for some American sports teams, whereas theirs is generally a reference to the cardinal bird, ours is a tribute to this local historical figure.

The team's first training session was set for January 1986 at Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich. Over 100 hopefuls turned up for the tryouts, a lot of them went by the way-side, but there were a lot of potential players. The committee approached the Head Coach of the Woodbridge High School team on the US Airforce base, he became the Head Coach until he was transferred to Holland, then with the team coach-less a local ex-US serviceman JJ Johnson, who had a pedigree as a football coach, was asked to help. Under JJ's coaching the club made it to the Britbowl National Championship game in 1987, 88, 89 and 90 with a win finally coming in 1990 against the Clydesdale Colts from Glasgow. The Club continued playing and made repeated trips to the post season play-offs and became known as one of the most successful teams in Great Britain but didn't repeat its National Championship title until 2001 when they beat local arch-rivals the Norwich Devils at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield under the coaching of James Mitchell.

The Club's former Head Coach, Ian Girling, was with the Club since its inception in 1985 as a player and moved into coaching in 2007 when he finally retired from playing as one of the countries most prolific wide receivers. The Club currently has a mix of ages, from 18-41 years old, sizes and experience within its ranks all of whom are committed to driving the Club forward and hopefully recreating, and indeed improving upon their successful 2007 season which saw the Cardinals make it to the Britbowl final again only to be beaten on the day by the Farnham Knights.

2010 was the Cardinals 25th Anniversary season.

After 3 seasons in Division One, with 2 of those making the play-offs, the Cardinals were placed in the BAFA National Leagues Premiership South for the 2012 campaign and also competed in that division for the 2013 season. The Cardinals had two challenging seasons in the Premiership and for 2014 the Club were placed in the BAFANL National Division - South East Conference, where they completed a difficult re-building season. 2015 was the Cardinals 30th Anniversary season and another rebuilding year on the field where the team competed in the BAFANL Southern Football Conference Division 2 East.

During 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019 the Cardinals competed in BAFA SFC Division 2 East.

For 2020 the Cardinals will again compete in the BAFA Southern Football Conference Division 2 East and the team are in the process of continuing to rebuild the squad with new talent ready for 2020 campaign and future seasons.

The Cardinals all-time record can be found here.

The Ipswich Cardinals are a not for profit organisation with a 'Sole Owner'. All financial activities linked to the Ipswich Cardinals go directly towards running the organisation and equipment for the American Football programme. All website original content, unless stated, is copyright owned by the Ipswich Cardinals. The 'Ipswich Cardinals' name, original content, logos and photos are also copyright owned by the Ipswich Cardinals.
© Copyright 1985-2020

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