During the long winter months of 1895/1896, a Mr F C H Gibbons who the resided at 15 Christchurch Street, Ipswich had daydreamed on the subject of a local Football League catering for the many hundreds of young men in Ipswich and the surrounding districts who wanted to play on a competitive basis.

Soccer had up to only twenty or so years earlier been the preserve of a few in organised friendly games. Mr Gibbons’ daydreaming turned to serious thought in the spring of 1896, and by the summer he had formulated rules for the league he envisaged. Towards the end of the last century, the East Anglian Daily Times were giving their fullest support to all forms of recreation and sporting activity. Mr Gibbons, somewhat tentatively approached the Editor of this famed newspaper, asking if they would advertise the fact that he intended to launch a Football League for Ipswich and District. There was, already a League in existence in North Suffolk and the East Anglian Daily Times to their everlasting credit, not only gave full coverage to Mr Gibbons’ proposals but allowed the use of their Long Room in their Carr Street premises in Ipswich for an inaugural meeting. This historic meeting was called for Thursday 10th September 1896 with a 7.30pm start. Eighteen clubs attended this meeting and listened carefully to Mr Gibbons’ proposals

These clubs were…

• Brantham Athletic
• Churchmans
• Great Eastern Railway
• Higher Grade School
• Institute Rovers
• Ipswich Rugby
• Ipswich Town
• Orwell Works
• Prettys Athletic
• Primitive Methodists
• St Clement
• St Helen
• St Lawrence Works
• St Mary Stoke
• St Matthew
• Stoke United
• Trinity Old Boys
• West End Excelsiors

In October 1896, matches in the Ipswich & District League got under way. The League had only one Executive Officer, the Secretary, and a President whose parliamentary duties were such that he could not contribute to administration of the League. The concept of an Ipswich & District League had excited many of the best teams in the area but sadly, Ipswich Town, although interested had already arranged their fixtures and decided not to compete. The really powerful units in Ipswich and South Suffolk at that time were Stowmarket, Brantham Athletic, Orwell Works and Felixstowe Town. These clubs had themselves arranged friendly matches prior to the League’s formation but they decided that the competitive football offered by the Ipswich & District League was to their liking. In addition Cowells Athletic, Great Eastern Railway, St Mary Stoke and Walton Foresters, all senior clubs at that time, came into the League…

Extract from Five Score A History of the League (by KP Wood).

Division One - 1945 - 1950


Achilles / HMS Ganges


Whitton Utd


Whitton Utd




Waterwise Works

Premier Division - 1950 - 1978


Waterside Works


Waterside Works


Sudbury Town


Hadleigh Utd


Waterside Works

Formerly Omnico Cup - 1997 - Present


Grundiburgh FC


Walsham le Willows FC


Walsham le Willows FC


Grundisburgh FC


Walsham le Willows FC


Old Newton United FC

League Affiliations