Town cup tie was Babes' last home match

"A COMPLETELY new experience" is how one lifelong Ipswich Town fan who attended the match described the day he travelled to Old Trafford.Cyril Garnham, who has supported Ipswich Town since 1934 and is a season-ticket holder at Portman Road, said it was hard for people today to appreciate the magnitude of the occasion.

"A COMPLETELY new experience" is how one lifelong Ipswich Town fan who attended the match described the day he travelled to Old Trafford.

Cyril Garnham, who has supported Ipswich Town since 1934 and is a season-ticket holder at Portman Road, said it was hard for people today to appreciate the magnitude of the occasion.

Fifty years ago, he said, there were far less cars on the road and few people had television sets, so the vast majority of the 3,000 Ipswich Town supporters who made the trip were seeing Manchester United play for the first time - unlike today when the top teams appear on our TV screens week in week out.

Mr Garnham, who is now 80 years old, travelled by train with his parents and two brothers - Peter, who now lives in Scotland, and Arthur, who still lives in Ipswich and is a Portman Road regular.

He recalled: "There was an air of considerable expectancy and excitement amongst the large following of Town supporters, wearing their blue and white favours, as we boarded the train before setting off on the long cross-country journey to Manchester.

"United's young side had developed into arguably the best team in the country, whilst Town were at that stage comparatively unknown - they had only just gained promotion from Division Three (South) and were standing mid-table in Division Two.

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"In the early 1950's, far from every household had a television set and football generally was not publicised in the way it is today.

"The visit to Manchester United, therefore, was a completely new experience - an adventure which few of Town's supporters would have undertaken previously."

Mr Garnham, who still lives in the Ipswich area, rates John Elsworthy as the best uncapped Welshman of all time, adding that it is doubtful he was watched as regularly as players from the senior Welsh clubs who were selected at that time.

He said: "John Elsworthy gave an outstanding performance at left half for Town and showed himself fully capable of playing at a higher level."

Old Trafford seemed an "enormous stadium" for those used to Portman Road and United appeared more at home on the muddy and wet surface than Town, who were used to the high standard of their own pitch, he said.

"At the end of the game, United knew they had been severely tested by their less illustrious opponents and the home crowd were quick to appreciate and acknowledge the Town's performance and gave them a standing ovation as they left the pitch.

"The journey back to Ipswich proved long and tiring but we were more than satisfied that the team had performed admirably on the day and nobody could ask for more than that."

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