The club started as an under 14’s boys team in 1980 and two years later they entered the lowest division of the Ipswich Sunday League. In 1987 they became founder members of Division One in the Eastern Counties League (sponsored at that time by Jewsons), playing at our present ground in Humber Doucy Lane. Jimmy Barker became a very influential chairman & he negotiated a new sponsorship that entailed a name change to Lancaster Ipswich FC before we eventually became Ipswich Wanderers. Jimmy died in November 1994 & his presence is sadly missed. Thankfully, after all his work, he saw the floodlights switched on in September 1994 in a match against Ipswich Town.
Much progress has been made since those days & we now have a stand that seats 50 people, covered hard standing on three sides of the ground, easy disabled access, an improved playing surface and refurbished clubhouse and bar. A lot more work was required to bring the facilities up to Premier Division standards and constant improvements are made every season under the direction of Development Officer Roger Wosahlo and ground manager Tim Davey.
Under the Chairmanship of Alan Haste the club achieved Premier status in season 1997/98, becoming champions of Division One, nine points clear of Maldon Town, and losing only three league games all season. Reaping the rewards of a successful youth policy which saw numerous trophies filling the clubhouse cabinet, a well-organised side with a good balance between youth & experience saw us establish ourselves as a Premier Division side for a number of seasons until we suffered relegation on the last day of the 2002/03 season.
Former Ipswich and Tottenham player Jason Dozzell was appointed in his first coaching post the following season (2003/04) and consolidated a good defensive performance to finish 8th, a lack of goals being instrumental in gaining a higher place. However, there were plenty of signs that, given the right players, Jason’s leadership was what was needed at the club, both on and off the field.
The right players arrived during the close season, along with several non-playing staff, to give a sense of optimisim to the start of the 2004/05 season. With Jason Dozzell honing his managerial skills and exerting his playing influence on the pitch, Kevin Cunningham oversaw the assembly of a squad of players that went on to clinch promotion, and the Championship, in a very competitive league. However, it was not until November that the team really began to play like the champions they were to become, finishing the season on a 26 game unbeaten run, collecting 28 points from the last 10 games and not conceding a goal in the last 6.
So, between the first and final whistles of the 2005/06 season, manager Jason Dozzell, coach Glynn Hague and talent spotter Kevin Cunningham urged their charges on to accumulate 75 points for a 7th place finish, secure the second best defensive record and most clean sheets in the league, see the home attendances increase by 1/3rd to average over 100 and finally realise the potential in the Youth and Reserve squads. At the end of the 2005/06 season when several key members left the Club. Chairman David Bugg, General Manager Kevin Cunningham and Manager Jason Dozzell all went to fulfill their ambitions elsewhere.
Within a few weeks, John Clarkson, newly arrived, with a reputation, from the West Country, was appointed manager and he lost no time in assembling a strong squad of old and new players for the coming campaign. Local businessman Ed Nicholls was recruited to the post of Chairman and what at first looked like a sinking ship soon had all sails unfurled and heading purposefully into the 2006/07 season. John Clarkson left at the end of 2006/07, having guided the club to the final of the Ridgeons League Cup, the 5th round of the F.A Vase, the semi-final, against Ipswich Town, of the Suffolk Premier Cup and a 10th place finish, after a late surge, in the league.
For 2007/08, Louis Newman took up their managerial reins and assembled a squad of young hopefuls whilst the Reserves were left in the capable hands of Wanderers old boy Aren Howell. After a disappointing start to the season, where the club suffered record losses and gained few points, Steve Buckle was brought in from Felixstowe to replace Louis Newman. He began the task of rebuilding the 1st team squad to stave off relegation, but was unable to do so. The Reserves, on the other hand, finished 2nd in their league, won the Chell Trophy against Wroxham.
The following couple of seasons saw little of note to cheer about, as Wanderers largely struggled near the bottom end of the table. Although there were plenty of disappointing results in this time, we often showed against the top clubs that we could match the best on our day.
After a bright start to the 2010/11 campaign, where Wanderers won 5 of their opening 6 league matches and took two high profile scalps in the F.A Vase, their season slipped somewhat. The side did though manage to end the season in 10th place, which was enough to secure an F.A cup spot which they had failed to gain in the previous two seasons. The latter stages of the season saw the introduction of a number of Kevin Baker’s successful youth team squad make the transition to first team football, which shows encouraging signs for the future ahead.
Over the summer, Terry Fenwick took over from Nicholls as club chairman, which brought new sponsors in to the club. On the field, Wanderers were bottom of the table and out of all major cup competitions by early October, which saw manager Steve Buckle and his assistant Paul Grainger part company with the club. Glenn Read took over and quickly brought in his own players and backroom staff, including former Stowmarket Town boss Steve Jay as his assistant, to help get Wanderers back up the table.
Wanderers went on to have a vastly improved season during 2012/13, finishing fourth place in the Division One table, before lifting the Suffolk Senior Cup for the first time in their history with a penalty shootout win over Whitton United at Portman Road.