Ipswich had won the league in the previous season, three points clear of Burnley and losing just twice at home at Portman Road throughout the season. Despite being promoted from the second division the previous season, they went on to win back-to-back league titles. Tottenham Hotspur had beaten Burnley 3–1 at Wembley in the FA Cup final three months earlier.
Ipswich had never featured in a Charity Shield match in their history. Tottenham Hotspur had appeared four times, the most recent visit being in the previous year where they defeated a Football Association representative XI 3–2. Ipswich went on to play in the 1978 FA Charity Shield, a game in which they also conceded five goals, that time against league championsNottingham Forest. As of 2011, Ipswich Town have not played in a Charity Shield match since 1978, while Tottenham Hotspur have competed for the title four times, losing once and sharing the trophy three times.