|Head coach||Sandy Francis|
|Other staff||Defensive Coordinator: Sandy Francis
Special Teams Coach: Kevin Davies
Defensive Line Coach: Robert Stamper
Defensive Backs Coach: Sandy Francis
Offensive Coorinator: Paul Borstel
Offensive Line Coach: Muff Woolf
|Home stadium||Northgate International Sports Centre|
|Division||South East Conference|
|Postseason bowl record||2–5–0 (.286)|
|Claimed national titles||2|
Burgundy and Gold
The Ipswich Cardinals are an American Football team from the United Kingdom based in Ipswich, Suffolk. The team plays in the National Division South East Conference of BAFANL – the second tier of the BAFA National Leagues.
Formed by Colin Cox, Mark LePorte and Don Laisure II in December 1985 at the Drunken Docker pub in Ipswich.
The club was formed by the players for the players, the club was owned by the players.
What's in a name?
The name comes from one of Ipswich's most famous sons, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was Henry VIII's Lord chancellor (Chief advisor to the king). It is a clever play on the traditional name for some American sports teams, whereas theirs is generally a reference to the cardinal bird, their name is a tribute to a 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 tryouts – a lot of them went by the way, but there were a lot of hopefuls. Don Laisure put the hopeful players through their paces along with Gary McCartney. The committee approached Jack Garner who was the head coach of the Woodbridge high school team. He became the head coach until he was transferred to Holland – then, with the team coach-less, JJ Johnson was asked to help. JJ and Andy Melton took over the coaching roles, whilst Don Laisure stepped down and played instead.
All Time record
|1986||Friendlies only||0||0||1||12||12||Vs Stevenage Aerostars|
|1987||United Kingdom Football League Championship||12||0||0||299||21||Runners-up losing 28–26 in the final to St Helen Cardinals|
|1988||Budweiser Division 1 Championship||9||1||0||456||84||Runners-up losing 48–34 in the final to Herts Phantoms|
|1989||British National Gridiron League Division 1||7||2||1||216||54||Runners-up losing 18–9 in the final to Norwich Devils|
|1990||British National Gridiron League Division 1||9||1||0||256||77||National champions beating the Clydesdale Colts 34–22|
|1991||British National Gridiron League Division 1||6||2||1||279||130||Semi-finalists losing 50–0 to the London Capitals|
|1992||BNGL National Division South/East Midlands Conference||5||5||0||217||213|
|1993||BNGL Division Midlands Conference||5||5||0||150||95|
|1994||BAFA Division 2 South Eastern Conference||1||9||0||81||267||Relegated to Division 3|
|1995||BAFA Division 3 East Midlands Conference||3||7||0||86||207|
|1996||British Senior League Division 3||8||2||0||261||61||Quarter-finalists losing 14–0 to Winchester Rifles|
|1997||BSL Division 1 South East / Midlands Conference||4||6||0||151||177|
|1998||BSL Division 1 South East Conference||4||6||0||145||248|
|1999||BSL Division 1 South East Conference||2||6||0||84||126||Relegated to Division 2|
|2000||British Senior League Division 2 Championship||8||0||0||297||48||Runners-up losing 41–7 in the final to Farnham Knights|
|2001||British Senior League Division 2 Championship||5||2||1||172||91||Division Champions beating the Norwich Devils 47–15||Promoted to Division 1|
|2002||British Senior League Division 1||6||4||0||201||116||losing 14–3 to Birmingham Bulls|
|2003||British Senior League Division 1||4||4||0||137||67||Semi-finalists losing 12–7 to East Kilbride Pirates|
|2004||British Senior League Division 1||5||4||0||199||170||Wildcard round losing 46–0 to London O's|
|2005||British Senior League Division 1||3||6||0||86||201|
|2006||British American Football League Division 1A||4||6||0||165||334||Semi-finalists losing 20–7 to Bristol Aztecs|
|2007||BAFL Division 1 Championship||8||2||0||230||109||Runners-up losing 47–7 in the final to Farnham Knights|
|2008||BAFL Division 1 South Conference||5||5||0||167||175|
|2009||BAFL Division 1 South East Conference||3||7||0||175||219|
|2010||BAFACL Division 1 South East Conference||8||2||0||215||99||Semi-finalists losing 34–10 to East Kilbride Pirates|
|2011||BAFANL Division 1 South East Conference||6||3||1||242||172||Quarter-finalists losing 14–7 to London O's|
|2012||BAFANL Premier Division South||2||8||0||43||318|
|2013||BAFANL Premier Division South||0||10||0||41||380|
Ipswich has a long-standing rivalry with the city of Norwich in all sports and American football is no different. The Cardinals and the Devils games are always fiercely contested with both teams stepping up their games.
It is an amusing accident that one of the league's biggest rivalries features teams with religious logos. With Ipswich being represented by an adaptation of Cardinal Wolsey and Norwich being represented with a depiction of a devil. Are there higher powers at work here? Probably not, but it all adds to the intensity of the games when these two teams face off on the field.
Logo and uniforms
The Logo worn on the helmet was originally a cardinal's head, then the "Fighting Cardinal" (a representation of Cardinal Wolsey) which was designed by Mark Aryes. Kevin Davies, the first quarterback, took it to an artist at the Port of Felixstowe to refine it.
The original uniform first adopted by the Cardinals was a blue helmet with the cardinals head, red home shirt, white away shirt, white pants. It is believed these colours were chosen as they matched the local football team Ipswich Town FC, it is not known however, when or why the team decided to abandon these colours in favour of their current ones.
Later on the Cardinals switched to burgundy and gold for their helmets and home uniform, and all white for their away uniform. The helmets were gold with a central stripe of white flanked by two strips of burgundy. The jersey is burgundy and the pants gold.
The away uniform was white trimmed with red numbers and two red stripes on the arms.
The Cardinals current home uniform is made up of three colours; the primary colour is burgundy. The second is gold which runs from the base of the pants up the outside of the legs and follows onto the jersey before moving under the arms to the top of the shoulder, and is also the colour of the shirt numbers. The final colour is white which outlines the jersey numbers. The pants are burgundy with gold trim and the socks are white.
The away uniform is largely the same as the home with the only difference being that the burgundy jersey is replaced with a white jersey with burgundy numbering outlined by gold.
At the end of the 2010 season Ralph Alexander, GM & Owner of the Ipswich Cardinals, made the decision to retire the club's first ever number. Head Coach Ian Girling has seen service with the organisation since its inception in 1985 first as a player in the Wide Receiver and Quarterback role, later as offensive coordinator and finally as the current Head Coach (As of 2010). In that time he has won 2 National titles and represented British American football in Europe. It was decided that a fitting way to recognise this outstanding commitment to the organisation was to retire his number from the team's roster. At the Cardinals' 25th anniversary party the GM presented the number 7 to Coach Girling and thanked him for all he has done to help make the team as strong as it is today.
Coaching staff and front office
- Chairman/general manager: Ralph Alexander
- CEO Hospitality/Entertainment/BBQ/Cold Beverages: Jan Alexander
- CEO Matchday Operations: James Alexander
- Matchday Manager: Steven Hawes
- Treasurer: Clive Longden
- Communications Manager:
- Head Coach: Sandy Francis
- Offensive coordinator:Paul Borstal
- Defensive coordinator:Sandy Francis
- Special Teams Coach: Kevin Davis
- Defensive Backs Coach: Sandy Francis
- Defensive Line Coach: Robert Stamper
- Running Backs Coach:
- Wide Receiver Coach:
- Offensive Line Coach: Muff Woolf
- Director of Statistics: John Goode