Ipswich: New exhibition marks Super Blues’ European glory days

IPSWICH: A new exhibition honouring Town’s fine record in Europe opens in the Town Hall tomorrow as part of the UEFA 30 anniversary celebrations of the famed cup win.

Ipswich Town in Europe marks the club’s involvement in all three European club competitions.

As well as playing in the UEFA Cup over many seasons, the team also took part in the European Cup (forerunner of the Champions League) in 1962-3 and the Cup Winners’ Cup (later merged with the UEFA Cup) in 1978/9.

The exhibition centres on the UEFA Cup triumph in 1980/81, but there are items of memorabilia covering every campaign that the club took part in.

As you walk into the exhibition, you will find yourself transported to Milan’s San Siro in the autumn of 2001 as Alun Armstrong scores his famous penalty against Internazionale.

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There are mementos ranging from Town’s first appearance in the European Cup against Floriana of Malta in 1962 to the last appearance (so far) in the UEFA Cup in the autumn of 2002 against Slovan Liberac.

But most of the attention will focus on Bobby Robson’s UEFA Cup exploits.

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During the 1970s and 1980s, the UEFA Cup was a much stronger competition than it is today.

In those days, only the national champions qualified for the European Cup, so clubs in second position down qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Had the current rules been in force, Town would have qualified for the Champions’s League seven times between 1973 and 1982 – their only appearances in the UEFA Cup would have been in 1978/9 (as FA Cup winners) and 1979/80!

Terry Baxter, from the football club, said some of the objects on display had an interesting story behind them.

He said: “The men’s vanity case that was given to all the players and officials by Lazio in 1973 turned up at a car boot sale somewhere in Suffolk and was given to us – I don’t know who was the original owner!”

The “Battle of Lazio” when the Town players were subjected to almost brutal tackling – and then had to face the gauntlet of a hostile crowd after putting out the home team – remains one of the most notorious matches in the team’s history.

Another prized exhibit is Johan Cruyff’s shirt which he swapped with Roger Osborne after Town had beaten Barcelona 3-0 at Portman Road in the autumn of 1977.

Six months before his FA Cup heroics, Osborne had won over the hearts of Town fans by marking the Dutch master out of the game.

Sadly he could not repeat that success at the Nou Camp where Barcelona won 3-0 before going through on penalties.

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