Dutch legend Frans Thijssen has just one Ipswich Town regret from host of happy memories

Kevin Beattie, (left), Frans Thijssen (second right) and Arnold Muhren (right), receive framed print

Kevin Beattie, (left), Frans Thijssen (second right) and Arnold Muhren (right), receive framed prints of the Ipswich Town top ten players of all time feature, as chosen by editor Terry Hunt and published in the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star . - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Frans Thijssen’s heart will always be at Ipswich Town and there is genuine regret in his voice when he talks about what could have been at Portman Road.

The Dutchman won the UEFA Cup with the Blues in 1981, Ipswich defeating AZ Alkmaar over two legs, but fell just short of securing a historic double, missing out on the top-flight title to Aston Villa by just four points.

Thijssen played a major role in the two-legged final against his Dutch compatriots, scoring in both legs, but struggled with injuries for periods of the season which, given the paucity of Town’s squad, took it’s toll as the Blues chased both domestic and European honours.

“We won the big prize and came very close to winning the Championship,” said Thijssen.

“That is the only pity. If you think back, we had a very small group of players, a squad of 14, and the injuries at the end of that season, against Aston Villa, cost us the title.

“We played in all the competitions, we always went far in Europe. I had hamstring problems a lot and every time you missed six weeks in a season, you missed more than six games.

“It’s always a sad thing to play football and be injured, but I have some very good memories and it is always great to come back.”

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Thijssen was in town at the weekend to sign copies of a book about himself and fellow Dutch legend, Arnold Muhren, written by long-time Blues fan, Tom van Huisen.

“It’s always very nice to come back and everyone makes us feel so welcome, people are so kind. This sort of thing we do not have in Holland,” he explained.

“I played and worked for a lot of clubs but Ipswich is always a bit special because we have such a good team and experience.”

On the book he added: “People who feel important themselves are good for a book, but I told Tom I didn’t feel important.

“I did not say yes straight away, but Tom has been a fan of Ipswich since we were there and after a while, I agreed to do it.

“The nice thing is that Tom got to speak with a lot of people and ex-players at Ipswich which is a good thing, people like the Beat, Micky Mills and John Wark, who we always enjoy coming back to see.

“Ipswich is a special place.”

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