Cup hero's goal has never really sunk in

ROGER Osborne has confessed that scoring Ipswich Town's winning goal in the 1978 FA Cup final has never really sunk in.Osborne struck the only goal of the game in the 77th minute as Ipswich defeated favourites Arsenal to lift the trophy for the first - and still the only - time in their history on May 6, 1978.

Nick Garnham

ROGER Osborne has confessed that scoring Ipswich Town's winning goal in the 1978 FA Cup final has never really sunk in.

Osborne struck the only goal of the game in the 77th minute as Ipswich defeated favourites Arsenal to lift the trophy for the first - and still the only - time in their history on May 6, 1978.

Otley-born Osborne used to give his young brother, who was attending weekly training sessions, a lift to Portman Road. Rather than just spectate Osborne, who at the time was playing for Westerfield United, was asked to join in and impressed so much that he was soon turning out for the reserves.


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Asked when did it sink in that he had scored the winner in an FA Cup final at Wembley, Osborne replied: "I don't know whether it ever has really. I didn't sign as a professional with Ipswich until I was 21, when I joined the club I just wanted to get in the first team, and because I was not one of the better players at the club I always had to play to my maximum to get in the team.

"I could never, ever have imagined when I was 18 that I could do that.

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"I still find it all a little unbelievable myself that I scored the winning goal in the cup final."

Osborne said that scoring the winning goal had not changed his life over the past three decades.

"Nobody looks at me in a different way to when I was 20 and still playing for Westerfield,” he said.

"Suffolk people are quite shy in-as-much as a lot of people think 'shall I go and ask him?' and don't end up asking. If I lived in a different part of the country I think I would have been badgered a lot more."

One incident sticks in his memory more than any other as a result of his match-winning heroics.

"In the summer after the cup final my wife was in a shoe shop in Ipswich and I was looking in the window and this little lady was tugging at my sleeve. She said 'excuse me. Are you Roger Osborne?' and I said ' yes' and she said 'you made my husband the happiest man the world. He had been a season-ticket holder for many years and he died recently, but he died a happy man.'

"Her daughter told her to leave me alone but I thought 'no, don't' because it touched me to think there are people who support a football club for that long and it was probably one of the happiest days of his life."

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