Ipswich Town’s greatest games: Blues lift the UEFA Cup in 1981

Mick Mills and Frans Thijssen celebrate winning the UEFA Cup with Ipswich Town in 1981

Mick Mills and Frans Thijssen celebrate winning the UEFA Cup with Ipswich Town in 1981 - Credit: Archant

In our latest weekly look back at Ipswich Town’s greatest-ever games, we take you back to 1981 and a famous UEFA Cup victory!

UEFA Cup Final 1981.

Bobby Robson looks on during the UEFA Cup final against AZ Alkemaar '67

Bobby Robson looks on during the UEFA Cup final against AZ Alkemaar '67 - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town 5 AZ Alkmaar 4 (on aggregate).

Mick Mills and Bobby Robson raising the UEFA Cup on the Cornhill in 1981. Fans are on every vantage

Mick Mills and Bobby Robson raising the UEFA Cup on the Cornhill in 1981. Fans are on every vantage point in the background. Picture: TONY RAY/ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Steve McCall celebrating after the game against AZ Alkmaar '67

Steve McCall celebrating after the game against AZ Alkmaar '67

After an epic 1980-81 campaign, the UEFA Cup was Ipswich Town’s last chance to win a trophy.

Mick Mills leads out the Ipswich Town team before the second leg of the UEFA Cup final in Amsterdam

Mick Mills leads out the Ipswich Town team before the second leg of the UEFA Cup final in Amsterdam - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town captain Mick Mills (right) looks on as team mate Steve McCall tackles an AZ67 Alkmaar o

Ipswich Town captain Mick Mills (right) looks on as team mate Steve McCall tackles an AZ67 Alkmaar opponent in the 1981 UEFA Cup final - Credit: Archant

In the first leg at Portman Road, Town looked to have settled matters. John Wark, inevitably, put the home side ahead from the penalty spot after half an hour, and a rare Frans Thijssen header doubled the lead just after half-time.

The match officials look relaxed, but Mick Mills has an apprehensive frown as he leads Ipswich out f

The match officials look relaxed, but Mick Mills has an apprehensive frown as he leads Ipswich out for the second leg of the UEFA Cup Final in Amsterdam. - Credit: Archant


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A third goal, a deft touch from Paul Mariner, seemed to have put things beyond doubt. Town couldn’t lose it now, surely?

The second leg in Alkmaar turned into a goalfest. Thijssen scored again after only four minutes, but the Dutch side quickly levelled on the night and then scored again after 25 minutes. The prolific Wark netted again, but before half-time AZ had a third goal.

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When the Dutch team scored again with 17 minutes left, it was backs to the wall time for the Town team, but they held out to grab the piece of silverware which their fantastic campaign had deserved.

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