Recalling that Great May Day in 1978

MAY 6, 1978 was one of the proudest days in Ipswich Town's history. Today, as the 30th anniversary of the Blues FA Cup triumph edges nearer, fans recall their special memories of a Wembley adventure.

MAY 6, 1978 was one of the proudest days in Ipswich Town's history.

Today, as the 30th anniversary of the Blues FA Cup triumph edges nearer, fans recall their special memories of a Wembley adventure. JOSH WARWICK reports.

THOSE lucky enough to have stood on the sun-kissed Wembley terraces as Ipswich Town claimed the world's oldest football trophy will never forget that magical day.

Nor will the tens of thousands who watched Roger Osborne score the only goal of the game to secure victory.

Three decades have passed, four prime ministers have come and gone and a new multi-million pound stadium has replaced the famous twin towers.

But for any blue who witnessed Sir Bobby Robson's team overcome much-fancied Arsenal, that glorious, sunny May day 30 years ago probably seems like yesterday.

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John Sparks

“During the 70s I was co-director of a photographic business in Ipswich and anyone who was anyone with a photographic department would come to us for supplies and repairs, including the police.

I had heard from one of the police photographers that the cup, in its lined fitted wooden box, was being kept in the basement of the Civic Drive police station.

Not wanting to miss a once in a lifetime opportunity, I asked if I could bring my two-year-old son Jamie down, along with a friend of ours who was a lifetime fan of the Super Blues, to have our photo taken with the cup.

So there we were, early one evening being photographed with the FA Cup.

My one other memory of that day, and something we still smile and chuckle about, was when we were in the car park outside the station. We were trying to leave when Jamie decided to play up.

A tall burly policeman heard him kicking up a fuss and so leaned his head in the car, and in a big gruff voice said “Ere! What's all this noise, then?”

My son's mesmerised face was a picture - and we didn't have another peep out of him all the way home!”

Eve Mills, of Blandford Road, Ipswich

“At the time of Ipswich's cup win, I was working at the Bowhill and Elliot shoe shop. We had a lovely man in charge at the shop, called Gordon King, and he offered all the Ipswich players a free pair of shoes for winning the cup.

After the win, they all came in for their shoes and I was so surprised to find out they all had such small feet. Most of them were size eight and none were over nine.

It was a really exciting day and all the staff had their photos taken with the players, who were all lovely.”

Barry Dye

“I was very fortunate to have a lovely young daughter born just ten days before Ipswich won the FA Cup. Hayley was born at Ipswich Hospital on April 26, 1978.

One of Bobby Robson's sons was in Ipswich Hospital that week. I was in the Centre Spot Restaurant with him one lunchtime, so I drove him to the hospital to see his son.

Cindy, my wife, and Hayley came out of hospital on May 5. I had the opportunity of a ticket to the match and Cindy insisted I went to Wembley.

I went up very early in the morning. There was a crowd of us who had tickets and we were meeting at a pub in the West End of London.

We had a great session there and had a great laugh with lots of Arsenal supporters. We all got the tube together to the stadium, there was not a hint of any trouble.

But before walking into the stadium I had my wristwatch eaten by a police horse! The horse was in the crowd and took a bite at my wristwatch which fell in pieces to the ground. It was a waste of time telling the mounted policeman about it - he didn't want to know, and the place was packed - so I just had to grin and bear it.

After the game we all went back on the tube to the same pub - Arsenal supporters as well. They were a great crowd and we all got on really well.

I had just become the proud father of a lovely daughter and my team had won the FA Cup.

I always remember the music blaring out of the juke box - 'Night Fever,' which was top of the hit parade at the time. That song is always special to me when I hear it.

We stayed at the pub until about eight or nine, but before turning in for the night some of us decided that we needed to go out again to continue celebrating, and my mate and I finished up staggering along Oxford Street and then into the Rheingold Club in Mayfair until some unearthly hour in the morning.

Great memories.”

Steve Elliott, 48, of Saxmundham

“I had a triple reason to celebrate Ipswich's FA Cup win.

I turned 18 on the day of the final and my sister, Anne, got engaged on the day, too.

I had followed Town through all the earlier rounds and reaching Wembley was incredible.

I can still remember the day very clearly. We went on a coach from Worlingworth and when we got inside the stadium, it was wonderful to take in the surroundings and the moment.”

Malcom Hannett, of Fletcher Road, Ipswich.

“It never sunk in that we were actually at Wembley. It was difficult to believe that my team was in the cup final - back then, Wembley seemed like another world away.

I remember that I was staying at my brother's house in Woodbridge and on the day of the final, I opened the bedroom window and shouted “Wembley!” as loud as I could.

There were hundreds of coaches on the A12, all kitted out in blue and white - a magnificent sight.

We got a bus to the game and by the time we reached Wembley we were all so drunk on cold beer supplied by American servicemen we knew.

I didn't think we would win it because Arsenal were such a top side. But, as it turned out, all their big players were flops on the day and our team was brilliant.

When we scored with 12 minutes to go, the noise was incredible. They were the longest 12 minutes I have ever known, and at the final whistle we were delirious. They were some of the best scenes I have witnessed.

We got back to the coach and we cracked open a magnum of champagne. I can remember thinking, have we really won the cup?

We had run out of beer, so our coach pulled up at a pub in Hatfield Peveral, where a disco was going on inside. We were straight in there, singing and dancing, but they had to pack it up because we were too noisy.

The day after the cup final, we were drinking and drinking and by the time we got into town we didn't know what day it was.

The Cornhill was crammed and I can't remember much about it really, but it was so exciting. The colour of the flags and the balloons was awesome.

I still have the Wembley ticket stub, my scarf, my rosette, programme and the white coat on which I wrote all the names of the players.

It was the best weekend of my life.”

Oliver Gardiner

“My late granddad, Tom Honeyball, was a superintendent at Suffolk Police and he used to organise operations at Portman Road on a match day.

After Ipswich won the FA Cup, it was my granddad's responsibility to guard it when it went to various functions in the county.

He was a big Ipswich Town fan.

I think this picture was taken at the Civic Drive police station in Ipswich. My gran, Flo, found it behind the fireplace. I think my granddad, who died in 2001, is pictured with a man called Terry Lambert.”