UEFA 30: Long flights and early starts for Boys of ‘81

FOR the stars of that legendary 1981 UEFA Cup victory, the 30th anniversary party was an occasion to treasure and one not to miss.

Thirteen of the players and former coach Bobby Ferguson were reunited last night as the town paid tribute to the Super Blues of the past.

Paul Mariner had flown from his home in Toronto, Canada, to take his place in the glittering event.

The former England international striker said: “Any excuse to get back with the lads and I will be here. The club holds such a special affection for me – I still look out for their results now.

“Thirty years has gone so quickly, but it is great to see all the lads again and the togetherness is still here. The one sad thing is that Sir Bobby Robson is not still with us. He would have been in his element here – he would have loved this celebration.”

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The event was one not to miss also for Alan Brazil, despite having to get up early this morning to present his Talk Sport breakfast show.

Brazil said: “It was an absolutely magical time and it is great seeing all the lads again.”

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Dave Allard, one of The Evening Star journalists who followed Town during that magical season, said: “It is wonderful that we are celebrating such a special achievement. They were a great bunch of lads then and they are still a great bunch.”

In front of a packed Ipswich Corn Exchange, 1981 captain Mick Mills marched the UEFA Cup trophy through the grand hall before joking on stage that it was the “worst designed trophy of all time”.

Eric Gates, the attacking midfielder who played an integral part in the 1980/81 season, said: “I have always felt very privileged to be part of such a great side and it is wonderful that our achievements continue to be recognised in this way. Everyone talks about our UEFA Cup win 30 years ago and I am sure they will for many years to come.”

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