Fuller Flavour: My only regret in my football life... I'm not a couple of years older. FA Cup 1978 memories
PUBLISHED: 09:59 06 May 2018
Karl Fuller remembers the 1978 FA Cup final... Well, his mate Kevin Mitchell does!
As today’s column had to be written before the weekend, I hope you’ll forgive me for replacing any thoughts of the Middlesbrough game with those surrounding the 40th anniversary of our winning the FA Cup.
My weekend started in Ipswich on Saturday afternoon and lasted well into Sunday afternoon where there were many celebrations that took place with some involved on that fantastic day in 1978.
If I have one regret in my football life, it is that I am not a couple of years older.
While my first-ever Town game occurred in August 1978 which I remember well, I have no recollection at all of May 6,1978 due to the fact that my mum took me shopping with my nan to allow my grandad, dad and older brother to enjoy the game without me bothering them – thanks mum!
But many of my Ipswich friends are older than me and a few of them were at Wembley.
Believe me I never get bored of their stories of those halcyon days, especially the following tale from of my greatest mates, Kevin Mitchell from Clacton:
“It was the best day of my life!,” he said.
“Well my wife might argue a case, also my three daughters, but certainly at that point in my life as a 19-year-old it was right up there.
“On the morning I arrived at Barnes Coach Station, Clacton-on-Sea bedecked in blue and white. I boarded the coach, and these were proper coaches! Windows that opened, seats covered in the same material as your gran’s slippers with pull out ash trays at the back that you could actually use for purpose!
“An ill-fitting one would randomly open and empty its contents onto your lap.
“We arrived at Wembley Stadium well before the turnstiles opened and assembled on the steps leading up to them which were bigger than many terraces that I had stood on.
“We were singing in full voice already and a group of ‘Gooners’ looking for a fight arrived onto the scene. This was the 70s and hooliganism was rife but they were soon moved on by police and I remember thinking nothing is going to spoil this day.
“The doors finally opened and the blue and white poured in like sand through an egg timer. My ticket was for a section to the right of the goal but I decided I wanted to be a bit nearer the action and proceeded to climb over the intersecting walls which weren’t too high, until I reached the middle.
“I don’t need to give you a match report, I was directly behind the two Warky efforts that crashed against the woodwork and Pat Jennings’ wonder save from George Burley’s header.
“Then that magic moment that wrote Roger Osborne’s name indelibly into Ipswich folklore.
“Back on the coach, the alcoholic beverages were resumed. I cracked open my celebratory bottle of Pomagne and the cork ricocheted around the interior with no life threatening injuries incurred (where was health and safety?).
“On the journey back it seemed that Town had become everybody’s favourite other team.
“Every footbridge and overpass along the A12 was filled with people and messages.
“Yes little Ipswich Town had defeated the mighty Arsenal and Town fans apparently were not the only ones pleased about it. We were pre-booked for our stop on the way home at The White Hart Pub in Boreham.
“When we arrived, people were standing on chairs, tables, hanging from the light fittings singing and dancing while ‘We Are The Champions’ played repeatedly on the Jukebox.
“I don’t know what the place looked like in the morning but I think they took enough money for a full refurb anyway.
“As I finally crawled into bed that magic moment replayed itself in my head over and over and over again until I fell into a very happy alcohol-induced slumber and woke the next morning with the best hangover I’ve ever had!”