They were the boys in blue who put Ipswich Town on Europe’s football map.

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Where are they now?

Paul Cooper – Paul and his wife now operate a golfing holiday company in Tenerife.

Mick Mills (c) – Technical director of Galaxy Sports Management, a sports management company.

Russell Osman – Coaches youngsters in Town’s Under 18s squad.

Terry Butcher – Manager at Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Premier League.

Steve McCall – Chief scout at Portman Road, enjoying life back at the club where his career started almost 30 years ago.

Frans Thijssen – Reserve manager at Dutch team FC Twente after spending time in the Middle East.

John Wark – Following his retirement from playing football professionally, Wark continued to live in Suffolk. He works in the corporate hospitality department at Ipswich Town.

Arnold Mühren – youth coach at Dutch giants Ajax.

Paul Mariner – Director of player
development for Toronto FC.

Alan Brazil – In 2001 Brazil joined radio station talkSPORT as a co-presenter on the weekday 6am to 10am programme.

Eric Gates – Worked, until recently, for Century FM on The Three Legends show.

And now, 30 years on from the club’s glorious UEFA Cup triumph, plans are afoot to bring the heroes back to Suffolk for what could be the final time.

It was on May 20, 1981 that Sir Bobby Robson’s team overcame Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar in Amsterdam to claim one of the world’s most famous trophies.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the stunning victory, The Evening Star, Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Town have teamed up to stage a gala dinner evening – UEFA 30.

The heroes of ’81 will, on May 30, descend on the town for an emotional reunion.

And the Star is offering Blues fans the opportunity to enjoy the special anniversary festivities alongside their cup idols.

Supporters and local businesses can register their interest in buying a table at the gala dinner at the town hall, which will be followed by a chance to relive the magical day when match highlights are screened and many of the players interviewed on stage.

The evening, which is already on its way to a sell-out, will have many surprises too.

All who attend will receive a memento of the evening in the form of a reprinted UEFA cup final programme – and, of course, a chance to be up close to the boys of ’81.

Former Town star John Wark said he was looking forward to the reunion.

“I’m excited without a shadow of a doubt,” he said.

“It is a massive part of my life and it will be great for the town and the fans to see us all back together.

“It will be amazing to get the team back in the town – it is just sad that Bobby Robson won’t be there but he will be watching over us all.

“It was a massive achievement for us all and it’s something that I’m sure stood out as an amazing time for all of the players.”

The evening is being organised by long-time Town fan, and marketing and events man Austen Dack.

Austen said: “I am steering the committee to provide a massive night for the players of ’81 and the fans too.

“The event will be a glittering tribute to them and fun for all involved.”

Austen helped mastermind the event organised three years ago for the FA Cup winning team – an evening which could have sold out three times over

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “Three years ago we honoured Sir Bobby Robson’s FA Cup stars and now we have the opportunity to recognise the men who established Ipswich Town as a household name in European football.

“May 30 will be a very special occasion.”

Talks are on going to bring the famous UEFA Cup back to Suffolk as part of a wider celebration being planned by the football club.

Ipswich Town chief executive Simon Clegg is planning a special event which is still in the very early stages of organising.

He said: “The club has some very exciting plans on the cards alongside The Evening Star’s event on the Cornhill.”

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