Cup final ups and downs recalled

FOR many Ipswich Town fans, May 6, 1978 was the greatest day of their lives. But for Blues die-hard Brian Edwards-Ford, Town's magnificent 1-0 victory over Arsenal preceded one of the most frightening episodes in his life.

FOR many Ipswich Town fans, May 6, 1978 was the greatest day of their lives.

But for Blues die-hard Brian Edwards-Ford, Town's magnificent 1-0 victory over Arsenal preceded one of the most frightening episodes in his life.

After watching Roger Osborne net the Wembley winner, the 77-year-old's health took a turn for the worse and, upon arriving back in Ipswich, he suffered a heart attack.

Mr Edwards-Ford spent weeks in hospital recovering, missing the huge party celebrations that followed Town's win as he battled back to full fitness.

Today, as the final preparations for the Bank Holiday Monday 30th anniversary reunion continue, The Evening Star has stepped in to make sure Mr Edwards-Ford doesn't miss out on the party three decades on.

The pensioner and his wife Pearl, of Pretyman Avenue, Bacton, have been supplied with highly sought-after tickets to the Thirty Years of Honour event, which will see Sir Bobby Robson and his cup-winning squad back in Suffolk for one last time.

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A delighted Mr Edwards-Ford said he was thrilled at the prospect of taking his place at the historic celebration.

And he recalled the 1978 final, which turned from a dream day into a nightmare.

“My car had been decorated in blue and white, but I began to feel unwell a day or two before the cup final so me and my son John, who was 12 at the time, travelled to London on a supporters' bus,” he said.

“After the game, I began to feel ill so I called my wife and by the time I got home the doctor was there waiting for me.

“I was rushed to hospital by ambulance and I didn't remember much for a couple of days after. And because I was in hospital, I missed all the Town celebrations.”

Thirty Years of Honour, staged by The Evening Star, BBC Radio Suffolk and Ipswich Borough Council, will take place throughout Monday.

The players will enjoy an open-top bus ride through Ipswich at 5pm, before tucking into a gala dinner at the Town Hall in honour of their Wembley triumph.

Thousands of fans are expected to converge on the Cornhill to watch highlights from the game on a giant screen.

Supporters can buy tickets to the after dinner celebrations, priced at £40, by calling the Corn Exchange box office on 01473 433100.

Tell us your FA Cup memories. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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