Len's FA cup secret

VIDEO It's one of the most iconic trophies on planet football.The FA Cup's distinctive sweeping curves and its proud history are familiar to millions the world over.

IT'S one of the most iconic trophies on planet football.

The FA Cup's distinctive sweeping curves and its proud history are familiar to millions the world over.

But for one afternoon, the famous silver prize sat pride of place in an Ipswich sitting room, unbeknown to the Football Association and Suffolk police, who had been instructed to guard it.

Around a fortnight after Roger Osborne's goal had won Ipswich Town the cup, The Evening Star organised for two coaches to travel to Wembley to tour the stadium.

The FA agreed to allow the party to take the cup - which was being kept at Ipswich police station - to London, where it was held aloft by the lucky fans in the royal box.

When the group arrived back in Suffolk, the cup was supposed to be returned immediately to police.

Most Read

But Les Fordham, the man charged with the responsibility of looking after the old trophy, had other ideas.

He smuggled the cup into the boot of his car, sped off to Nacton Road where his Town supporting father-in-law lived, and presented it to the startled pensioner.

Les, 67, of Grange Farm, Kesgrave, said: “My father-in-law was a big Ipswich fan but he hadn't been able to go the cup final or the celebrations afterwards.

“When we got back to Ipswich, I was supposed to go straight back to the police station and drop it off, but I put it in my car and took it to Nacton Road.”

Les's son Ian - 11 at the time - was his co-conspirator during the covert operation.

He said: “Dad decided this was the one and only chance to let granddad see the cup.

“When we arrived, he looked curiously at the tatty wooden box the cup was carried in and when dad opened it, his chin hit the floor - his first reaction was to accuse dad of nicking it!”

After a mini photo shoot and the detour complete, Len drove the cup back to the police station as if he had only minutes earlier returned from Wembley.

He said: “I have still have a wry smile when I see all the security which surrounds the cup because there I was driving around Ipswich with it in my boot.”

Do you have an unusual FA Cup story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk