Sir Bobby close to tears as he gets his own FA Cup

VIDEO A proud Sir Bobby Robson fought back the tears as he was presented with his own FA Cup in emotional scenes at the 30th anniversary celebrations of Town's Wembley win.

A PROUD Sir Bobby Robson fought back the tears as he was presented with his own FA Cup in emotional scenes at the 30th anniversary celebrations of Town's Wembley win.

The Football Association made a special allowance for a replica of the famous trophy to be cast and specially engraved for the legendary Geordie.

Sir Bobby was visibly moved as the fine silver cup was handed to him at the Corn Exchange last night by Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, who was acting as a representative of the FA.

Sir Bobby, who was clearly moved, said: “I'm overwhelmed. What a wonderful gift and what a wonderful thought.

“It's a unique gift that no other manager will ever get.”

At this point, a voice shouted form the audience: “That's because you're the best manager in the world!”

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Sir Bobby continued: “There's only one club in the world who would think of something like this, who would have the generosity and heartfelt feeling and that's the club we played for.

“If my dad were alive, he would have been so proud. I will treasure this cup until the day I die.”

The emotional presentation was the highlight in a night of nostalgia, which also included interviews with all of the players.

Former skipper Mick Mills was the first to address diners, speaking at length about his passion for Ipswich Town and his pride in leading the Blues to cup glory.

“I loved being the captain of these boys,” he said, pointing to the team of '78. “They were my colleagues and they were my friends.”

Earlier in the day, the Galleria restaurant in Portman Road's Greene King stand was officially renamed the Sir Bobby Robson Suite.

The 75-year-old joked: “I'm sorry to Mr Galleria, but now I'm number one!”

Sir Bobby, who looked in fine health despite yet again battling cancer, recalled, with great affection, his wonderful team of the 70s and early 80s.

“We had top players,” he said. “In the run-up to winning the cup, we bought three people - Paul Mariner, who cost too much, Allan Hunter, who drank too much, and Paul Cooper.

“When we bought Mariner, the chairman came to me to ask if we had bought a sailor. He asked if he was in the navy!

“But I actually think we were lucky to be in the cup final…because after we won the semi-final, how we got home that night, I will never know. We were hysterical, we just couldn't believe it.

“The journey home was a miracle - not one player sat on their seat, we jumped up and down all the way home down the A12 - even the chairman.

“We had to stop at Chelmsford to refuel - and I don't mean petrol!”

As he spoke to an enchanted audience, Sir Bobby paid tribute to his team: “I owe the players a great deal. They put me at the front of English football.”

Would you like to pay tribute to the great Sir Bobby Robson? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

ONE of the most famous voices in football was in Ipswich to mark the 30th anniversary of The Blues' FA Cup victory.

BBC commentator John Motson, or Motty as he is affectionately known, was at the civic reception as thousands of fans hailed their Wembley heroes.

He was invited to the Thirty Years of Honour reunion, staged by The Evening Star and BBC Radio Suffolk, by Town chairman, David Sheepshanks.

Motson said: “It's been a fantastic day. The turnout has been staggering. I knew it would be big but I didn't think it would be on the scale we have seen.

“I was on the bus going through the town and it was phenomenal. It is a great tribute to the supporters that they have turned out in such numbers.”

Although Motson, who admitted to having a secret fondness for the Blues, did not commentate on Town's 1-0 victory over Arsenal, he was involved in the pre-match build up.

“On the morning of the cup final I did the interviews at the Ipswich hotel,” he said. “It wasn't until the following year that I actually started commentating on the final.

“My job on the day was to find out about Allan Hunter and Kevin Beattie's fitness tests.

“I can remember the game very clearly. Ipswich were well on top and I remember thinking if this goes on for much longer, it's not going to be their day. Then suddenly Roger scored and they never looked back.”

Motson also recalled how he was the commentator during Ipswich's 1981 UEFA Cup final victory.

“That was certainly a memorable night - of what I can remember of it, anyway.

“Today is about Sir Bobby Robson, and quite rightly so. You have to remember that Sir Bobby went on to take England to a World Cup semi-final and he achieved great things in Europe - that all started and developed at Ipswich.”

Ipswich mayor Inga Lockington was also among the VIP contingent.

She said: “It's wonderful to see so many people supporting the club.”

ROGER Osborne, the man whose late goal clinched victory in 1978, was one of the star attractions at the Thirty Years of Honour party.

The former Blues midfielder said: “There isn't a day that doesn't go past without someone reminding me of the goal.

“To see all the old players has been tremendous. One of the best things about the club was the team spirit - the players are all friends.

“To score the winning goal makes it even more special. It was a fantastic feeling.”

Sir Bobby Robson said he was delighted Osborne was the man to net the winner.

“If you asked all the players who they would have chosen to get the goal, each and everyone of them would have said Roger.

“He was a local lad and he deserved to score in the cup final.”

Former Blues manager George Burley said: “I've got some great memories. It was a very special occasion. For a small town like us to go to Wembley and win was amazing.

“It's obviously something that people haven't forgotten. It's still very clear in my mind - it doesn't seem like 30 years ago.

“I'm lucky enough to still be involved in football and I've obviously been back to Ipswich since. It's a terrific occasion.”

John Wark, who hit the post twice in the final, said: “The turnout has been exceptional - I'm really overwhelmed.

“What gets me is that there are so many children here - I expected them to be in their 40s and 50s but there's so many youngsters it's fantastic.

“I still remember everything about the game. I can't believe I didn't score - I struck the ball too well. We should have won by four or five really - it was a 1-0 massacre.”

Legendary striker Paul Mariner added: “To think that people still remember is incredibly touching. It was a massive day in the club's history and a massive day in the players' lives.”

Captain Mick Mills, who proudly lifted the famous trophy after climbing Wembley's 39 steps, said: “That is probably my proudest moment. As a kid growing up you dream if you will ever be able to do it and I was lucky enough to have that chance. It was a very special day for the people of Ipswich.”

LEGENDARY Sir Bobby Robson predicted Ipswich would enjoy a speedy return to the Premier League.

He said the club was a top flight side in all but name - and said despite the disappointment of narrowly missing out on promotion this year, success was only around the corner.

Sir Bobby, who also led Ipswich to glory in the 1981 UEFA Cup, said: “With the investment of the Marcus Evans Group they have a bright future and if they buy the right players they can get back to the Premiership which is where they belong and deserve to be.

“The club has a magnificent stadium with magnificent supporters.

“There was a full house in the match against Hull and if the club is in the Premier League you can bet they'll be a sell-out every Saturday.”