Terry Butcher among Ipswich Town cycling fundraisers to relive 1981 Uefa Cup glory at Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam
PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 June 2016
Treasured memories of Ipswich Town's famous march to Uefa Cup glory in 1981 will be relieved this weekend at the Dutch stadium where the Blues conquered Europe.
Former Town captain Terry Butcher, who played in the 5-4 aggregate victory over AZ Alkmaar in the final, will tomorrow visit the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam where the Blues lifted the trophy.
He is one of 40 fundraisers taking part in the club’s annual charity bike ride to Amsterdam, which this year marks the 35th anniversary of Town’s Uefa Cup triumph.
Former Town players Alan Lee, Titus Bramble and Simon Milton are also taking on the 250-mile four-day challenge, which started at Portman Road yesterday morning.
After visiting the stadium, the fundraisers will head to Alkmaar’s training ground for a friendly match against fans from the Dutch club.
Dutch players Frans Thijssen and Arnold Muhren, who also played for Town in the two-legged final, have been invited to take part in the friendly match.
Terry said: “We are going back to the Olympic Stadium where we beat AZ Alkmaar 35 years ago. That will bring back some special memories.
“I had never seen a team play 2-4-4 before. They really came at us and gave us a lot of problems and caught us by surprise.
“We held on to win 5-4 on aggregate and I’m sure memories of the game will come back when we reach the stadium. It will be fantastic to go back there and hopefully Frans Thijssen and Arnold Muhren will join us.”
He added: “I signed up again this year but didn’t read the small print and Milts has put the ride up from 160 miles to 250 but I’m sure it will be a good four days again – and I’ve got a better bike this time!”
The group, dubbed TEAMITFC for the fundraising tour, is raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK and the Friends of Ipswich Town charities.
Simon Milton said: “We have invited Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen to join us to help celebrate the win and meet with Alkmaar supporters and staff on Sunday.
“It is Titus’ first cycling event but he will be playing at centre-half in the game as his young legs will be needed following the 160 miles we would have covered before the game!”
The fundraisers are due to return to Portman Road at noon on Monday.
How Town won the 1981 Uefa Cup
In a thrilling 1980/81 Uefa Cup campaign, Bobby Robson’s small squad overcame injuries, long flights and an underdog status to memorably be crowned champions.
Mick Mills was club captain as Town defeated Greek side Aris Saloniki, Czech club Bohemians, Polish team Widzew Łódź, French side Saint-Étienne and German club FC Köln to reach the final in the knockout tournament.
In the first leg of the final, John Wark (penalty), Frans Thijssen and Paul Mariner scored in front of 27,532 spectators at Portman Road in the 3-0 win over AZ Alkmaar on May 6, 1981.
In the return leg 14 days later, Thijssen struck in the fourth minute to extend Town’s lead at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. The Dutch side scored four goals, but thanks to a Wark goal in the middle of those four strikes, Town won 5-4 on aggregate.
The Blues enjoyed an open-top bus parade in the town centre as part of the celebrations.
The Ipswich to Amsterdam charity bike ride 2016
Day One – 90 miles: Cycle from Ipswich Town FC to Harwich for the overnight ferry.
Day Two – 60 miles: Cycle from the Hook of Holland to the Amsterdam Arena.
Day Three – 75 miles: Cycle to the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, then on to AZ Alkmaar for the football match, then back to the Hook of Holland to catch the ferry back to Harwich.
Day Four – 25 miles: Cycle from Harwich to Ipswich Town FC.