Town's FA Cup anniversary celebration

SIR Bobby Robson is to be the guest of honour for the 30th anniversary celebration of Ipswich Town's FA Cup final victory.In what is sure to be a welcome to overwhelm the emotions, the football legend is certain to be given a return fit for a conquering hero.

SIR Bobby Robson is to be the guest of honour for the 30th anniversary celebration of Ipswich Town's FA Cup final victory.

In what is sure to be a welcome to overwhelm the emotions, the football legend is certain to be given a return fit for a conquering hero.

There is unlikely to be a dry eye in town when the revered father-figure of the English game is back at the helm of his famous 1978 team.

The waistlines will be thicker, the hair greyer, but there will be no mistaking the team whose jubilant faces on that Wembley day will be forever captured in a snapshot of time.

The warmth of the rapturous reception that will be bestowed on Sir Bobby in particular, is likely to dwarf the one given to him when he stepped up to receive his lifetime achievement award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Although dogged by ill health, his passion, courage, and dignity remain as undimmed as the sparkle in his eyes.

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Three decades after Ipswich's Wembley triumph, Suffolk will once again have the chance to show what Sir Bobby and his team's legacy means to the hundreds of thousands of people who live here.

The former Blues and England manager will be joined by the entire cup squad, including stars Kevin Beattie, John Wark and goalscorer Roger Osborne, to mark the occasion on May 5.

It is likely the anniversary celebration, Thirty Years of Honour, will be the last time the heroes of 1978 are all together.

Thousands are expected to line the streets as an open top bus parades the players through Ipswich along the same route they took three decades ago.

They will then enjoy a gala dinner with a host of Suffolk dignitaries at the Town Hall before reliving the glorious 1-0 triumph over Arsenal, with highlights being played on a big screen.

It is hoped that the FA Cup will even be on display, allowing former players the chance to hold aloft the beautifully crafted trophy at the Cornhill once again.

Town legend John Wark said May 6, 1978 will forever be etched into his memory - and was looking forward to the anniversary.

“It was the first and the best honour of my career,” he said.

“To be 21 and playing at Wembley was an amazing experience.

“I remember coming back on the Sunday and all along the A12 fans were on the bridges. When we got to the Town Hall and saw all the people it was scary.

“It's something I will never forget.”

The Evening Star has been joined by BBC Radio Suffolk in staging Thirty Years of Honour, with the full support of Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Town Football Club.

Radio Suffolk sports presenter Mark Matthews said: “It's vital to mark the anniversary.

“The event will be a totally free opportunity for the fans to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the cup final and see the players again.”

Star editor Nigel Pickover added: “The anniversary is certain to be a poignant and memorable occasion, celebrating a truly wonderful achievement in Ipswich Town's proud history.”

Tell us your memories of Town's cup triumph. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

One day in May - Town's cup glory:

Arsenal were hot favourites to beat an Ipswich side which had narrowly avoided relegation.

Goal scorer Roger Osborne was so overcome with emotion having netted Town's 78th minute winner that he had to be substituted.

Ipswich's appearance in the 1978 final was the club's first at Wembley.

Paul Mariner and then John Wark (twice) hit the woodwork before Osborne's strike sealed victory.

Around 100,000 people filled Wembley Stadium for the match.