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Triumphant memories live on

PUBLISHED: 02:32 21 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 March 2010

"MARINER sinks Nelson" – and Ipswich Town sank Arsenal.

The banner made famous by Evening Star pictures of massed ranks of Town fans is now gathering dust in an Ipswich loft.

"MARINER sinks Nelson" – and Ipswich Town sank Arsenal.

The banner made famous by Evening Star pictures of massed ranks of Town fans is now gathering dust in an Ipswich loft.

But it is still in mint condition and the owners are waiting for an Ipswich Town museum to donate it to.

Lifelong Town fan Jill Betts, of Belstead Road, Ipswich, was one of a family group that carried the home-made banner on the Suffolk exodus to Wembley on May 6, 1978.

She said: "It's still in good condition. It's all rolled up in the loft with some tape round it.

"It's still got the sticks attached as well."

The banner was produced courtesy of husband Brian's artwork and is clearly visible among the sea of blue and white in the Wembley stands.

And although striker Paul Mariner was not the man to score Ipswich's solitary goal, it didn't stop the Suffolk men toppling their mighty rivals.

Mrs Betts, 68, has been an Ipswich fanatic since she was seven years old. And she remembers that Wembley day as one of the best.

She said: "It was a great occasion. I went up to Wembley with my husband and my two girls and my sister and her two boys.

"We queued all night outside Portman Road to get those tickets, taking it in turns to get into the car and warm up.

"I was at the Uefa Cup final as well, on the ferry from Harwich with all the Ipswich Town fans. That was great fun.

"But to my mind, the best was the play-off final at Wembley. I'm not sure why, I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was something extra special about that day."

Town fans and ex-players have just finished celebrations marking a quarter of a century since their momentous day.

And the banner is now celebrating only its second day out in 25 years – the last was five years ago for the 20-year anniversary.

Mrs Betts said: "I think they were planning to build an Ipswich Town museum, but it's never happened.

"We're waiting for one to open so we can give the banner to them."

N Have you a special memory of Ipswich's Wembley triumph? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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