1981 heroes launch Torpedo bid

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks said that the reunion of the 1981 UEFA champions will be "the perfect springboard to our forthcoming battles with Torpedo Moscow.

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks said today that the reunion of the 1981 UEFA champions tomorrow night will be "the perfect springboard to our forthcoming battles with Torpedo Moscow."

The event was due to coincide with the opening of the Galeria restaurant in the new South Stand at Portman Road.

But as this is not yet complete the cup-winning gathering, 20 years on, will be in a marquee on the practice pitch.

Sheepshanks was en route today to a UEFA marketing and television rights committee meeting in Nyon, Switzerland.

"We are very disappointed that the restaurant is not complete as we wanted Bobby Robson, the man who managed the team to the great UEFA Cup triumph, to officially open it with his players," he said.

"But it's not ready and as a result the marquee will be the venue. We are determined that this will not detract from this great occasion as we pay tribute to Bobby Robson and his players for bringing the UEFA Cup to Suffolk two decades ago.

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"It is wonderful that our former England striker Paul Mariner will be flying from America to be at the event and that the wonderful Dutch midfield duo of Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen will be present.

"It is sad that the central defensive pairing of Terry Butcher and Russell Osman will be missing. Terry is in Germany working for radio ahead of the England versus Germany match on Saturday. Russell also has media work that he has to attend to.

"It is disappointing that these two will not be present, but I feel it will be great occasion that is particularly fitting at a time when we are about to embark on new European adventure in the UEFA Cup.

"So much hard work has gone into the reunion and I thank the team, headed by Alesha Gooderham, that also includes Pat Godbold, Mike Noye, Trevor Kirton, Gemma Kebbell and Alex Irving."

Former Town captain Mick Mills – the man who lifted the UEFA Cup in May 1981 following the Blues' aggregate victory over AZ 67 Alkmaar at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam – paid tribute to the club for staging the gala night.

The former England defender and skipper said: "It is tremendous that Town are getting the squad back together again and it will be wonderful to meet up once more with so many players who were such a big part of one of the most memorable periods of my career.

"I've been looking forward to it for a long time and I know so many of my old team-mates have too."

Current Blues boss George Burley was a member of the cup-winning squad, although he missed the later stages due to a bad knee injury.

He said: "It will be wonderful to see so many faces from the past. It will be a great night of so much memory and nostalgia. I'm really looking forward to it."

Members of staff at the club during the 1980-81 season will also be present at the reunion as will press men who covered the cup-winning crusade.