Heartbreak of ‘75 spur Town needed

SUCH was the pain of semi-final defeat in 1975 that Mick Mills could not face watching that year's final. And the Ipswich Town skipper is in no doubt that the manner of their exit that season was the spur for Town's FA Cup success three years later.

Nick Garnham

SUCH was the pain of semi-final defeat in 1975 that Mick Mills could not face watching that year's final.

And the Ipswich Town skipper is in no doubt that the manner of their exit that season was the spur for Town's FA Cup success three years later.

Mills is convinced the fact that nine of that side had been involved in the 1975 FA Cup run that ended in a heartbreaking semi-final replay defeat was a defining factor in lifting the trophy thanks to the 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Wembley.

At the time of the 2-1 defeat to West Ham, when referee Clive Thomas controversially disallowed two Town goals, goalkeeper Paul Cooper was at the club but understudy to Laurie Sivell while David Geddis joined in August that year and Paul Mariner arrived the following season.

Mills said: “1975 hurt a lot of people. When you see what we did in '75 and then what we did in '78 there really is no comparison.

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“When you consider the teams that we beat in '75 and the fact we played nine games in total, we should have won the cup and we never even got to the final!

“That year included four games against Leeds United, who were the best club side I have ever played against, which should give you the trophy on its own, then we had two matches against West Ham.

“In '78 we only played seven games - West Brom and then Arsenal were the only First Division sides we met - and we won it.”

Mills revealed: “I think 1975 was the only cup final I have not watched since 1955 - I went racing at Newmarket instead.

“I haven't got a clue what happened - I stayed well away from it. I was that gutted at not being there I could not watch it. I was still hungover from the semi-final defeat when the final was played.”

That disappointment, coupled with injuries contributing to a wretched season in the league, inspired Mills and the team to what he considered was a long overdue success in 1978.

“We were a very good team from 1972 onwards. Bobby Robson had by then been here for three and a half years and you could sense things were starting to happen, but despite those initial successful years we had not won a major trophy.

“We were in contention for everything we entered, but the only trophy we had to show for it was the Texaco Cup, which was very enjoyable to win because it worked out perfectly for East Anglia and the sponsors with Ipswich and Norwich in the final, but it was not a major trophy.

“We kept coming very close to winning competitions, but '78 was the most disappointing year of the lot come January, as it was the only time in that 10-year period from 1972/73 when we first qualified for Europe right up until the time Bobby Robson left us that we were not near the top end of the table.

“It was unusual, but we could understand it here as we had a lot of injury problems. Trevor Whymark was probably the most unfortunate. No-one even remembers Trevor's contribution to the 1977/78 season because he had the worst luck of the lot.

He was just typical of many

players that year when we had injury, after injury after injury and consequently the results were the most inconsistent in that 10-year run.

“Also possibly we were reaching the stage where that particular group of 11, 12 or 13 players were almost ready for the introduction of another two or three more players.”

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