Ipswich: Town legends take a trip down UEFA memory lane

Ipswich: It was a moment no Ipswich Town fan will ever forget – when the Super Blues scooped the UEFA Cup back in 1981 and carved out their place in the history books.

And to help kick off the 30th anniversary celebrations, two legends returned to the home of their former glories.

Dutch superstars Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen – who both helped the team to victory in May 1981 – made a special trip to Ipswich to reminisce about their time at the club.

Muhren, who arrived in Ipswich from Dutch club FC Twente in 1978, said: “It’s always nice to be back again – it brings back some excellent memories, especially of the UEFA win, which was a great success not only for us, but for the fans.

“People in Ipswich still remember it well and because it’s the biggest prize Ipswich won, they never forget the players in the team at the time.

“Everybody was talking about Ipswich Town. When you can produce the kind of football that we all did from a town this size, that surprised a few people and got other teams and managers talking.

“And we loved it here. Bobby Robson was a sort of father figure for us. He gave us the feeling that we were at home and that helped us – and the fans were great to us.”

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Muhren has been coaching Ajax youth in Amsterdam for the past ten years, but has had to take a hands-off role over the past four months following a hip operation.

Fellow Dutchman Thijssen – who will be at the official celebration on May 30 – also took time away from his job coaching youngsters at FC Twente in the Netherlands to return to his former home and share his memories.

“We had a great time with everybody in the club and especially Bobby Robson,” he said. “It was a very friendly club.

“For me, the best bits of my career were winning the UEFA Cup and being named Player of the Year in 1981. It’s always nice to come back to a place where you have had a great time and a lot of success.”

Thijssen, now 59, will be joined at the UEFA 30 celebrations by other Town greats including Mick Mills, Eric Gates, Paul Cooper, John Wark, Kevin Beattie and George Burley.

The famous trophy will also be brought back to the town for the special occasion, which is raising money for the Ipswich Town Charitable Trust.

The pair were at Kesgrave Hall yesterday to start the month of celebrations for the club.

Muhren added: “When I come back to a place like this, I always think about the wonderful days we had – the fans, the club, the players, Bobby Robson – because we were so so happy in England.

“And playing for Ipswich Town – you never forget that.”

n What do you remember about the UEFA Cup victory in 1981? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.