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On this day in Town’s history: Blue Sky’s the limit for Bobby Robson’s super Town

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 March 2020

David Johnson celebrates after scoring one of the goals in Town's 3-0 victory against Coventry at Portman Road in March 1974

David Johnson celebrates after scoring one of the goals in Town's 3-0 victory against Coventry at Portman Road in March 1974

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In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history, selecting one particular year, this time from 46 years ago when Sir Bobby Robson’s Town beat Coventry 3-0 on March 30, 1974

Striker David Johnson celebrates Town's 3-0 win over Coventry City in March 1974Striker David Johnson celebrates Town's 3-0 win over Coventry City in March 1974

Town were a real force in the early mid-1970s, mixing with the likes of Leeds and Liverpool at the top end of the top flight.

They finished a superb fourth in 1972-73, behind champions Liverpool, and to prove this was no fluke they took fourth spot again the following year.

Certainly Coventry City were no match for them when they visited, on March 30, 1974, Town running out 3-0 winners.

These were great times at Portman Road, with a blossoming manager in Sir Bobby Robson at the helm, and a very impressive squad at his disposal.

Goal! Bryan Hamilton congratulates goalscorer Brian Talbot in the 3-0 win over Coventry in March 1974Goal! Bryan Hamilton congratulates goalscorer Brian Talbot in the 3-0 win over Coventry in March 1974

Keepers Laurie Sivell and Paul Cooper, dependable defenders like Alan Hunter and Mick Mills, plus youngsters George Burley and Kevin Beattie, and fine midfielders such as Colin Viljoen, Bryan Hamilton and Peter Morris.

Front runners in that 1973-74 squad included David Johnson, Kevin Bertschin, Eric Gates and Trevor Whymark, so Town were well-equipped to compete with the best in the land.

In addition to finishing fourth in the league, for the second year on the trot, this time behind Leeds United, who were crowned champions for the second time in their history with Don Revie as manager, Town also had a fruitful run in the UEFA Cup.

While Town were grappling with the likes of Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon and Rochdale in the league during this current season, 46 years ago they were only behind Leeds, Liverpool and Derby in the football league pyramid.

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Furthermore, they also had a run in Europe that included knocking out the mighty Real Madrid out of the first round of the UEFA Cup, winning 1-0 at Portman Road and then drawing 0-0 in the Bernabeu.

Back in the league, on this day 46 years ago, Town were far too strong for Coventry, who were to eventually finish 16th in the league table, just two points clear of the relegation zone.

Target man Johnson and midfielder Talbot were among the goalscorers that day, as Town’s march towards a top-five finish and another season of European football continued apace.

The 1973-74 season was interesting for many reasons, not least Manchester United suffering relegation to the second tier, just six years after lifting the European Cup.

Their fate was sealed by a 1-0 defeat to rivals Manchester City, when Denis Law scored the winner against his old club.

Towards the other end of the table, newly-promoted Burnley finished sixth - some things never change, with the unfashionable Clarets still punching above their weight to this day!

Looking further down the football league pyramid, Crystal Palace were relegated to the Third Division in 1974, while York City (now in the National League North) were promoted to the second tier and Colchester United won promotion from the fourth tier.

Southampton’s Mick Channon finished the top scorer in the First Division with 21 goals to his name.


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