Osborne blasts Town flops

FA Cup hero Roger Osborne today hit out at the current Ipswich Town team.The man who scored the only goal in the 1978 final at Wembley Stadium says that Joe Royle's squad cannot be proud of their achievements this season.

By Elvin King

FA Cup hero Roger Osborne today hit out at the current Ipswich Town team.

The man who scored the only goal in the 1978 final at Wembley Stadium says that Joe Royle's squad cannot be proud of their achievements this season.

Twenty-five years ago Osborne was preparing for a home second round tie against Hartlepool as Ipswich cemented a glorious cup run that led to glory with a single goal victory over Arsenal at Wembley.

Now manager of Rushmere Sports Club, just a stone's throw away from where Royle will be preparing his squad for this Saturday's fourth round match at Sheffield United, Osborne said: "Players under-performed under George Burley's management. They cannot be proud of that.

"They are now proving that the talent is there, so why were they not showing it in the first four months of the season?

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"If Ipswich had drifted down to fourth from bottom in the old Second Division in my day we would have been slaughtered by both press and public.

"The current squad has had it too easy. It does not add up."

Osborne continued: "Players must shoulder much of the blame for the dreadful start to this season.

"Joe Royle will get the credit for the recent transformation and there is still time to get something out of the campaign."

Ipswich have gone nine games unbeaten and moved to within two points of the First Division play-off zone as well as beating non-league Morecambe in the first round of the FA Cup.

"Sheffield United will provide a stern test and they look to have a talented, youthful midfield," added Osborne, who does not get the time to visit Portman Road these days often watching sons Robert and Carl play for Westerfield United in the Metaltec SIL.

"Ipswich are unlikely to win the cup, but it would be nice to have a run. It is all about what happens on the day and you need good fortune.

"We were dead and buried in the ice and snow at Bristol Rovers in the fifth round before scoring a late goal to earn a replay at 2-2.

"The cup has a special magic for me and a host of wonderful

memories, but it did not change me.

"Career-wise I played just a few more matches for Ipswich before being transferred to the lower

divisions with Colchester United."

"The play-offs are the best thing that has happened to football," Osborne said. "In my day if you were 11th at this time of the year your season was dead.

"Now Ipswich still have a chance of promotion and a chance for their players to make amends."

Is Ipswich Town legend Roger Osborne right in slamming the current squad?

Should they have performed better under George Burley in the first part of this season? Or does Joe Royle deserve all the credit for the current unbeaten nine-match run?

Email starsport@eveningstar.co.uk with your views

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