The most wonderful feeling

AS the only man to captain Ipswich Town in an FA Cup final, Mick Mills is able to give a personal insight into the experience.“We had someone from the FA come and visit us at our hotel beforehand and explain certain things that you have to do.

Nick Garnham

AS the only man to captain Ipswich Town in an FA Cup final, Mick Mills is able to give a personal insight into the experience.

“We had someone from the FA come and visit us at our hotel beforehand and explain certain things that you have to do. For example, how many balls you are allowed to take out on the pitch.

“The final is a big occasion. It is on television and is all very regimental, like the band that plays on the pitch has to be off by a certain time.


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“I remember the FA official saying that at the final whistle if we were the winning team then after about two or three minutes he would personally be coming to get the captain and take me across to the Royal Box and the rest of the team would follow.

“When the final whistle blew my first thought was to share the moment with as many of the players as I could - I remember Clive Woods and Brian Talbot were the closest to me on the pitch.

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“It was in the back of my mind all the time that I was going to be collecting the cup. It was the most wonderful feeling ever in football. It is one of those things that you dream about. I saw Bobby Robson and shook his hand and then I saw the FA official coming towards me and remember thinking this is it - I am going to lift the cup.

“We started going up the 39 steps to the Royal Box but after about eight or nine steps I disappeared under a forest of arms and bodies and could not see anything because of all the well-wishers leaning over patting me on the back until all of a sudden I got to a point where the fans couldn't reach me any more.”

Mills, who won 42 full England caps and captained his country at the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain, then stopped, drew breath and looked around him as he prepared to receive the trophy from Princess Alexandra in front of 100,000 fans inside the stadium and a worldwide television audience of millions.

“It is at that point that it hit me. I could see the royalty, our chairman Patrick Cobbold and the trophy as well as the fans all around the stadium. It was definitely the best moment of my career.”

Mills said lifting the FA Cup at Wembley overshadowed holding the UEFA Cup aloft in Amsterdam, even though one was a domestic trophy and the other came after conquering Europe.

“The UEFA Cup was not decided on the day like the FA Cup. We won 3-0 here in the first leg and felt we were going to win the cup, but had to wait until after the second leg to get the trophy.”

Ipswich actually lost the second leg 4-2 to win 5-4 on aggregate and Mills added: “The cup was presented in a half-empty stadium and there were a lot of disappointments about that night but none with the FA Cup, which was followed by a great night.

“All my closest friends came to the hotel that night and it was superb, but I remember I didn't want to ruin the following day as I knew what it was going to be like coming back to Ipswich.

“All the way up the A12 was just amazing. It was a great weekend - you just can't beat it.”

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