Wark: Our days of Euro glory are over

TOWN legend John Wark today looked back on a weekend of celebrations to mark 25 years since Ipswich won the UEFA Cup and said: “Those days will never return to Portman Road.

By Elvin King

TOWN legend John Wark today looked back on a weekend of celebrations to mark 25 years since Ipswich won the UEFA Cup and said: “Those days will never return to Portman Road.”

And Wark, who was presented with some of his 1981 team-mates to spectators at half-time during Saturday's game against Brighton, said that the Blues will never qualify for European competition again.

“With so much money in the top flight nowadays, they are too far down the road,” said Wark, who top-scored in Town's magnificent UEFA Cup-winning run that saw them beat AZ Alkmaar at Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium to win the trophy.

“Ipswich's passing was poor on Saturday and they looked slow. There were holes in the defence.

“They have some good young talent at the club, but need a couple of new faces to freshen things up for next season.”

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Wark would naturally love to see the Blues regain their top flight place having been captain when John Lyall led Town into the first season of the Premiership in 1992.

But he cannot see the glory European days returning to Portman Road.

Wark, who is still playing Sunday League football at the age of 48, said: “If Ipswich had won the treble in 1981 it would have been the best-ever footballing achievement.

“And we were only denied because our squad contained just 15 players. We were unable to cover as the games came thick and fast at the end of the season.

“I can never see those days returning again to Ipswich.”

Ipswich finished runners-up in Division One (now the Premier League) to Aston Villa in 1981 and were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City after extra time in the FA Cup semi-final.

Sir Bobby Robson, who led Town to so much success in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was missing from the annual players' reunion at the weekend after undergoing surgery to his ribs following a skiing accident.