Musical magic as Our Blue Heaven brings back FA Cup memories

John Walk and Roger Osbourne with Our Blue Heaven writer and director Peter Rowe and musical supervi

John Walk and Roger Osbourne with Our Blue Heaven writer and director Peter Rowe and musical supervisor Ben Goddard (second from left) with the FA Cup. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Lucy Taylor

The years rolled away this weekend. There was a feeling of the 1970s in the air as the New Wolsey Theatre premiered Our Blue Heaven, its musical celebration of Ipswich Town’s May 1978 FA Cup win over Arsenal.

Former Town player John Wark, who played in the match against Arsenal in 1978, pictured with his wif

Former Town player John Wark, who played in the match against Arsenal in 1978, pictured with his wife, Karen. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Players from that cup winning side, including captain Mick Mills, John Wark, Alan Hunter, Roger Osborne and Brian Talbot were in attendance, along with fans who watched them hoist the cup after Osborne slammed home that winning goal.

Writer and New Wolsey’s artistic director Peter Rowe said: “I became aware quite a while ago that the 40th anniversary of the FA Cup win was coming up and it would be great if the New Wolsey could stage some sort of musical celebration, done in the style of our rock’n’roll pantomimes.

“We put a call out for fans’ memories and fashioned a script from real events, combined that with the story of Ipswich Town’s FA Cup journey and have woven all this around hits that were on the radio at the time, so there is a real sense of place and time.”

Brian Talbot and Mick Lambert at the opening event of Our Blue Heaven. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Brian Talbot and Mick Lambert at the opening event of Our Blue Heaven. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Former EADT editor Terry Hunt, an Ipswich Town fan for 50 years, inadvertently gave the production its title during an early planning meeting.


You may also want to watch:


He said: “We were discussing the idea, very much at the outline stage, and the play didn’t have a name.

“The conversation moved on, and I then mentioned the EADT’s headline from its souvenir cup final edition - ‘Our Blue Heaven’ - and Pete Rowe absolutely loved it. The play suddenly had a name!

Stuart Jarrold with a fan at the Our Blue Heaven opening night. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Stuart Jarrold with a fan at the Our Blue Heaven opening night. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Most Read

“It’s great that this landmark is being celebrated in such a unique way.

“Ipswich is famed for its football, and also has a fantastic arts offering.

“It’s so fitting that those two have come together in this way to celebrate the anniversary of such a memorable day.

Philip Hope Cobbold, who has had a long association with the club, at the launch event. Picture: LUC

Philip Hope Cobbold, who has had a long association with the club, at the launch event. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Lucy Taylor

“I know every Town fan will love Our Blue Heaven, and it will also appeal to local people who have never set foot inside a football stadium!”

The production features dramatised stories from fans telling of the events which surrounded the games which have been brought to the stage by Tom Hobden from DanceEast and a community chorus of dancers.

Our Blue Heaven runs at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, until May 26.

Dale Mathurin and Nicola Bryan performing in Our Blue Heaven, the New Wolsey's new musical, celebrat

Dale Mathurin and Nicola Bryan performing in Our Blue Heaven, the New Wolsey's new musical, celebrating Ipswich Town's FA Cup win in May 1978. Photo: MIKE KWASNIAK - Credit: Archant

Town legends on the cup final win

The heroes of the 1978 FA Cup final winning side spoke of their memories of the day and the celebrations that followed at the Our Blue Heaven launch event.

Roger Osborne, the winning goal scorer, said: “It was an absolutely incredible day, I think a lot of people’s dreams came true that day.

Roger Osborne and Mick Mills after Ipswich won the FA Cup in 1978.
Picture: OWEN HINES

Roger Osborne and Mick Mills after Ipswich won the FA Cup in 1978. Picture: OWEN HINES - Credit: Archant

“We’d waited so long to win something, it had been 1961 since they won the league championship, and the FA Cup was very special in those days, a huge cup to win.”

Allan Hunter, who marshalled Town’s central defence with Kevin Beattie, said: “It was a weekend never to be forgotten.

“When we came back to Ipswich on the bus you couldn’t see the concrete, you could just see people’s heads.”

John Wark, who struck the woodwork twice in the final, said: “It was an amazing occasion. The best for me was the Sunday coming home from London, all the bridges were covered with fans. It was a joy to be a part of it.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter