1978 FA Cup winners
Memories of an blue egg
By Tim Sansom
When sitting at Molineux in April 2008, as Town toiled against a stubborn Wolves side on a dark and dreary Saturday, I began to think about the 1978 FA Cup Final and the anniversary that is due in a couple of weeks' time.
I have a strange relationship with the events of Saturday 6 May 1978. I have to admit that I was not around then. It would be another two years before I came into the world and began building my complex emotional relationship with Ipswich Town Football Club.
I can remember the moment when my uncle (who for forty years has dedicated his support to the Portman Road cause) and my father told me that Town had reached Wembley. It was 1990 and I was ten years old.
My reaction was one of shock, confusion and pride rolled into one. I could not quite believe it and needed video proof before I believed that it was true. When I went to Ipswich School, most of my classmates were Manchester United or Liverpool fans and I was one of the few who supported the local side.
The fact that Ipswich has won something other than plaudits and criticism has given me valuable ammunition at the Universities of Warwick and Leicester where I'm finishing a thesis and working as an education advisor. I can mention the 1978 FA Cup and the 1981 UEFA Cup and defend myself with some pride against the supporters of the big Premiership clubs who bang on about their bulging trophy cabinet at any opportunity.
I am proud of that 1978 team. Whenever I am depressed or wondering the meaning of life, things seem to make some sense for me when I switch on my DVD and watch the events at Wembley on that memorable May day. I need to catch the whole game and enjoy the moments when the Arsenal goal was pummelled with Ipswich shots.
It was a spectacular performance and one that has rightly defined the club for generations to come.
My DVD is well worn and I often eye up the 1978 replica shirts for a possible purchase, when I am back at Portman Road. I have the books and I have access to the match programme and newspapers, which are lovingly maintained within a miniature football shrine at my uncle's house in Colchester.
I can grab as much memorabilia as possible about the 1978 FA Cup Final. I can wax lyrical about the day. I can imagine what it would have been like making that exciting journey down the A12 to London and breathe in the joy and atmosphere of a memorable FA Cup victory. However I can only imagine because I was not there. The nearest equivalent was the 2000 play-off final, but was it the same? I just do not know.
What I do know is that the events of 1978 came back even in the joyous celebrations of 2000. When waking up for the open-top bus tour around Ipswich to see George Burley's victorious team, my parents warned me to not stand too close to the lead plated windows of Debenhams to cheer the players on the Town Hall balcony. I was told that the windows bent under the weight of the Cornhill spectators in 1978 and could do the same in 2000.
I 'sarcastically' thanked Dad for the father/son pep talk, but lay back in my bed with a sense of pride. I was not there in 1978, but wherever I was going, and still go, as an Ipswich Town fan, the 1978 FA Cup Final keeps looming in my mind and that is how I will always want it to be.
(Look at the rest of our 1978 features and video by clicking on the links on the right.)
last updated: 08/05/2008 at 10:32
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If you weren't alive either, how do you view Town's cup-winning days?