Tag: Ipswich Town

Sir Bobby Robson – 1933-2009

It has been a very sad day for football on the eve of the new season. We have lost one of us. It is, perhaps, a reflection of the hole in the heart of English football that we should mourn a football man whose greatest single attribute was nothing more or less than a sense of common decency. It is football’s loss and our loss that we may never in a quite literal sense see his like again. Rob Freeman, who supports Ipswich Town, takes a moment to remember Sir Bobby Robson. Sir Bobby – it’s always seemed a little churlish to refer to him by just his surname – was simply put, one of the greatest men to ever contribute to the game. He made an impact as a player, a manager and as a man. His playing career often gets overshadowed as a result of the achievements he had as a manager, but as an inside forward and wing-half for Fulham and West Bromwich Albion, Sir Bobby scored over a hundred goals in over five hundred games in a domestic career that spanned 18 years. He made his international debut for England against in 1957, scoring two goals in a 4-0 victory over France at Wembley. It would be the first of 20 caps that would also take in three appearances at the 1958 World Cup, and...

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Six FA Cup Semi-Finals

It seems almost difficult to believe in this day and age, but there was a time that FA Cup semi-finals mattered. Getting to Wembley was an end to itself. The big day out and the traditions involved with that Saturday in May were so important that getting to the final and being a part of it was almost as good as winning it. Now, of course, it’s an inconvenience. Three of this year’s FA Cup semi-finalists are also in the semi-finals of the Champions League and, as such, this is the part of the end of season bum rush that they can arguably all afford to lose. Also, the mystique of the visit to Wembley is gone. In their desperation to cover the cost of building it in the first place, they’re holding the semi-finals there as well. So, it’s time to have a look back at six FA Cup semi-finals from the dim and distant past. 1. 1987 – Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford: The media loves an underdog, and underdogs didn’t come much bigger that Watford’s Gary Plumley. After Watford’s two goalkeepers, Tony Coton and Steve Sherwood, both injured themselves in advance of their 1987 FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park, rather carelessly got themselves injured in the fortnight before their biggest match of the season, it looked briefly as if they might have to play with an...

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The Disembowelling Of The FA Cup Semi-Finals

It is now almost thirty years since Paul Power crashed in a remarkable shot from twenty-five yards out to send Manchester City to the FA Cup final at the expense of Ipswich Town. The 1980/81 season was rapidly unravelling for the team from Suffolk. Within weeks, they would be overhauled by Aston Villa to become the champions of England and would be left with just the UEFA Cup as a consolation when it had for a while looked likely that they would finish the season with a remarkable treble. Manchester City’s win on that warm spring day at Villa Park was a major surprise, but it was just one of a host of FA Cup semi-finals played at Villa Park during the 1980s. Villa Park was considered at the time to be one of the safest grounds in English football, but the FA had a strange idea of what was “safe” in those days. Highbury was regularly used for these matches, but as crowd violence grew during the early 1980s, the FA stopped using it when the Arsenal board of directors refused to put perimeter fences around their pitch. Six years after Highbury’s last semi-final match, the perimeter fences were the major contributing factor in the deaths of 96 football supporters at Hillsborough during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. The fences came down forever afterwards....

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A Minute’s Applause

On the eve of the new season, the hope and optimism are, in their own way, very entertaining to watch. There was, however, sad and sobering news this week in the form of an interview this week with Sir Bobby Robson, in which he confirmed that the lung cancer that he has been fighting is terminal, and that he has, at best, a few months left to live. Typically, Robson deals with the illness with class, grace and dignity: I have accepted what they have told me and I am determined to make the most of what time I have left. I have been fortunate to survive this long. It is thanks to my doctors and their dedication. My condition is described as static and has not altered since my last bout of chemotherapy. They have arrested the growth of the tumours on my lungs and I have my next scan shortly. I am going to die sooner rather than later, but then everyone has to go sometime and I have enjoyed every minute. I don’t even think about it and my biggest problem today was unrelated, just old-fashioned laryngitis. I am not going to sit around at home thinking about what might or might not happen. I have always found it difficult to turn down good causes and invitations from people I know. My family and close friends...

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