Video of the Day: The 1978 FA Cup Final

by | May 17, 2016

When Ipswich Town were promoted from the Third Division South in 1957, few would have guessed how eventful the next quarter of a century might be for the Suffolk club. The club was promoted to the First Division in 1961 and, under the tutelage of Alf Ramsey, became the champions of England a year later. This success, however, was short-lived, and in 1964 the club was relegated, conceding one hundred and twenty-one goals, the second highest in the history of top flight English football. Promoted back in 1968 as Second Division champions, the club lost the manager that took them back up, Bill McGarry, to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the autumn of the following season and the club took a couple of months to choose his successor, eventually settling on a former England international who’d briefly but unsuccessfully tried to keep the club that he’d played for in the First Division the year before, Bobby Robson.

By the time of the 1978 FA Cup final, Ipswich Town were a well-established First Division club, having not finished outside of the top six between 1973 and 1977, but the 1977/78 season had been a disappointment, with the team finishing the season in eighteenth place in the table, just two places and three points above the relegation places. Their opponents were Arsenal, who’d ended the season in fifth place in the table but hadn’t won a major trophy since completing the league and cup double seven years earlier and had spent much of the middle of the decade drifting towards the wrong end of the table. Indeed, that fifth placed finish had been comfortably their best since finishing the 1972/73 season as runners-up to Liverpool, but a combination of this and a simplistic “big city slickers versus country bumpkins” narrative ensured that Arsenal started the match as favourites to win. Commentary comes from Jack Charlton and Brian Moore.