As is becoming customary of late, our Viva Video feature allows us to take a nostalgic look at Rovers up coming opponents. With some teams in the Championship that is a task made easier by a rich recent history and Ipswich Town can certainly boast that. As a team who were one of the country’s most successful in the late 1970s and 1980s there remains much available video footage of the club’s golden years.
It would seem implausible in British football at this time that a provincial team could become one of the country’s leading sides, but that is exactly what Ipswich did thirty years ago. Under the leadership of Bobby Robson and with the aid of some impressive Dutch imports Ipswich took the FA Cup in 1978 and then in 1981 made an impressive assault on three trophies which saw them play well over sixty games. Runners-up in the league to Liverpool, beaten in the FA Cup semi final by Manchester City, the Tractor Boys still had European glory in their sights.
In a two-legged UEFA Cup semi final they faced Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, firstly at Portman Road and then in the second leg at the Olympisch Stadion in Amsterdam, complete with cycle track and all. It proved an epic, and the most impressive acheivement in Suffolk footballing history as the Tractors ploughed their way across Europe.