Photo: Ipswich Town Football Club
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Ipswich Town FC winning the FA Cup. They beat Arsenal 1-0 in a gripping final, with the only goal coming thirteen minutes before the end. That goal was scored by Roger Osborne, who now manages Ipswich School Sports Centre at Rushmere.
Roger came to share his football experiences with Ipswich Prep pupils last week, to tie in with the anniversary of the cup win back in 1978.
He explained to pupils how he was one of 14 children, and that playing in the FA Cup Final was a dream come true. He made his debut for Ipswich Town in 1973 and explained that his success was down to working so hard: “I played for Westerfield at what is now the Ipswich School Sports Centre, played for my works team on a Sunday morning and another team on Sunday afternoon – I was very fit!”
One of his prized possessions which he brought to show the pupils was a shirt from Johan Cruyff when Ipswich played against his Barcelona side in 1978. Because Roger marked Johan so well, the Dutch international – who was probably one of the best footballers in the world at the time – decided to exchange shirts with him after the match.
As pupils passed his FA Cup winners’ medal throughout the assembly hall, Roger then spoke about the FA Cup Final itself, saying that in those days, at 3pm everyone in the country stopped to watch the football. His family travelled down in a specially chartered bus as there were so many of them.
“When I came out of the tunnel and saw all the red scarves in front of me and the Ipswich blue ones behind me, I had to take a deep breath as it was a very special moment.” It was Roger’s first time at Wembley and the first time that he, and Ipswich Town, had played in an FA Cup final. Ipswich hit the post twice and the bar once, but in the 77th minute, Roger scored the only goal, which meant Ipswich lifted the cup for the first and only time.
Roger left Ipswich Town in 1981 and was 36 years old when he retired from football. However, he is still involved in the world of sport as he has managed what is now the Ipswich School Sports Centre in Rushmere for the past 20 years.