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Ipswich boss George Burley
"It promises to be an exciting game"
 real 56k

Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks
"Torpedo Moscow will be tough opposition for us"
 real 14k

Ipswich's former player Arnold Muehren
"It's not going to be easy"
 real 14k

Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Ipswich's Euro return
Uefa Cup first round, first leg: Ipswich Town v Torpedo Moscow
Thursday, kick-off: 2005 BST
Match of the Day BBC 1 2000 BST and also BBC Radio Five Live.

By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Warshaw

Ever since a knee injury ruled him out of one of the greatest occasions in the history of Ipswich Town, George Burley has dreamed of being given another chance.

Back in 1981, Burley was an accomplished right back and a regular in Bobby Robson's exciting and enterprising squad.

Yet he had to watch from the sidelines as Ipswich won their only European trophy, beating AZ Alkmaar of Holland 5-4 on aggregate in the days when the Uefa Cup final was over two legs.

They were heady days.

Inspired by the Dutch midfield duo of Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen, Ipswich won a host of new friends with their brand of adventurous, enterprising football.

Twice in succession in the early 1980s, the unfashionable East Anglian club finished runner-up in the old First Division.

Young hope Bramble
Young hope Bramble
Even earlier, Ipswich fans were in dreamland when Roger Osborne's goal beat favourites Arsenal to win the1978 FA Cup.

But in time, just like Sir Alf Ramsey before himself, Robson moved onwards and upwards.

Just like Ramsey, the architect of Ipswich's only league championship in 1962, Robson was handed the greatest honour a manager can have - taking charge of his country.

England's gain, once again, was Ipswich's loss.

After 13 years in charge of the homely Suffolk side, Robson's departure dealt a massive blow to Ipswich's ambitions.

In the years that followed, there was plenty of endeavour but little achievement.

Three times, Ipswich languished in the lower reaches of the Premiership, deperately trying to cling on to top-flight status but eventually going down in 1995.

It took four heart-breaking playoffs for the club, by now nicknamed the Tractor Boys, to regain their Premiership status - and their pride.

Fifth place last season defied the expectations even of their own fans.

Now comes the club's first venture into Europe for 18 years in the first round proper of the Uefa Cup.

A generation after missing out on what would have been one of the highlights of his distinguished playing career, Burley is back for another shot - this time in the manager's seat.

Remarkably, Ipswich will be defending one of the best home records in European club competition when they host Torpedo Moscow at Portman Road on Thursday.

In 25 previous ties in the European Cup, Uefa Cup and Cup Winners' Cup on Suffolk soil, Ipswich have won 22 and drawn just three.

Only FC Twente, Grasshoppers Zurich and Aberdeen have avoided defeat.

It's a wonderful record and no-one would like to extend it more than the manager.

Links to more Ipswich Town stories are at the foot of the page.


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