1980–81 Ipswich Town F.C. season
Ipswich Town competed in the Football League First Division. They finished as runners-up in the league championship, were semi-finalists in the FA Cup and won the UEFA Cup. Top scorer for the season was 23-year-old John Wark, who scored 36 goals in all competitions. The next season saw the club win the UEFA Europa League, their first major European trophy.
About 1980–81 Ipswich Town F.C. season in brief
Ipswich Town competed in the Football League First Division. They finished as runners-up in the league championship, were semi-finalists in the FA Cup and won the UEFA Cup. In all, Ipswich played a total of 66 competitive games during the season, winning 37, drawing 13 and losing 16. Top scorer for the season was 23-year-old John Wark, who scored 36 goals in all competitions. The Dutch midfielder Frans Thijssen was named Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year. Ipswich’s second league defeat of the season came at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final. The final saw Steve Osvaldo score twice in the final ten minutes to give Tottenham a 3–3 draw. The club’s last league win came in a 2–1 victory at home to Manchester City on the final Saturday of the league season. The win was Ipswich’s second league win of the 1980–81 season. They had previously won the league in the 1961–62 season, when they finished third in the First Division and reached the European Cup final against AZ Alkmaar. This was the first time Ipswich had reached the final of a major European competition. They were also the first English club to win the European League Cup in the 1980s. The following season saw Ipswich reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, where they lost on away goals to Grasshoppers. The next season saw the club win the UEFA Europa League, their first major European trophy.
The team also reached the FA League Cup semi- final, losing in extra time against Manchester City. They also won the FA FA Cup fourth round, beating Aston Villa 3–2 on penalties after a 1–1 draw. In the UEFA European Cup fifth round, they beat AZ AlKmaar 5–4 on aggregate to win their first ever European title. The victory was the club’s first in the competition, and their first in Europe since the 1960s. They went on a 23-match unbeaten run from the start of August to the end of December. This included an unbeaten run of 23 matches stretching from the beginning of December to the final day of the League season. In October Ipswich went through September undefeated, with victories against Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Coventry City and Wolves, maintaining their position at the top of the division. In November Ipswich started with two draws, a goalless game at home against West Bromwich Albion and a six-goal match against Southampton. A shock 1–0 defeat against bottom club Brighton saw theend of Ipswich ‘s unbeaten run of fourteen league games since the start of the season. At the end of November Ipstwich were three points behind Aston Villa and two points behind Liverpool, but with three games in hand on the league leaders. In December Ipswich suffered a 5–3 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, with Eric Gates sending off for retaliating to Graham Roberts, seemingly retaliating to Roberts’ sending off.