Ipswich: Town fans Jerry and John Gray fly the Tractor Boys flag at World Cup in Brazil
PUBLISHED: 11:34 01 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:34 01 July 2014
While watching England’s recent matches against Uruguay or Costa Rica, fans from Suffolk might have spotted a Tractor Boys flag waving amongst the crowd.
It was probably that of Jerry Gray, who travelled to Brazil for this year’s World Cup along with his son John, who turns 18 this year and received the tickets as a birthday gift.
The Ipswich Town season-ticket holders are from Capel St Mary and have been planning the trip since last year.
But they never imagined the trip would garner so much attention for their local club.
Not only did Jerry and John raise their Ipswich town flag in São Paulo stadium and Belo Horizonte, but they also did interviews with the BBC, Sky TV, Hong Kong TV and Brazil TV, as well as appearing on the Twitter page of Chris Kamara for his 1.8 million followers.
“They were very strict because of the FIFA rules, only flags of a certain size were allowed in,” said Jerry.
“The command of English over there is very limited, if you were travelling on your own you would need some Portuguese or Spanish, so if flags had writing on them they were afraid that it wasn’t saying particularly nice things.
“But we managed to sweet talk a guard at the stand and we were able to hold it up in the ground at Sao Paolo but we were careful that we didn’t get it out in the ground at Belo Horizonte.
“In one of the grounds there was a Norwich flag as well and in our party there were about three Norwich fans and then we bumped into some Ipswich fans.”
It was just before the Uruguay game that a swathe of TV reporters approached Jerry and his friends for an interview. Not long after he received an email from a colleague in Hong Kong saying he’d seen him on the news.
Not long after he bumped into football pundit Chris Kamara, and a selfie taken by Chris and posted on Twitter featured Jerry and John in the background, prompting messages from family back home.
Unfortunately the legions of devoted England fans didn’t result in success for the national team, but Jerry praised the tournament nonetheless.
“It was just a festival of people who appreciate football,” he said. “All we received was warmth and camaraderie from the other fans.”