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Blue Army on its way to invade Milan

PUBLISHED: 17:41 05 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

WEDNESDAY, December 5, 2001 – the day Ipswich Town fans set off in earnest to Italy on Operation Milan.

The vanguard for thousands of eager Ipswich fans departed from Portman Road today with hope in their hearts of a famous victory on Italian soil.

WEDNESDAY, December 5, 2001 – the day Ipswich Town fans set off in earnest to Italy on Operation Milan.

The vanguard for thousands of eager Ipswich fans departed from Portman Road today with hope in their hearts of a famous victory on Italian soil.

The exodus of fans from Suffolk means that continental Europe is being invaded once more…by the Tractor Boys army.

With just one day to go until the big match with Inter Milan, the stage is almost set for the biggest game many Ipswich fans have ever experienced…and the Evening Star will be there all the way supporting the Super Blues.

The Evening Star has printed a handy list of ten top songs for you to sing in either in the San Siro tomorrow evening or at home in front of the telly.

It is expected that most of Ipswich will be like a ghost town on Thursday as fans who haven't made the trip watch to see if the Blues can make it into the fourth round.

Around 8,000 fans are making the trip and they are travelling by planes, trains and automobiles with just one destination in mind - the famous San Siro stadium.

James Easter of Travel Plus Tours in Claydon said the mass departure from Suffolk was well underway.

"A good proportion of those who are going to Milan will be flying – probably around 5,000. There are around 50 aircraft heading out there today and people are flying from lots of different airports – not just Stansted. Fans will also be going out of Luton, Gatwick and Heathrow as well as Birmingham and some will be going from Norwich via Amsterdam.

"Also it's not just people from Ipswich, we have loads of fans in Felixstowe, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds who are heading out as well."

Mr Easter said that fans had to resort to finding whatever flights they could to get to Milan, but once they were there they were not planning to come straight back.

"People are making a longer break of it and plan to take advantage of the shopping, the sights and the hotels – it's just a shame the trip has come at the wrong time of the year weather wise.

Today the city of Milan along with the airports at Malpensa and Linate, was covered with a layer of thick fog, which could mean delays for Town fans before they touch down in Italy.

Fans who travelled by road and rail will be well into their journeys by now with an estimated 300 to 400 making the long trip by train.

Two of the first to set off on The Italian Job were father and son Michael and Mike who left for Italy in a mini on Monday from Portman Road after winning a competition run by TXU.


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