Blues fan died exactly where he wanted

IPSWICH Town fanatic Alan Row died after falling ill at his beloved Portman Road.But as the 72-year-old season ticket holder, of Chilton Avenue, Stowmarket, was helped to the medical centre, he was more concerned with checking the game than his condition.

By Paul Geater

IPSWICH Town fanatic Alan Row died after falling ill at his beloved Portman Road.

But as the 72-year-old season ticket-holder, of Chilton Avenue, Stowmarket, was helped to the medical centre, he was more concerned with checking the game than his condition.

Mr Row's son, also called Alan, was skiing with family in France when the news of his dad's death was broken.

But he said he was almost glad his dad was somewhere he loved when he fell ill.

Alan junior, of Shakespeare Road, Stowmarket, said: "If he had to go, he probably would have been pleased to be somewhere where he has so many happy memories." The Portman Road passion was something passed down the family.

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Alan recalled his dad telling him Ipswich would win the FA Cup in his lifetime – and then sharing the magnificent moment at Wembley when Mick Mills lifted the Cup in 1978.

And Mr Row had already begun blooding a new generation by taking his eight-year-old grandson Sam to his first game this season.

But the Walsall match last Saturday was to be Mr Row's last.

Town stewards Gordon Evans and Mark Christopher were called to his aid during the game.

St John Ambulance first-aiders were at his side in block JJ of the Britannia Stand in less than a minute.

Mr Row was still conscious as he left the ground in an ambulance, but he died later that day in Ipswich Hospital from the stroke he had suffered.

Alan said: "We're just so sad he's gone. He was a good man, a devoted family man.

"He was a bubbly character and he was well known in a small town like Stowmarket. He was always chatting to people.

"He was never short of an opinion at the match, either. Very vociferous, but always in the best interests of the club.

"We bought him the season ticket a few years ago after Mum died and the football really helped him get over it.

"I've got nothing but praise for the club. They were fantastic."

All stewards at Portman Road are trained in first aid and the St John Ambulance are on hand to help when needed.

Chief safety officer Geoff Sheppard said medical emergencies were not unusual at the ground.

In his six years at the club, 30 heart attacks have been recorded. But he insisted it was merely weight of numbers at the ground rather than the stress of the action.

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