Blues to play in Ashley's honour

AN IPSWICH Town football match is to be dedicated to the memory of an ardent fan that put his own money into sponsoring its home-grown rising stars.

AN IPSWICH Town football match is to be dedicated to the memory of an ardent fan that put his own money into sponsoring its home-grown rising stars.

Town's rearranged FA Youth Cup fifth round tie with Watford on Saturday will honour one of the club's most loyal supporters, Ashley Cushion, who died from cancer aged 45 on February 18.

All the players will wear black armbands for the match in respect of the former vice chairman of Town's London Supporters' Branch, who personally sponsored a number of Academy players over the years, including Ian Westlake.

Fans will be invited to join the players and officials in a minute's applause before kick-off to acknowledge Mr Cushion's contribution to the club.


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The McColl's newsagent branch manager in Croydon, where Ipswich scarves were laid after news broke of his death, had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just before Christmas.

Ipswich Town's first team are not in action on Saturday, so the Academy tie has been moved to Portman Road with the club charging just �1 admission as a gesture to the 469 fans who watched 88 minutes of the tie on February 10, only to see it called for due to torrential rain. The score had been 0-0 and the referee had indicated earlier in the game he was not prepared to let the tie run into extra time.

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Martin Swallow, a supporter from Bury St Edmunds who was a very close friend of Mr Cushion's, will be in the director's box as a special guest of the club on Saturday.

He sat next to Mr Cushion at the original Watford game that was abandoned and said of the rearranged match: “I think it is a fitting tribute. Ashley would certainly have approved.

“I think it just goes to show the club does appreciate its fans as much as the fans appreciate the club.”

All eyes at the match will be on Tom Eastman, a talented centre back who Mr Cushion and Mr Swallow sponsored this season. Like Mr Cushion, the player was born in Colchester.

Liz Edwards, chair of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club, said: “The celebration of Ashley's life at an Academy game is a very fitting and appropriate tribute.”

Ashley's wife will be among the crowd and it has been requested that any donations in his memory go to the Academy at Ipswich Town.

Anyone wishing to donate money to the Academy can phone Simon Milton on 01473 400942, or email simon.milton@itfc.co.uk.

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