German fans visit Ipswich to cheer on the Blues - and to donate to Kevin Beattie statue fund
Scores of German football fans travelled to Ipswich to cheer on the tractor boys today - and to hand over their contribution to the Kevin Beattie statue campaign.
Around 60 members of the Fortuna Blues Supporters Club flew over for the crucial championship clash with Rotherham having visited the club annually for the past 15 years. Although they are Fortuna Düsseldorf supporters first, they also love Ipswich Town and receive a warm welcome by fans whenever they travel to Portman Road.
This year’s trip to town has added poignancy following the death of Ipswich legend Kevin Beattie in September last year.
In honour of ‘The Beat’ the group have had a whip round, collecting more than €600 (£535) for the campaign for a memorial statue outside the ground.
Ulli Munsterberg, who organised the trip, said: “When we heard the news about Kevin we were devastated.
“We always used to meet him and talk with him when we came to Ipswich.
“He was a very nice guy and always supported the idea of the friendship between the two clubs and fans.
“He was a football player who didn’t see the difference between the fans and the players.
“I think the statue is a great idea.
“There are the two statues of the national managers Ipswich has had.
“It would be nice for an ex-player to join them.”
The group handed over the money to town legend Terry Butcher before the match.
Friedie Schacht, who also flew over for the match, said: “With Kevin, he was special.
“He was such a normal guy when you met him, he didn’t make you feel he was a star - he was one of you, one of us.”
The Fortuna Blues had an extra reason to cheer town on today, as Ipswich’s new loan signing Collin Quaner began his career at Fortuna Düsseldorf’s academy.
Among those who made their way to Ipswich were former Fortuna player Frank Mayer, who played for the club from 2001 to 2005 - scoring 51 goals in 123 matches.
The top goalscorer for all four seasons he played, Frank helped the club get back on track following a series of relegations.
Mr Munsterberg said despite a very poor start the season, he had a ‘gut feeling’ town could make a great escape from the relegation zone.
“As a football supporter you get a gut feeling about what is going on,” he said.
“Sometimes you are wrong but I have that feeling.’
Terry Butcher: “The German fans are great, it is great to see them here today.
“It’s good to see the town name spreads so far.
“They have given money for the Kevin Beattie statue campaign, everyone had been fantastic, giving more and more money all the time.”
If you would like to donate to the Kevin Beattie Statue campaign see here.