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Good natured fans score high in Italy

PUBLISHED: 19:01 07 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 March 2010

ALTHOUGH the result was not what they dreamed of, Milan was the place to be for anybody who called themselves a true Ipswich fan.

Today the Tractor Boys and Girls won praise for being wonderful ambassadors, representing their country and their county with a pride and passion which even brought a tear to the eye of Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks.

ALTHOUGH the result was not what they dreamed of, Milan was the place to be for anybody who called themselves a true Ipswich fan.

Today the Tractor Boys and Girls won praise for being wonderful ambassadors, representing their country and their county with a pride and passion which even brought a tear to the eye of Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks.

The Evening Star's GEORGINA JAMES travelled with the fans to soak up the atmosphere and experience of what for many was the trip of a lifetime.

THE man in charge of the Suffolk Police operation in Milan praised the behaviour of the Ipswich Town fans during their visit to Italy.

Chief Superintendent Aldwyn Jones said: "I have spoken to the Deputy Chief of Police in Milan, Lucio Carluccio he was delighted with the way that the Ipswich Town fans behaved stating that they were a credit to the club.

"The fans were in the stadium for around five hours in total and were asked to remain there for around 30 minutes after the game had finished to allow the Inter Milan fans to leave first. The fans were very good humoured and continued to sing until they left.

"The Consulate have confirmed that there were no reported incidents either at the stadium or within Milan."

Throughout yesterday fans descended on the wonderful Lombardy city in the north of Italy.

By mid afternoon the majority of the 10,000 filled the streets, packing the bars and restaurants.

Various modes of transport and complicated routes had been endured by fans to ensure they saw their beloved team compete against the best in Europe. For fans that made the journey it was more like a religious pilgrimage rather than a football match.

The English Bar in the centre of the city attracted many Ipswich fans' attention and there was a terrific atmosphere being created.

The adrenaline was pumping, spirits were high. Song after song was being sung at maximum decibels.

One fan was singing his heart out, Stan Woods, 25, of Holyrood Mews, Britannia Village, London. He said: "This is the best day of my life. Everybody is enjoying themselves, the atmosphere is special. I have never experienced anything like this before in my 15 years as a fan."

Lorna Denny, 20, of Castle Road, Bury St Edmunds, said: "The atmosphere is electric and I hope our performance on the pitch is too. We often raise our game against the big guns and I am hoping we play a blinder tonight.

"I would like the players to put on a good show for the supporters. As fans, what more could we ask for than a fantastic football match at an amazing stadium in a beautiful city."

Alex Theobald, 20, of High Street, Ixworth, added: "I hope the team get a result tonight and go further in the competition. Nobody is really expecting it, it would just be the icing on the cake."

Peter Robbel, 45, of Lee Road, Aldeburgh, said: "Milan is a lovely city, the locals and Ipswich fans have been getting on marvellously"

On the buses and tube to the stadium the atmosphere was incredible. Milan did not know what had hit it.

During and after the game supporters' spirits were never dampened. The army of fans constantly tried to lift the players' game, but to no avail.

The loyalty was summed up by one fan, Nick Harvey, 29, of Bacon Road, Claydon, who said: "I have no regrets despite the loss. Bring on Newcastle."

Ipswich's impressive run in Europe has come to an end but as fans head back to the UK they can hold their heads up high."


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