Grass root fans

DIE-hard Blues fans today went home with a piece of hallowed turf from their beloved Ipswich Town Football Club. Five lucky winners of The Evening Star's competition to win a piece of Portman Road, went to the Championship club to pick up their slice of history.

DIE-hard Blues fans today went home with a piece of hallowed turf from their beloved Ipswich Town Football Club.

Five lucky winners of The Evening Star's competition to win a piece of Portman Road, went to the Championship club to pick up their slice of history.

Award-winning head groundsman Alan Ferguson said the new pitch was planted after summer blockbuster concerts by Neil Diamond and REM.

He added: "It is a specially grown turf. The seed is bred in France and it was sown 14 months ago and grown to maturity before it was planted at the stadium in July."

Mr Ferguson, who presented the turf to the winners, said the pitch is fertilised every six or seven weeks.

He added: "It's cut every day in rain, hail or snow and even on Christmas day. It is maintained to a very high standard so it is a unique prize. This turf is not something you can get in a garden centre."

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Winner Terry Houlden, 72, of Highfield Road, Ipswich, said he was delighted with the prize.

He said: "I was absolutely thrilled. This year I celebrate 50 years of watching Ipswich Town. I think I must have blue blood. I am going to put it in pride of place in the back garden."

Hayley Cavanagh, 28, of Belvedere Road, Ipswich, said she entered the competition with her boyfriend.

She added: "We are both season ticket holders and we were really chuffed to win. We are going to put it in the garden and look after it. It was a lovely surprise."

Thurleston High School student Anton Curtis, 14, said he was pleased to take home a piece of turf from his favourite pitch.

The season ticket holder said: "I like watching them play and now I have a bit of their ground."

Retired port operative Glenn Algar , 52, of Grimston Close, Trimley St Martin, said he has held a season ticket at the club for more than 25 years.

He added: "I was pleasantly surprised when I heard I had won. I am going to put it on the lawn and fence it off."

For 15-year-old Ryan Hadley, of Renfrew Road, Ipswich said: "My Mum entered me. I was quite surprised when I heard I had won but I was very pleased."