Ipswich shirts replace Saddam Hussein's
IPSWICH Town shirts could soon be a common sight on the streets of Hamrin in Iraq thanks to a US soldier - and charitable Blues supporters.Soldier Mark Stoneman - an Ipswich fan himself - is urging supporters to donate their old kit to the football-mad Iraqi children who currently only have kit bearing Saddam Hussein's name.
IPSWICH Town shirts could soon be a common sight on the streets of Hamrin in Iraq thanks to a US soldier - and charitable Blues supporters.
Soldier Mark Stoneman - an Ipswich fan himself - is urging supporters to donate their old kit to the football-mad Iraqi children who currently only have kit bearing Saddam Hussein's name.
Mark, 30, who moved to the States in 1987, has followed Ipswich since he was 12-years-old and still manages to get to a few games every season.
He said: “We get along well with the people and try to help them out as much as we can. We've fixed schools and are running clean drinking water to every house, something they've never had before.
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“One of the common bonds I have with the people here is a love of football. Poverty and unemployment are overwhelming and the only recreation most kids and young men have is the local football league, but they have little or no equipment.
“We have bought them footballs and built them another pitch in addition to the one they had, which is under water half the year, but they lack boots and strips.
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“The shirts they do have are very old and imprinted with 'A Gift from Saddam Hussein' on the front, as a sort of sponsor.
“Seeing as these are the only shirts they have they wear them, but only inside-out so as not to display Saddam's name.”
The Ipswich Town fans website Those Were the Days (TWTD), along with Ipswich Town 1st, the club's supporters' trust, will be collecting donated kit before the Wolves game tomorrow next to the Sir Alf Ramsey statue.
Ipswich Town has got the ball rolling, donating 30 old home shirts, 50 away kits, out of date benchwear and other discounted
The cost of transporting the kit to Iraq has been met by supporters' trust chairman Carl Day's company Seawing Landguard.
TWTD editor Phil Ham said: “What we see as an old pair of football boots is far better than the kit they have at the moment. Anything people can spare will be very gratefully received.
“It will be slightly strange to create a town full of Ipswich supporters!”
If you would like to donate your old kit, you can drop it in before tomorrow's game or post it to TWTD, PO Box 87, Ipswich, IP4 2QE.