Ipswich: Town fan told to stop “continually” asking for autographs

Mark McBurney and son Lewis of Stowmarket who have been told to stop making requests for autographs

Mark McBurney and son Lewis of Stowmarket who have been told to stop making requests for autographs from Ipswich Town Players - Credit: Archant

AN Ipswich Town fan who collects Blues memorabilia says players have been warned not to give him shirts or sign autographs for him.

Mark McBurney says the kit and signatures he has acquired from Town stars are for his own collection.

However the club claims the season ticket holder has asked for several autographs at the same time – and now has asked him to stop making requests.

Mr McBurney, who regularly follows Ipswich away from home with eight-year-old son Lewis, said: “I have about eight or nine shirts that I have bought personally and got them signed, and about four or five that the players have given me themselves.

“I was approached by a steward after a game this season when two players had given my son and I their shirts and he said ‘I need to have those two shirts back’.”

The 37-year-old, who lives in Windermere Road, Stowmarket, claimed the steward said he believed they were being sold on a website.

Mr McBurney added: “I felt really angry. I just wanted them for my own collection.”

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A friend of Mr McBurney’s was on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Portman Road stadium with a youth team when he spotted a picture in which Mr McBurney’s face was circled, alongside a note, which read: “Don’t give this guy any shirts.” The notice appeared to have been placed on the changing room door.

“I was quite disgusted by it,” Mr McBurney said. “It won’t stop me going to the games though. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”

In correspondence with Mr McBurney, the club says his desire to collect so much memorabilia is unusual.

An Ipswich Town club spokesman said: “We have had extensive conversations and correspondence with Mr McBurney over the last three months, asking him to refrain from continually requesting items of kit from the players as well as autographs.

“On most of the occasions he is accompanied by his young son and players do not wish to cause offence by refusal, however it places them in a difficult position when asked on most match days for personal items.

“The players have kit that has to last them the season and they are encouraged by the club not to give them away until the end of the season. While some shirts will be given away to supporters, we also use signed memorabilia to raise money for our nominated local charities.

“There have been occasions where players have been asked to provide several autographs at one time by Mr McBurney.

“We contacted Mr McBurney after the matter was raised not only by some of our players but also by other supporters.”

The club said it was not aware who put up Mr McBurney’s picture in the changing room.