Ipswich: Town fans urged to ‘Grow up or stay away’

A SMALL minority of fans risk damaging Ipswich Town’s reputation as a respectful club with their “abusive” behaviour, a leading supporter warned today.

Elizabeth Edwards, chairman of the Ipswich Town Supporters’ Club, spoke out after receiving an increasing number of complaints about the unruly antics of some Blues followers.

She told them to “grow up or stay away”.

A recent flashpoint came when a small group of Town fans booed when the referee called off the game between Ipswich and Colchester United because of a sickening injury to a player.

Colchester substitute Andy Bond suffered a terrible clash of heads with his own goalkeeper and lay unconscious for a number of minutes before being helped from the pitch bloodied and dazed.

Mrs Edwards, whose comments will feature in the pre-match programme for this weekend’s match against Hull, said: “One of our most loyal fans, a friend to many of us, called me straight after the game, and said, ‘Tonight, I am ashamed to call myself an Ipswich fan’.

“Sadly, over the last year or two, but especially recently, I have been getting a lot of complaints.

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“They are all complaining about one, tiny group of anti-social, so-called fans. Most of the time, their behaviour is low-level, but occasionally it breaks out into more serious stuff such as letting off smoke bombs, abusing police and disgusting booing following the serious injury to Andy Bond the other week.”

Mrs Edwards fears the club may lose the kind of policing style reserved only for clubs who know how to behave and respect others. She added: “There is one thing that I always notice about following Ipswich – that makes us stand out from most others. It’s a simple thing, but it’s vital, and it is called respect.

“So, I have a message for that little group. The club are watching every move you make because they don’t want that kind of fan.

“Let’s make this a season to remember for the right reasons.”

Her views were robustly echoed by Ipswich Town chief executive Simon Clegg, who said in a statement: “I would like to show my appreciation to the supporters’ club for their concern over the reputation of Town’s supporters. I hope that all genuine Town fans will also show their support for this important issue on Saturday.”

His statement will be read out to the crowd at half time.