I'm not shaving until Ipswich Town win a game, says fan
When he jokingly said he wouldn't shave until Ipswich Town won a game, Mark Leathers hoped it would mean growing nothing more than a bit of stubble.
But, seven weeks later, the life-long Blues supporter sports a bushy beard that really does show how long it was since the Tractor Boys last tasted victory.
When the Blues got off to a faltering start in their 2018-19 season, the 37-year-old decided to hang up his razor until Paul Hurst’s side put a win on their scoresheet.
But even he did not expect it to take this long before Town collected three points from single game, meaning the usually clean-shaven Suffolk County Council worker now sports thick facial hair.
He is also not cutting his hair, meaning it has got longer and curlier than usual.
And with Paul Hurst’s side facing a difficult series of games over the next few weeks, plus an international break, Mr Leathers fears his beard will get so long he could resemble Father Christmas by yuletide.
“The season had kicked off and hadn’t gone particularly well, so I just thought as a bit of fun I wouldn’t shave until we win,” the season ticket holder said.
“It wasn’t planned, I just did it for the hell of it.
“When I mentioned it to a couple of friends, I was not able to get out of it. I was not thinking it would get to this period.
“It’s got through the itchy phase and it’s now quite bushy. My hair also gets naturally curly.
“I’ve had a couple of moments when I thought I might pack it in. However it has become quite popular amongst family and friends, as well as on social media.
“Everyone is always asking about it, so it has become a bit of thing.
“It definitely doesn’t feel natural - I’ve not grown it out much before, as I tend to be quite clean-shaven.
“I’ve sometimes got a bit of five o’clock shadow but that’s the longest it’s got. If we get to December and we haven’t won, by that point I might as well be Father Christmas.”
Mr Leathers, who was born and bred in Ipswich but now lives in Stowmarket, does not know when he will be able to feel fresh air on his face again.
“I can’t see us winning on Saturday,” he said of Town’s away clash at Swansea.
“Then there’s an international break, so that’s another week without shaving.”
Town then face tough clashes against QPR and Leeds, with Mr Leathers - who has held a season ticket since 2001, joking: “I don’t know if the wife will still be with me by then.”
Yet while being able to shave would be a welcome relief, most of all Mr Leathers wants to see his beloved side’s fortunes change.
“If anything, I just want the three points for the lads,” he said.
“It would be nice not to have this beard, but I just hope they start climbing the table.”