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Northstanders ready to go home!

PUBLISHED: 17:21 19 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:21 03 March 2010

THE first fans to sit in the new North Stand took up their places in the Premiership match against Bolton Wanderers.

Come Thursday many more are set to fill the spanking new blue seats when the Town take on Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup third round tie.

THE first fans to sit in the new North Stand took up their places in the Premiership match against Bolton Wanderers.

Come Thursday many more are set to fill the spanking new blue seats when the Town take on Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup third round tie.

As a regular season ticket holder and devoted Northstander RUSSELL COOK reports on seeing his beloved part of Portman Road come back to life ... gradually!

MAYBE the team is waiting for the real Northstanders to return to their rightful spot before they get back to winning ways in the Premiership.

That certainly seems the case at the moment as the Tractor Boys now face up to being in a real relegation dog fight.

Second from bottom and struggling for form in the league is not good news for devoted Town fans as they await that second, and precious, Premiership victory.

It was only late last week that the club got the safety certificate to allow 2,290 fans to get the privilege of sitting in the new, still to be completed, North Stand yesterday afternoon.

With ten minutes to go before kick off it looked as if there were going to be some late arrivals ... but by 4pm there only appeared to be 300 at most who had taken advantage of being the first ones to grace the new seats. Although humour was not in short supply with some wearing Bob the Builder hats.

However it looked like the supporters were outnumbered by the club stewards in their bright orange and yellow tops.

Oh, how us Northstanders, currently sitting in our lofty perches high up in the South Stand, longed to have been there. But we understood it was difficult for the club to get things organised at the last minute.

We are safe in the knowledge that come Thursday many of us will be back in our rightful places behind the goal in Sir Alf Ramsey Way. And there could be many more come the next Premiership match against Arsenal in a little under a fortnight's time.

At the end of yesterday's match many of us queued up outside the portable building in Constantine Way to exchange our South Stand passes for new North Stand season tickets.

Yes, we'll be exposed to the elements. But we can't wait to get back to our rightful places.

It must have been difficult for those handful of fans taking our places to help create an atmosphere. But they appeared to be trying. And credit also to the club for issuing them with waterproof gear to help keep them dry. A thoughtful touch.

However, those makeshift Northstanders were left in no uncertain terms who the real Northstanders are as the chant rang out from on high at they looked towards the other end of the stadium.

With kick off looming a giant blue Ipswich Town shirt was passed across the heads of the top tier Southstanders.

Across the opposite side of the ground two England flags were draped across barriers. One which was rather large and had a Union Jack in the top left corner and a Town logo in the top right ... the other a smaller Union flag looking quite forlorn.

"North Stand, North Stand, give us song, give us a song, give us a song" rang out from on high and the small band duly obliged.

"We're going home, we're going home, we're going, Northstanders' going home" came the rendition as the loyal supporters realised that the next match was going to be viewed from a different position.

The two Bolton goals subdued the diehards sitting on high but Matt Holland's goal put us back in good voice.

With hope ever eternal in the mind of the Town fans "George Burley's Blue and White Army" rang out across the whole of the stadium as the Northstanders led the way as the second period got underway.

But we just couldn't lift the team enough to equalise and go on to gain all three points.

Thursday will be fun. It will be great to be back in our rightful part of the ground and taking part in such a high profile European match.

We'll give the team our usual vocal encouragement, and of course they'll be the customary banter. And dare I suggest Gary Glitter's "Good To Be Back" might be one of the renditions coming from the Northstanders.

But we know that the next home league game against Arsenal is likely to be more important as we help the team towards retaining its rightful place as a Premiership club.

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