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Purple or Blue - what a choice

PUBLISHED: 21:05 21 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:30 03 March 2010

Hundreds of rock fans and Town supporters could face the ultimate nightmare next month. Do they go to Portman Road to watch Ipswich in the UEFA Cup - or do they visit the Regent to see their rock idols in action.

Hundreds of rock fans and Town supporters could face the ultimate nightmare next month. Do they go to Portman Road to watch Ipswich in the UEFA Cup – or do they visit the Regent to see their rock idols in action.

Town season ticket holder and Deep Purple fan PAUL GEATER looks at the tug-of-war faced by fans.

SEPTEMBER 19 could be a Black (K)night for Town fans who are also devotees of rock.

That's the night the world's greatest heavy rock band, Deep Purple, play their delayed gig at the Regent Theatre.

But it's also the same night that Ipswich Town is due to play its first round first leg match in the UEFA Cup – providing we overcome Beggen on August 29.

Town fans with tickets for the concert will probably be praying that the first leg is away – but last season Town played at home first in all its UEFA cup ties.

Deep Purple had been due in Ipswich back in March, but Ian Gillan was struck down with a throat infection – bad news for the lead vocalist in the world's loudest band!

The second half of the tour was put off until the autumn – and the band are rolling into town next month.

It's the first time Deep Purple has played in Ipswich since the late 1960s, when they performed at the old St Matthew's Baths.

But what should football rockers do? Especially if Town draw a high-profile European club in the UEFA cup?

In fact, Ipswich are unlikely to attract one of the giants of the European game. We are a seeded club – and should avoid most of the big names.

But it is possible that Aberdeen or Hadjuk Split will be at Portman Road that night – and that would be quite an attraction.

A spokeswoman for the football club was confident that most fans would be at Portman Road.

"We're sure they would want to come here to cheer on the team – despite the rival attractions," she said.

And one person who will be there is the man in ultimate charge of the Regent, the borough's leisure spokesman John Mowles.

"Deep Purple isn't my kind of music – I shall certainly be at the football," he said.

"But I realise that for many people there will be a real dilemma – but that must often happen when concerts clash with football."

Like many fans of both forms of entertainment, my mind is torn – so I tried to contact someone who should be able to give me some advice.

Town legend Paul Mariner is a great fan of the rockers, and a friend of Ian Gillan.

When Gillan came to town in the early 1980s, Mariner and his teammates were invited on to the stage of the Gaumont – as it then was – to join in their set.

Mariner has remained friends with the band ever since – even though he now runs a soccer school in America.

Mariner's answerphone was on when I called, but a friend of his was in no doubt what his advice would be.

"If Paul wasn't actually playing in the match, he'd definitely be at the concert, no question about it!" I was told.

I have to admit at heart I feel the same way. I just can't give up my second row seat at the Regent to see my rock idols on stage.

After all Town will be playing in Europe again a few weeks later – but it could be another 33 years before Deep Purple come to town again!

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