Sir Bobby Robson: Ipswich Town celebrate best-ever open day at Portman Road on fifth anniversary of club legend’s death
He will long be remembered as one of Ipswich Town’s most successful managers - and surely there is no better way of celebrating the life and career of Sir Bobby Robson than to give fans the chance to be a part of the club for which gave so much to.
It is no surprise then that yesterday’s open day at Portman Road was hailed the best ever, with more than 3,000 people turning up to enjoy some fun in the sun.
Throw in the fact it was Sir Bobby Robson Day, the Football Association were at the ground to award £25,000 to his cancer treatment foundation and that there was the chance for fans to join in with a massive team photo – it is little wonder the ITFC shirts were out in force.
A host of VIPs attended the event including Sir Bobby’s widow Lady Elsie, one of his three sons Mark, former Blues chairman David Sheepshanks and former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, a regular in Sir Bobby’s national teams.
Town’s press manager, Steve Pearce, said the open day was “absolutely brilliant” with the expanded team photo proving incredibly popular.
Anyone wearing the new season’s home shirt was able to file into the seats of the East of England Co-op stand for the shot with manager Mick McCarthy and the first team.
“They were queuing up outside for the Adidas team group picture which has gone down really well,” Mr Pearce said. “I think we had six or seven hundred Town fans take part in that.
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“I did hear a whisper they were thinking of even closing the gates because there were so many people in. It’s probably the most successful open day ever.
“The players and manager have bought into it really well, but we don’t have to work on them. You ask them the question if they’re happy to do it and Mick’s putting it in the diary straight away.
“Mick’s absolutely like that. He’ll go out and shake everybody’s hand, he’s spoken to the fans that were there and chatted away to them and that’s even before the signing session at the end.
“It’s important and they’re great, a really good group of players to work with and they do a lot of work in the community and this is a community club.”
Mr Pearce added the work done by club staff had been crucial in making the day such a success.
“A lot of work goes on behind the scenes with the staff, particularly Julie Bryant and Jade Cole who spent sleepless nights putting this together,” he continued.
“It all looks like it runs seamlessly but it runs seamlessly because of the work they’ve done behind the scenes.
“Ipswich Town is a big family club, it’s always been a family club since I was a kid so it’s got to stay that way.
“We’ve got do as much as we can to encourage the youngsters who live round Ipswich to support their local club and not go down the route of following Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal.”
To read Sir Bobby’s son Mark’s thoughts on his father and ITFC’s open day click here.
To see what Peter Shilton said about his former England manager click here.