Town appeal goes a long way

GAMBARE, Ipswich!That's what two boys have been shouting as play-off fever spreads outside the country – and all the way to Japan.Screaming 'Come on, Ipswich!' as they crouch round their computer listening to the highs and lows, the missed chances and wonder goals, the Johnsons have been suffering as much as anyone else during Ipswich's bid for Premiership action.

GAMBARE, Ipswich!

That's what two boys have been shouting as play-off fever spreads outside the country – and all the way to Japan.

Screaming 'Come on, Ipswich!' as they crouch round their computer listening to the highs and lows, the missed chances and wonder goals, the Johnsons have been suffering as much as anyone else during Ipswich's bid for Premiership action.

Oliver, 12, and ten-year-old Rory have lived abroad for the last seven years, but developed a passion for the club through their father Ian, who is an ardent Blues fan.


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Picking up the action on the internet radio, the boys desperately hope the Tractor Boys can hold off West Ham and make the play-off final.

Oliver said: "Apparently they played very well so I don't think they will have too much trouble. The commentators did really well so you get a good picture of the game.

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"The players seem pretty confident to get into the next division."

Rory, who admits he used to support Newcastle before moving abroad, added: "It was exciting, but it's hard because you don't know which side the teams are on so it can be difficult to picture it. I think it will be 50-50 with Crystal Palace, because I think we will meet them in the final."

Ian grew up in Ipswich, but then moved to West London where he met wife Karol .

The family later moved to Paris and then Japan four years ago due to Ian's work commitments with an insurance company.

Living in Futaoko-tamagawa, a suburb of Tokyo, they were lucky enough to see England play Sweden during the last football World Cup.

But they try to keep links with England and plan to settle in Ipswich next year.

Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle even stopped a training session so the boys could meet the players when they were over here in the summer of 2002.

The Blues boss remembered the brothers' visit to Portman Road two years ago.

He said: "They were smashing lads and it was a pleasure to see them. It's great to know they are still following us while they are so far away."

The lads are having a wonderful time in Japan but they should get a chance to see their heroes in the flesh next year.

Karol said: "The boys have enjoyed the whole experience. For us, it is important for them to identify with things back home, so it is nice."

Oliver added: "We are going to come back next year, so we will get much more of the action."

TODAY Joe Royle received an e mail of support from the boys in Japan.

It read: "We are Oliver and Rory Johnson who currently live in Tokyo..

We are great Ipswich Town supporters. We had the pleasure of meeting you a while ago. At the same time we had the opportunity to meet some of the players which we really enjoyed. We all listened with great excitement in Tokyo to the home game with West Ham and cheered noisily when Darren Bent scored. We have staying with us at present, our great uncle Jack, who has supported Town since 1946 and is a current season ticket holder. He is sad he is missing the play-offs but sends his best wishes along with us for the second match.

Best wishes to the team and good luck next game.

Oliver, Rory and great uncle Jack (we couldn't forget him)."

Some football phrases in Japanese

N Goaru! – Goal!

N Pee-kay! – Penalty!

N Shinpan wa momoku da! – The referee is blind!

N Matoki – Nutmeg.

N Kekkyoku, zenhan to kohan ga arimasu – At the end of the day, it's a game of two halves.

N Dare ga zenbu no pies o tabetta? – Who ate all the pies?

N Biiru nomu? – Do you fancy a beer?

N Norwich ni itta koto aru? – Have you ever been to Norwich?

Source: www.rsdjapan.com and japanvisitor.com

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