Devoted Ian wins Fan of the Month award
THE first Ipswich Town Fan of the Month has been awarded to a devoted supporter who eats, drinks and sleeps the Super Blues.Ian Pennock, 34, received his special edition Ipswich shirt, complete with gold piping and 'Number 1 Fan' inscription on the back before Saturday's game against Everton at Portman Road.
By Nick Richards
THE first Ipswich Town Fan of the Month has been awarded to a devoted supporter who eats, drinks and sleeps the Super Blues.
Ian Pennock, 34, received his special edition Ipswich shirt, complete with gold piping and 'Number 1 Fan' inscription on the back before Saturday's game against Everton at Portman Road.
He was nominated by his grandfather for being such a loyal follower of George Burley's blue and white army.
Ian, has been a regular at Portman Road and at grounds around the country since he was a young boy and it is this devotion that prompted 87-year-old grandad Leslie Doyle to nominate him.
It was Mr Doyle that sparked Ian's obsession when he began taking him to watch Town as a child.
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Now it is Ian who takes his grandfather to Portman Road.
Mr Doyle said: "He has been a season ticket holder for a number of years and has followed Ipswich the length and breadth of the country.
"Whether it be wind or rain, hail or snow, win or lose, ill or healthy, you will always see Ian in his seat following the Blues.
"His blood is blue – Ian is Ipswich through and through and is probably the most loyal and true Blues supporter.
"Even during his three years at university in Sheffield, Ian still had his season ticket and travelled home for every home game and away for the away matches – that's loyalty for you."
Ian, who lives in Knights Lane, Kesgrave, goes to every Ipswich home game with his grandad and said he was delighted to win the award for September's fan of the month.
"It feels brilliant – especially to be the first one," he said.
"I wore the special shirt on Saturday and I will continue to wear it, but at the end of the season I will probably frame it."
Just seven days earlier, Ian had been watching England secure World Cup qualification against Greece at Old Trafford.
"That was also a special day – I am so pleased to be able to say that I was there."
Ian went to his first Town game at the age of nine – for the record, a goalless draw at home to Derby County in December 1976.
His favourite two games have come at different ends of his career as an Ipswich fan.
"The most obvious one is the
6-0 win against Manchester United in 1980. On the way home from that match, people were asking us the score and they couldn't believe it when we told them.
"The other is the play-off semi-final against Bolton last year. I was too young to go to Wembley in 1978 so finally getting to see Ipswich there was a dream."
Ian's first away game was the FA Cup semi-final defeat against Manchester City at Villa Park in April 1981 and he hasn't missed a game, home or away, since the League Cup tie in November 1997 against Oxford United when a business engagement forced him to miss the match.
He has been to around 70 league grounds in England and seen Town play at each end of the country – in Newcastle and Plymouth.
And Ian believes Ipswich will soon start to head up the table.
"I don't think it will be as good as last season but things turn around so quickly in football – I think we will finish 12th," he said.
Ian travelled to Torpedo Moscow for the first UEFA Cup match and will be heading for Helsingborg soon for the second round tie. If Ipswich survive that, Ian has already selected his dream opponents for the latter stages.
"My dream would be to go to Celtic Park and see Celtic play – though I hope they don't get knocked out of the Champions League," he said.
Every month for the next eight months, the Evening Star will be awarding a special Ipswich Town shirt to a specially-selected Blues Super Fan. Joining this exclusive club is simple – get someone to nominate you in writing and you could be standing on the Portman Road turf receiving your shirt, commissioned by TXU Energi and made by The World Of Punch.
You can e-mail your entry for the October Fan of the Month to email@example.com or send it to: Ben Collins, TXU Energi/ITFC Fan of the Month competition, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.