Felixstowe lose a loyal follower
LOCAL football this week lost one of its best supporters.Ben the dog, an avid Felixstowe and Walton United follower for the last ten seasons, died in his sleep on Sunday night.
By Elvin King
LOCAL football this week lost one of its best supporters.
Ben the dog, an avid Felixstowe and Walton United follower for the last ten seasons, died in his sleep on Sunday night.
Not only did he watch most Felixstowe matches home and away, he also had his own column in the much-admired matchday programme.
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Ben was welcomed everywhere he went apart from Diss Town where he was once barred from the ground.
"This still rankles today," said Ben's owner Jayne Ryan, whose husband, Chris, is a Felixstowe club official.
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"It was hard going watching Felixstowe play at Bury Town on Tuesday night. They were one of the clubs that had a special relationship with Ben and their supporters used to send him a Christmas present every year."
Bury were not the only Jewson League club that took to the mild-mannered dog who went with Chris for a walk as normal on Sunday night but was found dead on Monday morning.
Clacton supporters regularly sent Ben biscuits while fans from Halstead Town used to send a doggy cake and a card at Christmas.
Ben, who was 13-and-a-half years old, began going to games with his owners soon after they moved to Felixstowe.
It was obvious from the start that he enjoyed his time watching football and Mrs Ryan confirmed that he got a genuine pleasure from his time spent on the touchlines.
"You could tell when it was a good game because Ben would remain still so that he could take in all the action. If it was not such a good match he would shift about a little.
"Often he would not take his eyes off the game and we have taken him to every Jewson League ground. If he could get a touch of the ball he would. That made his day.
"Recently, Ben suffered heart problems and he missed some of this season's Felixstowe matches."
He used to take his regular place beside the bottom goal at Dellwood Avenue and would wear a scarf specially knitted by Jayne's mum, Mary Ronson.
"Every time Felixstowe changed their strip, Ben would get a new scarf," added Mrs Ryan. "We miss him terribly."
And so will hundreds of local football fans around the region.
Phil Griffiths, who edits the Felixstowe matchday programme along with Chris Ryan, said: "Ben suffered a stroke last week, but looked to be recovering. Chris and Jayne are very upset, as are all of us who knew Ben so well.
"The old fellow became quite famous and his presence will be greatly missed."