'Together we can make Portman Road a fortress' - Ashton's call to fans

Ipswich Towns Chief Executive Officer Mark Ashton celebrates with fans.

Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton celebrates with fans following the 1-0 win at Lincoln. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton is determined to see Portman Road become 'a fortress'.

Town have attracted crowds of between 18,000 and 21,000 for the opening seven home League One games of the season and supporters have certainly not been short-changed when it's come to entertainment.

First, there were three successive 2-2 draws, against Morecambe, MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon. Then came a 5-2 humbling at the hands of Bolton followed by a last-gasp equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

Since then, the Blues have won back-to-back games on Suffolk soil, Saturday's 2-1 victory against Shrewsbury following on from the 6-0 midweek thrashing of Doncaster. 

"Seeing Portman Road under the lights with 18,000 fans was just incredible and again reminds me of the size of the opportunity that lies ahead for all of us," said Ashton, addressing supporters in the club programme.

"One of the most exciting things for me about being at this football club is the space in front of us. We must always respect the past, the history and the amazing tradition that the club has, but we must also build for the future.

"That excites me so much because there is so much to do, so many areas we can enhance and develop, and so many opportunities to take the club forward and make a real difference.

Most Read

"As ever, I make no apologies for repeating this.... We can only do this together. I want to drive attendances at home, I want to build a Portman Road that we are all proud to come to and to build a Portman Road that is packed for every home game."

Reflecting on the recent 2-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley, he said: "Following a long journey for our supporters, we were brought down to earth with a real bump at Wham Stadium. Paul (Cook) and the players, in simple terms, know that wasn't good enough. We set our standards higher and whether we win, lose or draw, we need to be better. Rest assured, Paul and the team are fully aware of that.

"Winning is something that needs to be embedded into the culture of the club from staff to managers to players. It will be a theme that runs right through the football club that everyone needs to understand.

"Winning isn't something that comes easy, and winning isn't something that just happens. If it did, we would all be superstars. Winning is earned and I've said to the staff and the players before, it starts with the little things.

"We need to make sure our home is a fortress on the pitch and is a home that our fans enjoy and can be proud of again."

Town make the short trip to Cambridge United on Saturday, with Blues fans to make up 2,500 of the sell-out 7,944 crowd at The Abbey Stadium.

A midweek trip to Portsmouth follows, with Cook's men back at Portman Road for the visit of Fleetwood on Saturday, October 23.

Mark Ashton first day 9

Ipswich Town's new CEO, Mark Ashton - Credit: Ross Halls

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter