Derby County’s defeat of Ipswich Town fails to dampen spirits of Fortuna Blues
- Credit: Gregg Brown
The final score was not in the script and neither were the treacherous conditions, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of around 200 foreign Ipswich Town supporters on Saturday.
Around 170 members from the Fortuna Blues fan club – a group made up of Fortuna Dusseldorf supporters – made their annual trip to Suffolk on Saturday, the 11th time they have done so, and watched Ipswich lose 1-0 at home to Derby.
They were joined by fans from Denmark and certainly made themselves heard in the Sir Bobby Robson Stand during the Rams defeat.
Three coach loads of Fortuna fans arrived at Princes Street, in Ipswich, just after 11am, having been delayed by the wind and rain, following their docking at Dover ferry port that morning. That was soon forgotten though once organiser and chairman Ulli Muensterberg stepped off the coach and headed to the Drum and Monkey Pub, orchestrating an impromptu Blues chant as he walked with fellow members.
‘Ipswich Town, Ipswich Town’, they shouted as they gathered behind a huge Fortuna flag for pictures.
Muensterberg is the chairman of the fan club, having lived in England and Ireland for a number of years and became a fan of the club in the early Nineties.
Another fan to make the trip, Jo Sturr, was introduced to the Blues in 1988, having spent time in England with a friend from Chelmsford.
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Sturr explains: “Ulli goes ground-hopping and, having grown fond of Ipswich Town, decided to organise a trip from Dusseldorf to back the team.
“The first tour attracted about 30 people and it has grown to today’s huge number.”
Sturr’s home-town club are currently sixth in the second tier of German professional football, having enjoyed some glory days and some lean times. Sound familiar?
He explained why he and his peers made the voyage to Portman Road every year.
“We are bounded in tradition with Ipswich,” added Jo, who added a Town tattoo to his back during this weekend’s visit.
“I have been a fan of Ipswich since 1985. On Friday evening my heart was with Fortuna. Now I have arrived in England, it is with Ipswich.
“There are similarities between the two clubs. Ipswich were in European competition and won the UEFA Cup while we reached the European Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1979, losing to Barcelona.
“Both teams have been up and down, we went as low as the sixth tier, went up to the top flight, and are now in the second division and are currently in the top six.”
Well placed for a promotion push one would imagine, just like Town?
“I hope they can join the Premier League again,” Sturr, who ironically named Derby’s Darren Bent as his favourite-ever Town player, revealed.
“When they get up they will receive lots of money and I think that will help them hold their place in the league. They will not go back down.”
The Fortuna fans raised a superb £450 for local charity the Bobby Bolton Appeal. Bobby is two-and-a-half and he suffers with frontal poly migration disorder which affects all aspects of developmental functions to his body and he also suffers from epilepsy. He has no head control and cannot sit unaided. It is hoped, with extra physio (from donations), he will be able to achieve this. Bobby is currently in hospital and has just come off life support due to bronchilitus.