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'Finally the club listened... Our journey from darkness to light is well underway' - Butcher's stirring letter to Town fans

PUBLISHED: 16:12 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:12 04 November 2019

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert with club legend Terry Butcher. Photo: Pagepix

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert with club legend Terry Butcher. Photo: Pagepix

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Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher says the club's 'journey from darkness to light' is well underway.

Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher, manager Paul Lambert and academy chief Bryan Klug watch an Under-23s game at Playford Road. Photo: Ross HallsIpswich Town legend Terry Butcher, manager Paul Lambert and academy chief Bryan Klug watch an Under-23s game at Playford Road. Photo: Ross Halls

The former England international is president of the Supporters' Club and penned a letter to be read out at its AGM last Thursday.

Currently away coaching Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F, he wrote the following:

"Dear chairman, fellow committee members and ITFC fans, a big welcome to tonight's Supporters' Club AGM.

"I am so sorry that I cannot be with you this evening as I am sure it will be one of the most pleasurable Annual General Meetings for a long, long time.

Terry Butcher (right) witbh manager Paul Lambert, owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill ahead of Ipswich Town's game at MK Dons earlier this season. Photo: PagepixTerry Butcher (right) witbh manager Paul Lambert, owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill ahead of Ipswich Town's game at MK Dons earlier this season. Photo: Pagepix

"I am going to miss seeing the smiles, optimism and sheer happiness on your faces as Town leads the fight back to the Championship; a stark contrast to all the gloom and doom surrounding Portman Road last season.

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"It is typical with me that I became president in the worst year of the club's history, and then to miss out on all the fun and excitement of a buoyant promotion campaign 12 months later.

"There were some very dark days last year but there was, and always will be, great optimism on your committee; a committee that is strong and hard-working with a fierce and loyal determination to do what is right for all you fans.

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers celebrates the recent 3-1 win at Southend United. Photo: Ross HallsIpswich Town captain Luke Chambers celebrates the recent 3-1 win at Southend United. Photo: Ross Halls

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"I really loved being back with the die-hard supporters once again, and the committee meetings took me back to memories of yesteryear; standing on a milk crate at the front of Churchmans in 1967, progressing further up the terracing to see Barcelona put to the sword by Gatesy & co and bunking off school to journey by car and bus to Filbert Street for the 0-0 FA Cup replay against Leeds in 1975.

"Ipswich Town was our club then and it is ours again now, having been returned to us by Paul Lambert and his rejuvenated squad.

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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert and his staff Matt Gill, Jimmy Walker, Stuart Taylor and Jim Henry met club legends Terry Butcher, George Burley and John Wark soon after taking charge. Photo: ITFCIpswich Town manager Paul Lambert and his staff Matt Gill, Jimmy Walker, Stuart Taylor and Jim Henry met club legends Terry Butcher, George Burley and John Wark soon after taking charge. Photo: ITFC

"The manager has been totally overwhelmed by your reaction but, as I have told him on several occasions, the support and passion has always been there, but it needed to be reconnected and re-energised by displays on the pitch and honesty off it.

"It's a brilliant time to be a Town fan - our journey from darkness to light is well under way, and it's a big, powerful blue light too!

"There's still a lot of hard work ahead and a long way to go, but unity and spirit have returned, allied with a stronger belief than ever before.

"Pride in the team, in the club and in ourselves has grown enormously and it will become stronger if we all continue to pull together.

Ipswich Town have made a flying start to life in League One. Kayden Jackson and James Norwood celebrate during the recent 3-1 win at Southend. Photo: PagepixIpswich Town have made a flying start to life in League One. Kayden Jackson and James Norwood celebrate during the recent 3-1 win at Southend. Photo: Pagepix

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"Finally, I will close now by saying a huge thank you to Mark (Ramsey, chairman of the Supporters' Club) and the committee for all their brilliant effort and inspiration, thanks to (owner) Marcus (Evans), Paul (Lambert) and the club for listening to us (finally) and to you, simply the best fans in the world.

"Come On You Blues! Terry Butcher (President)."

Meanwhile, in his opening address to fans present at the AGM, Peter Over, the Ipswich Town PLC Director, said: "What a year we have had. This time last year we were sitting here in despair, doom and gloom.

"The new manager says we're going on a journey and there will be a few bumps and bruises along the way. We've had some bumps and bruises but it's a wonderful journey and we're enjoying it at the moment.

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"Thanks goes to Paul and team, the players and all the staff at Playford Road - they do a wonderful job and work tirelessly for the club. We don't always agree with what they say and do, but it's always in the best interests of the club.

"Most importantly though, and Paul has said this himself, it is our fans who have been the real stars. You have been an absolutely amazing bunch of people.

"You could have gone either way, but you've supported this club and it's an absolute pleasure and privilege and a joy to be associated with you.

"We are the envy of many due to you people. All the grounds we visit you pack out and make so much noise. All the away directors are very envious.

"So congratulations to you all because without you we'd be nowhere. The fans must take a hell of a lot of credit."

Ipswich Town now have two games in hand on the teams around them at the top end of the League One table following a blank weekend.

Lambert's men, who won 3-1 at Southend last time out, take on Rochdale, at Spotland, tomorrow night.

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