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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

Open letter to Ipswich Town fans on Twitter: Why, oh why are you staying away from Portman Road?

PUBLISHED: 11:09 22 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:58 22 September 2017

Town fans singing their hearts out at the end of the win against Brentford last month. Photo: Steve Waller

Town fans singing their hearts out at the end of the win against Brentford last month. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town supporter Mike Dove has written an open letter to fellow Blues fans on Twitter after last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Bolton was played in front of the lowest league crowd at Portman Road in 19 years. Here it is, plus some reaction.

Only 14,164 fans attended Ipswich Town v Bolton Wanderers at last weekend - the lowest league attendance at Portman Road in 19 years. Photo: Steve WallerOnly 14,164 fans attended Ipswich Town v Bolton Wanderers at last weekend - the lowest league attendance at Portman Road in 19 years. Photo: Steve Waller

To my fellow Ipswich Town fans,

I’ve often thought about writing an open letter to other Ipswich fans over the past 1-2 years. I always eventually went off the idea, due to the negative it may have received from certain fans who only seem to thrive on matters of a negative nature.

However, after saturday’s win against Bolton I felt compelled to do so this time. What will it achieve? Probably nothing other than the aforementioned people having a laugh at my expense.

My first ever match was actually the Cup Final in ‘78, not that I remember anything about it. I have followed Ipswich religiously since 1986 when I was 10 years old and my first ever game at Portman Road was when one of our many legends, Jason Dozzell, made his debut. I was hooked from thereon in.

Like many other fans who live and breathe our truly amazing club, I have travelled the length and breadth of the country to follow the Town through thick and thin. Nowadays it’s not so easy; I live in Oxford and am married with two children. I aim to get to Portman Road 10-15 times a season and get to away games when I can.

The last couple of seasons have plainly not been great for Ipswich fans, the players, management, staff and owner alike.

This letter is not about going into opinions on why things have gone wrong on the pitch. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, although I think the way some fans deliver it in this age of social media is totally abhorrent.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: Steve WallerIpswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: Steve Waller

This is meant to be a club they love and want to do well. The manner of social media attacks on players, management etc was hardly going to inspire positive performances on the pitch. It would have worn down the hardiest of souls eventually. Thankfully the squad and manager pulled together and kept us up.

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I, like many, have my own private frustrations with certain things going on at Ipswich currently. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Mick McCarthy and feel he has worked wonders with very little resources and huge slices of bad luck at points. That’s just my opinion though.

My issue – and the point of this letter – is with certain Town fans who are staying away from Portman Road this season. Last season, as we know, was one to forget for the most part. It drove me mad that people stayed away then, but that’s history.

Over the summer the owner gave Mick money and I believe that was well spent. The club also lowered match day prices. On Saturday, my wife and daughter sat in great seats in the Co-op Stand for just £28 in total.

Every season starts with a swell of confidence for all football fans across the country and I’d like to think it’s the same for Town fans. We started with, and still have, a pretty horrific injury list. Yet we’ve had a fantastic start and picked up five wins from seven matches. Whetehr people think it’s been against weak sides or that we’ve had luck, that’s irrelevant. You can only beat what’s in front of you.

We still have a number of players to come back and, from the outside looking in, the squad spirit is as good as ever.

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This could be a season when very good things could potentially happen. There is, however, a very fine line between that and having a bad season. Luck also plays a part in that. We’ve all seen what happens when a team gets on a role in this insane league and momentum keeps going.

We have the foundation in place with our good start. Hopefully, when everyone is back fit, we can go a long way towards getting things back to where we all want them to be.

Why, oh why are a number of fans staying away from Portman Road? Do you have any idea just how huge the part you play during a game is? Fans had a lot to say about season tickets prices, performances, lack of signings etc over the summer. Well the club listened and responded in a positive manner.

The boys then started the season at home very well indeed. What is the excuse of the stay away fans now? If you want the club you love so dearly to succeed then you should be theer in numbers packing it out and giving the players the extra lift to achieve even higher performance levels, not just for the so-called bigger fixtures.

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Staying away is achieving nothing, other than you missing out and probably disappointing the players. Many owners, managers and players say that results is what brings the fans back. I’ve generally believed this to be true.

Smells like team spirit: Cole Skuse is mobbed by team-mates after his rare goal put Ipswich Town ahead against Bolton last weekend. Photo: Steve WallerSmells like team spirit: Cole Skuse is mobbed by team-mates after his rare goal put Ipswich Town ahead against Bolton last weekend. Photo: Steve Waller

We have won all but one of our home games, the prices have been reduced, new players have been signed, our existing best players are buzzing and the youngsters coming through from the academy are very exciting. To me, it all equates to a pretty good reason to get down to Portman Road.

Or are you making some sort of stand against the owner and manager? Seems to me like you are the ones missing out and the players are the victims.

A much busier stadium obviously means more revenue and, fingers crossed, in time would mean more budget for players and even more competitive pricing structures for tickets. Above all it will create a big swell of positivity and a brilliant atmosphere on match day and in the town in general.

Even if there are still gripes among certain fans with the way the club is run or the team is managed, do the players deserve to come out on match day when they are actually winning to see a more than half-empty stadium?

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I spoke to a chap on Saturday after the Bolton game and he said ‘I’m not coming next game because the football in the first half was rubbish’. What about the pretty decent and promising second half that won us the game? This mentality is crazy!

It’s only my opinion, but I think we could be on the cusp of something pretty special, but equally we could be on the precipice of something pretty worrying if fans continue to stay away when the results are actually there.

I’m obviously not pinning the success or failure of the club on the fans. I think we have some of the best fans in the country and our away support backs that up. I just feel that if the club is acting upon a lot of the issue fans had, yet they are still staying away, then that is worrying and needs to be addressed by us, not the club.

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We, the fans, are the lifeblood of the club and will always be there. Players, managers and owners come and go, but we won’t. Why sit at home moaning about the style of football, the prices, the owner, the players etc? Seems to me like a whole waste of time, make the most of it and cheer our beloved club through thick and thin.

Let’s buck the trend of the stereotypical moaning football fan, get behind the boys in blue and get us back to where we belong! COYB!!!

– Mike Dove (@33Dovey)

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