Paul feeling blue after scooping prize

HE lives just five minutes from Carrow Road, but Paul Saunders has been named winner of the E.ON Ipswich Town True Blue supporter of the year.Paul, who has lived in Norwich for eight years, has supported the Blues since he was young.

Elvin King

HE lives just five minutes from Carrow Road, but Paul Saunders has been named winner of the E.ON Ipswich Town True Blue supporter of the year.

Paul, who has lived in Norwich for eight years, has supported the Blues since he was young. He has painted his house in Ipswich Town colours.

“I can't believe I have won this unbelievable prize, it is definitely worth the grief I get on Derby day,” he said.

Paul wins a pair of 20-year season tickets after proving himself the ultimate fan.

Over 1,000 Town fans entered the competition over the course of the season - each giving their reason as to why they are Town's biggest fans in an attempt to win such a coveted prize.

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One fan stood out in the minds of the judges who included Town chairman David Sheepshanks, first team captain Jason De Vos and Mike Thompson, head of sponsorship and events at E.ON.

The Junior True Blue competition also proved a difficult one for the panel, but after careful consideration Emma Pajak emerged winner.

Seven-year-old Emma regularly travels to Portman Road from Leicestershire and is the club's youngest psychic fan.

Last summer she predicted Pablo Counago's return to Ipswich. “I had a dream that Pablo would come back and then it came true,” she said. “It was amazing!”

Emma's mother Caroline added: “Emma was a season ticket holder before she was born and loves the Blues - she was so surprised to have won and can't wait to take her friends to the Hull home game of the season and see Pablo again.”

Dedication to the Blues ranged from tattoos of former managers, the naming of children and pets after Town legends, to travelling from far and wide (from Scotland to South Africa) to watch the Blues play at Portman Road.

Runner-up Kath Miller has been a visitor of Portman Road since the 1940s and Michael Sawyer has only missed two home games in more than 50 years.

Ruth Mann and Gary Steed on the other hand literally took their support of the Blues home with them - Ruth constructed a replica North Stand in her back garden while Gary renamed his home Churchmans.

De Vos said: “We know we have a loyal fan base, but it has been great seeing how far fans will go, to show their devotion to The Blues. True Blue has offered a fantastic way to reward those fans and I have enjoyed judging the hundreds of entries that we received.”

E.ON are ending their sponsorship this season and Thompson said: “Congratulations to Paul and Emma, their loyalty and commitment to Ipswich Town is fantastic and both are deserving True Blue winners.

“After seven years of sponsoring the club we wanted to reward the vital role fans play in the club. Our True Blue campaign offered the perfect opportunity to recognise their support and ongoing dedication to the club.”

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