Ipswich Wanderers in the wilderness

IPSWICH Wanderers can be excused if they feel they are banging their heads against a brick wall.Although playing in the competitive Premier Division of the Jewson League they have failed to attract the attention of the public.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Wanderers can be excused if they feel they are banging their heads against a brick wall.

Although playing in the competitive Premier Division of the Jewson League they have failed to attract the attention of the public.

Only 42 people paid to watch last Saturday's 402 home victory over Ely City – equalling the lowest attendance of the day in the Jewson League.

While 175 paid to watch Lowestoft Town beat Tiptree 4-1, there were also three crowds in the First Division – at Wisbech, Leiston and Halstead – that ran into three figures.

"We pulled in the same number as Brightlingsea, who were playing Warboys in the First Division," said Wanderers secretary Martin Head. "With the greatest respect to Brightlingsea there should be no comparison.

Most Read

"When times are low and we are wondering where the next point, or even goal, is coming from it does not help knowing that we can only attract such low levels of interest.

"As the second best club in Ipswich we feel we deserve to be better supported. If we averaged around 100 a game it would transform the club.

"We had 158 for a recent well publicised game against Woodbridge Town on a Friday night, but that was very much a one-off.

"Felixstowe and Walton described our crowds as criminal and they are not far wrong."

Wanderers made considerable money from their small run in the FA Cup this season, and this has eased their financial position short term.

"It is not a critical situation because we have a number of hard workers at the club who keep our heads above water," added Head. "But what a tremendous difference a few more through the turnstiles would make."

Wanderers ground in Humber Doucy Lane is the base for the club's PASE full time soccer school run by Colwyn Rowe. This is already beginning to bear fruit with 11 boys from the centre having featured in the first team at some stage this season.

Soccer School members Jamie Baker and Jermaine Harewood and 17-year-old Lee McGlone, with three goals in two first team games, have come to the fore with Ipswich Town showing an interest in the latter.

Harewood's father Winston is one of the more experienced players in the side along with Danny Cattermole and Nick Guyon.

Wanderers have won three of their last four league games, plus a splendid 5-1 victory over Lowestoft Town in the quarter-final of the Jewson League Cup. Former FA Carlsberg Vase winners Diss Town are the visitors tomorrow when Jason Evans will be in goal.

With James Hollman now coaching at Norwich City, James McKenna has been playing in goal as Evans had committed himself to SIL Ipswich Athletic on Saturdays.

McKenna is now in the first team at Melton St Audry's in the SIL, with Evans now set to become a Wanderers regular.

Stowmarket Town and Woodbridge Town are also at home in attractive looking fixtures. The former entertain Lowestoft while the latter play host to Great Yarmouth. Felixstowe and Walton United, in need of points at the wrong end of the table, know the importance of a good result at bottom-placed Swaffham Town.

In the First Division Leiston, with the influential Carl Chenery having joined from Lowestoft Town, travel to Somersham. Needham Market should beat Brightlingsea at Bloomfields while Whitton are at March and Hadleigh at Downham.

AFC Sudbury will be seeking a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase when Ryman League Division Two Great Wakering. The Essex side is second, seven points behind leaders Lewes after their 3-0 midweek win over Romford.

Sudbury are champions-elect of the Jewson League and manager Keith Martin's side are favourites to win this national competition this year.

Tiptree United are at home to holders Taunton while Wroxham, who are overdue a decent run in the Vase, entertain Nottingham-based Arnold Town.

Arnold, who have made club history by reaching the fifth round, include defenders Bryn Gunn and Brett Williams, ex-Nottingham Forest players and no strangers to top-flight cup competitions.

Gunn appeared in the 1980 European Cup final against Hamburg and Williams played in the 1992 League Cup final against Manchester United.