Sunday 28 May 2017

Portman Road - Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town - Portman Road

Ipswich Town Football Club
Portman Road

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  • Ipswich Town Football Club were formed in October 1878 as an amateur side known then as Ipswich A.F.C. It was under the local presidency of local MP Thomas Cobbold who had played football at Charterhouse School.
  • Ipswich A.F.C.'s first match was a 6–1 home victory over Stoke Wanderers at the Broom Hill ground on 2 November 1878. This was followed by a 2–0 victory over Harwich in the club's first away match. Losing only one game in 17 in its second season, the club was able to build enough interest to enrol players for a second team.
  • The club won their first trophy in the 1886–87 season, triumphing 2–1 against a team representing Ipswich School in the final of the Suffolk Challenge Cup.
  • In 1890, the club entered the qualifying rounds of the FA Cup for the first time and was knocked out in the final qualifying round by the 93rd Highlanders.
  • In 1907, Ipswich became founder members of the Southern Amateur League. The club narrowly avoided relegation in many of the following seasons, and suffered a club record 15–1 defeat at the hands of the Corinthians at Portman Road on New Year's Day, 1910. The outbreak of the First World War and the commandeering of Portman Road by the Army curtailed the 1914–15 season and organised football did not return until the 1920–21 season. Just one year later, Ipswich Town became champions of the Southern Amateur League, clinching the title on the last day of the season. The club won the league a further three times, in 1929–30, 1932–33 and 1933–34, before becoming founder members of the Eastern Counties Football League at the end of the 1934–35 season.
  • The club's first professional game at Portman Road resulted in a 4–1 win against Tunbridge Wells Rangers and the club went on to win the Southern League in their debut season. Mick O'Brien left after just one season following the death of his wife. Ipswich Town were managerless until 10 November 1936 when the club appointed Scott Duncan, who had left recently relegated Manchester United. He led Ipswich to third place in the 1937–38 season.
  • Ipswich Town F.C. were elected to The Football League on 30 May 1938 by a margin of just two votes, at the expense of Gillingham F.C., initially playing in Division Three (South). The club's last competitive match before the league was suspended due to the Second World War was a 1–1 draw with local rivals, Norwich City.
  • Ipswich had their most successful season to that point in 1960–61, winning the Second Division and promotion to the top level of English football, ahead of Sheffield United and Liverpool. In the top flight, Ipswich became champions of the Football League at the first attempt in 1961–62, with Ray Crawford joint English and European top scorer with Derek Kevan of West Bromwich Albion. Matt Busby described the title-winners as "... one of the First Division's most attractive sides ...". As English league champions, Ipswich qualified for European football for the first time. They met Maltese side Floriana in the European Cup, defeating them 14–1 on aggregate in the first round before losing to AC Milan in the second round; it would be another 11 years before the club would qualify for Europe again.
  • Bobby Robson was replaced at Ipswich by his chief coach, Bobby Ferguson. Ferguson made the transition from coach to manager in July 1982, but some success in the various cup competitions was offset by an end to the high league positions the club had enjoyed under Robson. In the three seasons from 1982–83 to 1984–85, Ipswich reached the FA Cup quarter-final and League Cup semi-final in 1985, but declined in the league, finishing 9th, 12th and 17th.
  • Having served on the board of directors since 1986, David Sheepshanks was appointed as club chairman in 1995. The next four seasons brought near-misses as the club flirted with promotion; in 1995–96, Ipswich fell one place short of the First Division play-off zone, and the ensuing three seasons brought successive semi-final play-off defeats.
  • In 2000, Ipswich qualified for the Division One play-off final, the last such match at Wembley Stadium before the stadium was to be redeveloped. They beat Barnsley 4–2 securing their return to the Premiership after an absence of five years.
  • Ipswich made only one major signing during the off-season, buying Hermann HreiĆ°arsson from Wimbledon F.C. for a club record £4m two days before the season commenced. Television pundits Rodney Marsh and Mark Lawrenson both agreed relegation would be the obvious outcome. Ipswich surprised the doubters; they sustained a high league position and narrowly missed out on qualification for the UEFA Champions League, when the team failed to win on the last day of the season against Derby County. The fifth-place finish gained the club a UEFA Cup place and earned George Burley the title of FA Premier League Manager of the Year, an award that until 2010 had, in every other season, been given to the manager of the Premier League champions.
  • Matteo Sereni and Finidi George arrived before the 2001–02 season to boost the squad for its foray into Europe. The club's league form was poor, and 18 games into the campaign, Ipswich were bottom of the table with just one league victory. However, there was some relief in the UEFA Cup with a victory over Inter Milan 1–0 at home in the third round, despite which the tie was lost over two legs after a 4–1 defeat at the San Siro. From bottom of the table at Christmas, a run of seven wins from eight fixtures appeared to have secured the team's league status, but another decline set in and relegation was confirmed on the final day of the season with a 5–0 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield. The loss of income due to relegation to the Championship contributed to the club going into financial administration, resulting in the sale of a number of players including Jamie Clapham, Darren Ambrose, and club captain Matt Holland. Ipswich had the consolation of again qualifying for the UEFA Cup, through UEFA's Fair Play system, losing in the second round to Czech side Slovan Liberec. A poor start to the domestic season, leaving the club 19th in the table by mid-October, resulted in George Burley being sacked after nearly eight years as manager. The club would then remain in the Championship until relegation in 2019 to League One.


My 1st ever visit to Portman Road would come in 2003. This would become my 1st ever away game supporting Gillingham, I had only really been supporting the club 2 years prior to this and not really being into away games when starting to support Gillingham, Ipswich would become my 1st ever away day and it was quite a memorable one too. Ipswich were having a fairly good season at the time, in the end finishing in the Play Offs. What better way to start the 1st of many away days with a 4-3 win in the last minute thanks to Mark Saunders for slotting the ball home to have away fans erupt and pick up 3 points. My 2nd visit came a year later on the opening day of the 2004/05 season with a 2-1 loss, skipper Paul Smith grabbing our goal. I remember vaguely getting a lift with Dad to the game and just making kick off due to traffic problems I believe it was. It would then be 15 years later on my 3rd visit to Portman Road on Boxing Day in 2019.


Ipswich Town 0-0 Gillingham
Thursday 26th December 2019
League One

This was one I was looking forward to when the fixtures were released in June. I hadn't visited Portman Road for 15 years, so I was keen to get the blog updated and get some photos in. Typically this would be on Boxing Day which annoyingly would fall on a Thursday when I work on Thursdays. Annoyingly it was a pain in the backside to get the day off work, luckily after negotiating to do a morning shift then head straight off to Ipswich. Ideally would have preferred to get the day off but wasn't meant to be. After doing the morning shift and finishing at 11, getting ready at work then headed off to Gillingham to pick up Nick a very good mate and then drive to Ipswich. We left Nick's around 11.50, slight traffic problems along the way but luckily weren't too bad and we arrived at Ipswich just after 2pm. We parked at the multi-storey car park at Ipswich railway station. £5 to park there for 24 hours so not majorly too bad. We headed to the ground and got stopped by an Ipswich vlogger who asked if I could ask some questions for his YouTube channel (below) and of course I was happy to answer. Was very cold and I was reasonably tired so I was a little camera shy but still was happy to answer questions none the less. After taking some photos, headed into the ground and wasn't long until the game kicked off.

From 3.44 mins on you can see me being interviewed. Apologies for not talking too much, was freezing and tired at the same time at the time!



VISIT 1: Ipswich Town 3-4 Gillingham 1/11/03
VISIT 2: Ipswich Town 2-1 Gillingham 7/9/04
VISIT 3: Ipswich Town 0-0 Gillingham 26/12/19


Ipswich Town have been playing at Portman Road since 1884. Before that the club played at 2 grounds, Broom Hill and Brook's Hall. Portman Road expanded in 2002 and it's current capacity is 30,311 of which away supporters are located in the upper tier of the Cobbold Stand of where up to 1,900 supporters can be allocated. Portman Road is only a 5 minute walk away from Ipswich railway station.


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