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August 26, 2009

The Football League Show

Writing about web page

This article has to be a bit of a collector’s item. It is not in my nature to have a go about the BBC and their football coverage. If I start to whinge about the BBC, I feel that I am taking a swipe about everything that is great about Britain. If I grumble about Match of the Day, I feel as if I am committing one of the biggest sins in British football. I was a bit young for David Coleman and Frank Bough but Des took me through the big football moments of my crazy childhood years. Gary has taken on the task over the last decade or so.  

July 20, 2008

Long Distance Ipswich Fans

Long Distance Ipswich Fans

For the people who have never spent a sustained period of time away from the Ipswich area, I wonder whether they would ever understand what life is like for a Town fan like me.

I have it pretty easy. I am currently positioned not that far from the notorious Catthorpe interchange in the football desert of Leamington Spa. There is a local football team called the Brakes which seem to be a plucky non-league outfit, and the current hammer house of horror show that is Coventry City, is just up the road.

Life is a lot easier then it was. We have the Internet forums as well as the online newspapers and coverage of championship issues is a little bit easier then it was. However I do not have satellite coverage, so my weekly digest of Town issues has often consisted of 30 seconds on a Sunday morning highlights show.

If Town played in the Midlands then I get the same footage on the regional news programmes. However, you can not really make a personal assessment on Ipswich’s play- off chances when you only see footage of Alan Lee shanking the ball and Danny Haynes falling over. So many questions are in my mind as the smiley presenters introduce their final story of new born tiger clubs at Dudley Zoo, and do the weather ‘live’ from beside

Birmingham New Street station.

When I come back to Suffolk, I walk into the typhoon of hype, speculation and anticipation. With a week of pre- match build up, I am back in the state of nervous breakdown, as I troop down Grove Lane on match day past Suffolk College. I feel as if it is 1996 all over again.

I have the greatest respect for the Town fans following the club as the song says “over land and sea.” My uncle has been one of those people over the last forty years and I always defer to his knowledge about the club that he adores. I can usually catch Town in the Midlands and it is fun to watch the team on their travels, but it is not quite the same.

I often think that the club does not quite get the fact that there are some fans living on the other side of the Copdock interchange. I do understand that the season ticket holders are the club’s lifeblood and should be treated with respect, and I do not expect to be given the same rights and responsibilities because I decided to move away from the Ipswich area.

I know that I will never get ‘live and uninterrupted’ coverage of Town versus Plymouth on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire. I know that ITV’s Central Television will not show any kick of Blackpool versus Ipswich.

It is not the club’s fault that if you miss the Saturday afternoon results programmes, and you have not got Internet access at home, you are left with the sterile environment of Ceefax to see if Town beat Sheffield Wednesday.

My situation is understandable in Leamington Spa, but the same can not be applied to certain Town fans in Leiston or Laxfield next season. I am no great lover of BBC Radio Suffolk and I note that this particular station will broadcast Town away games in the 2008/ 2009 season, but it is strange choice for the club authorities to have chosen SGR to have exclusive rights to Ipswich home fixtures. Although I understand that money talks with everything in football these days, I believe that Town have managed to destroy most of their greater Suffolk support at a stroke.

SGR disappears roughly north of Yoxford. The station is totally absent in Lowestoft, and it is doubtful whether you will be able to listen to the legendary Mick Stockwell in Colchester or Bury. For the fans of North and West Suffolk and North Essex who live for some live match commentary, and can not get to Portman Road for a variety of reasons whether to do with finance, physical reasons or transport, they have been effectively cut off from the club that they love.

Not everyone can access Ipswich World. If this is the plan to get more people to sign up to the Internet package, or to force more people from North Essex, North and West Suffolk to get to

Portman Road, it is probably going to fail.

I am thinking of our older fans, where the ‘match day experience’ is a little bit too much for them but like to keep in touch with the club that they loved. I am also thinking of fans of any age, living outside the SGR transmission area, who rely on the radio because they can not afford to get to or get into

Portman Road. The radio was a lifeline for these local fans. Although there will be regular reports, I am not sure it will be quite the same.

I want to reiterate that I have the greatest admiration for the supporters who follow Ipswich day in and day out. They will be at every single game from the pre season tours to the play off heartbreak, and I have total respect for them.

There is another group of supporters (not the glory hunters who disappeared like ships into the night following the 2002 relegation) but local fans who care passionately for this great club but can not get to every game, deserve some acknowledgement.

May 30, 2008


Writing about web page

Article for BBC Leicester Website March 2007 "Leicester University's Sikh Society organised the second ever University-based Langar, where anyone, no matter what their background is, can enjoy a free meal and find out about Sikhism. I believe that university life is all about experiencing new cultural customs for the first time, and students had that opportunity when the Leicester University Sikh Society organised the first ever Langar on campus."

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