All 12 entries tagged Town

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December 11, 2009

Will There Be Another My John

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When any team fails to comprehensively demolish a away-win-shy Sheffield Wednesday on a blustery and wet Saturday teatime in November, it is not that hard to avoid the club history books and looking back into the great moments of years gone by. However, in the case of Town, it is frustrating that the ‘good times’ either happened before I was born or when I was caring more about Pigeon Street than Portman Road, and I can never change that state of affairs.

September 09, 2009

Roy Keane: The Leader

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Four weeks have passed since the start of the Championship season, and my beloved Ipswich Town Football Club has yet to win a league match. At the moment whilst watching daily documentaries of the police fighting the causes of crime in Grimsby or Portsmouth, I am fighting a fierce battle in my mind.

Should I make snap judgements about the season that is still in its infancy, or has the Roy Keane bubble burst? I wonder whether I should be running to the metaphorical window to jump out of this season before GMT has begun, or try and be a bit more rational.

August 12, 2009

Me and My Mate Shak Part II Sent to Coventry

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It was another season, and I wanted to reintroduce my friend Shak to all things associated with Ipswich Town Football Club. We were catching the action in the comfort of Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. This was the third Town match that I had watched at this stadium, but the weather was sunny, and not dark, windy, cold and rainy like the other occasions. These previous matches had been largely forgettable affairs, made slightly better by the best Portman Road music in the league and a very catchy Play Up Sky Blues theme tune that could not get out of your mind.

August 02, 2009

A Perfect Tribute to Sir Bob

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Most of my trips to Portman Road involve a mad and manic dash from the car to my seat in the ground, in the mistaken belief that my seat will be taken and I will be stranded outside the ground having to listen to the shouts, screams and gripes through the stadium gates.

August 01, 2009

Farewell Sir Bobby

Farewell Sir Bobby!

In a weird way, it was not that unexpected. The papers had a picture of Sir Bobby at a charity match last weekend, and the great man looked very frail. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, his eyes still had the determination and the resolve that characterised so much of his football career.

It was an emotional sight but there was a strong sense of respect. Being an Ipswich Town fan, I know all about the legacy that Sir Bobby left to this club. It is just a shame that I was born in 1980 and can not remember those glory days of the seventies and early eighties. It was a startling achievement to take this club to FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory in 1978 and 1981, as well as preside over Ipswich’s domination of the leagues nearly thirty years ago.

There is a large statue on

Portman Road that sits opposite the Cobbold Stand. Sir Bobby has been sculptured in a questioning finger-pointing pose, and the face is etched in excitement as if he is enjoying the action on the pitch. It is a fantastic piece of artwork and became a focal point for people’s remembrance in Suffolk, as the sad news was released.

Before the recent pre--season game against Real Valladolid, I stood at the statue whilst the local TV stations did their broadcasts, young Town fans carefully draping their shirts around the statue base, and older fans quietly remembered those games that defined this proud family club, when Robson strode the touch line and coaxed the best out of legends including John Wark, Kevin Beattie, Paul Mariner and Arnold Muhren.

There was a sense of careful order amongst the grief. The one minute silence was impeccably observed. The only sound was a seagull flying across the pitch and wondering what was going on beside the wide patch of grass. The rigging of the half-mast flags was gently tingling above the Cobbold Stand. There was a sense of emotion but an appreciation and a respect for a football gentleman that defined four decades of the national game.

Sir Bobby seemed to straddle football clubs in the UK and across the world, and I do not believe that it was merely due to his position as England football manager from 1982 to 1990. The semi final against West Germany during the 1990 World Cup was the first national game that deeply entered my consciousness.

It is not hard to watch videotape footage of that dramatic game, and to watch the missed England penalties flying into the sky. It is also not hard to respect the measured attitude of Sir Bobby, who seemed to display an impressively calm demeanour and an offer of a comforting arm around his players, even if he was a raging volcano of emotion. He also seemed to adopt a shockingly measured approach in the 1986 World Cup, despite Maradona having scored a questionable goal in that searing heat of Mexico.

When you caught a sight of Sir Bobby, you knew that you could hear the words of a genuine football man who had a passion about the game. Instead of the rent-a-quote panellists that have grown like algae through the studios and the message boards, Sir Bobby always had something worthwhile to say coupled with a few memorable quotes that would liven up the dullest of matches.

The word ‘legend’ is overused in football. A player can become a ‘legend’ on the execution of one pass or a particular save. A manager can become a ‘legend’ after guiding his team to one fluky victory against the arch rivals. We can have a ‘legendary’ burger outside the ground when we build up to our match day experience.

We struggle to understand who is a legend and who is not, and we only begin to realise our heroes when they have to leave the pitch for the final time. Rest assured, we lost a legend in English and European football as the 2009-2010 season is about to spring into action, but we will never forget him.

July 02, 2009

When Time Stood Still

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Back in the eighties and nineties, there was a sensational show on BBC television called The Rock and Roll Years. Each programme was an exciting mix of news footage and popular culture from a particular year. There were no irritating celebrities waffling on about their love for space hoppers nor pointless opportunities for the general public to tell the world what they were doing in 1986.  

June 17, 2009

Keen on Keane

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Like many of us, I take a bus journey to work every day. The atmosphere on the bus is tense and angry. No one speaks or even looks at each other. Strangers sit next to each other and cower because they believe that the slightest human touch will contract a deadly infectious disease. The atmosphere is very British and not unlike an average tube journey from Liverpool Street.

March 21, 2009

Pulling The Wolves Over People's Eyes

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My friends looked at me with the expression that I was offering a ticket to Liverpool’s showdown with Real Madrid. I was in full gushing mood. I knew that I was stretching the elastic of truth, as I tried to persuade my friends to forgo the dramas of Eastenders and Champions League action, and enjoy Wolves versus Ipswich.

March 01, 2009

Strange Week

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What a weird week to be an Ipswich Town fan last week was. You start the week in one mood and you finish the week in another. We have been here before. There have been many occasions in my lifetime when I feel that the whole of the Portman Road fortress is going to cave in. Time passes and things start to become a little calmer. The team starts to play some decent football and we wonder what all the fuss was about.

A Trip to Yorkshire

A Trip to Yorkshire

I am off to Huddersfield in three weeks time and it is a journey into the relative unknown. I suppose that the town and myself have had some ‘history.’ I made a brief visit to the town on a sunny April Friday in 2003. It was a job interview at the St George’s Hotel.

I arrived too early so I meandered down the main shopping street, gazing at some shop windows, but not looking for anything in particular. I used a local newsagent as a time-killing device whilst I worked through the brightly coloured magazines, and got in the way of many frustrated lunchtime punters.

To calm my pre-interview nerves, I resorted to a little bit of local pub grub, and I found myself on the rooftop patio of a local inn, whilst I devoured a filled Yorkshire pudding and a pint of local brew. The interview was a total failure, but I was able to realise that it did not rain everyday in Yorkshire.

I have only made a few visits to ‘God’s own country,’ and I have a sketchy knowledge of the land of Countdown, Look North, Emmerdale and 3-2-1.I had a family holiday in Scarborough during the long hot summer of 1988. Fifteen years later I made a miserable shopping trip to Leeds, and played around with television cameras in a Bradford museum. I have recently ‘done’ Sheffield too, but I still do not know the ‘country,’ without resorting to remembering embarrassing stereotypes, dragging out images from various TV dramas and bread adverts, and trying to splutter out a Yorkshire accent. 

All of this is going to change when I take in Huddersfield versus Cheltenham at the Galpharm stadium on 21st March. On that sunny Friday in 2003, I could see the ground rising above the town, as the train dragged itself towards Manchester. It is going to be an interesting expedition and I am going with a work colleague. He is a proud Yorkshire man, with an accent that oozes the region in every single consonant and vowel.

When you are out and about around the UK, it is a pleasure to meet someone who supports their local team, so we had been talking about a visit ‘up north,’ as soon as possible. This trip was meant to have taken place last November for the Yorkshire derby against Leeds, but other commitments intervened. Saturday 21st March was subsequently set in stone, and time is ticking towards the big day.

I have watched Huddersfield during this season. We took in the Huddersfield v Leicester game at the Walkers Stadium in January. This was the first time that I had watched Huddersfield since a game in 1996, when Ipswich (my beloved Ipswich) beat Town by two goals to one. This was during my GCSE years of curtain hair, acne, and hanging around in shopping centres with the hope of a seeing a beautiful women.

My colleague was devastated by the result at the Walkers Stadium. I also sensed a bit of embarrassment but I had to remind him that I had watched those sorts of games at Portman Road. I promised that I would make the trip up the M1 to Huddersfield before the dying embers of the season, and that promise forced me to undertake a crash course on everything to do with Huddersfield Town.

You can not accuse me of being unprepared for this game. I have watched the greatest goals of Huddersfield Town down the years. I have heard about the great Town players that have graced the pitch in the great games of the past. I have been promised the complete ‘Huddersfield Town match going experience.’ I wonder what that means.

If you fancy an early morning drive on the M1 as the morning mist clears on Saturday 21st March, you will see my colleague’s electric blue panda chugging north through the South Yorkshire hills, taking a sharp left at Sheffield past the soulless Meadowhall shopping cathedral, and into deepest Yorkshire.

We are heading into Batley, which the atlas tells me is in a Bermuda triangle of the Yorkshire motorway system to see friends. I am going to visit the local social club, where my friend plied his trade amongst the spilt beer, prawn cocktail and meat and potato pies. I will sip the local brew and cope with the polite suggestions that I am a weak southerner, and unable to withstand ‘real’ weather and ‘real’ people ‘up north.’

I will insist on catching a bit of Look North, and my colleague has assured me that he is not a ‘Calendar’ boy. I hope for a bit of drizzle to get inside my coat to give me a little bit of local atmosphere, and the offer of hot soup to warm me up inside. I am looking for a slightly cut up pitch, which you used to see on every highlights package on TV during the 1970s. I am also hoping for three points for Huddersfield too. When I do these trips, a win for my compatriot’s team is always needed to perfectly round off the day.

So I hope for a day that will be remembered for years to come. I appreciate that Huddersfield v Cheltenham is a weird game to choose but I hope to find out a little bit more about my mate’s team. I also want to find out, more about a town that I have only briefly flirted with in the past, and more about a region that is known to me on purely basic level. It is going to be an interesting day.

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  • great work i am moved. are u on facebook or email as i would love to share my publication ideas for … by ned on this entry
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