Monday, 27 December 2010

Hearts FC - Haymarket war Memorial

The media - both TV and papers still like to portray Rugby Union as a sport with slightly more class than football. Seeming to forget that both sports are now professional, every time a football ref is harangued by football players the media quickly reminds everyone that it 'would not happen in rugby!'

This image of Rugby Union as a more respectable sport, more patriotic and so on has existed for many years, since the Public Schools dropped football with the accusation that football had been unpatriotic by not stopping fixtures as soon as World War One started. This myth still continues as does the modern myth that football has much to learn from Rugby. What is not often mentioned is 'bloodgate', sponsorship on the England Rugby Union shirt, and Twickenham over priced and aimed at the corporate market.

But it is the role of football in World War One where the myth is totally unjust. It is true that Rugby Union has been better at remembering those who gave their lives for their country, even as recent as this year, Ipswich Rugby FC held a remembrance day at their Humber Doucy Ground and included a wreath laying and matches between the junior sides of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

But Football should also be proud of those who both played football and then went onto play their part in a much more formidable battle.

This year in Longueval, France saw a memorial unveiled to commemorate those footballers who lost their lives in World War One, in particular those of the 17th and 23rd Middlesex Battalions, known as the Footballers' Battalions. The memorial was payed for by contributions by both the PFA and the Football League.
In Edinburgh it is possible within one mile to see that both Rugby Union and Football lost many young men in the service of their country.

At Murrayfield the home of Rugby Union you will find a memorial gate to those who lost their lives in the Great War but currently you have to look a bit harder for a memorial to those who played football and then lost their lives in both World Wars.
As you walk to Murrayfield from the City Centre, you pass the Haymarket, a busy road junction, that is currently part junction/part building site but in the middle of the junction, pinned on the safety fences were a number of poppy wreaths. the reason why is that up to 2008 the Haymarket junction was the location of a Clock Tower that was built in 1922 as memorial to those who had lost their lives in the Great war, but in particular those who had either played for Hearts FC or their supporters. As with the Middlesex Regiment in Scotland a regiment of footballers had been formed, The Sir George McCrae Battalion of the Royal Scots, 11 members of the Hearts Football club joined this regiment on the day it was formed and four of them would not return from France.

Edinburgh is currently re-introducing trams to the city and this meant that the Haymarket junction would have to be redesigned. There was talk of moving the clock to either Tynecastle or to Atholl Crescent, but a public outcry has meant that the Clock will return to the Haymarket, in a new location, outside Ryrie's Bar. On Remembrance Day, wreath laying is held at the site of the Tower and is attended by the Hearts players and their supporters as well as representatives of other clubs.

Every year now we have a number of clubs wear a special poppy shirt, and who will forget the silence-0 followed by applause when the 'Last Post' was played at Portman Road in November before a game by a bugler from the Royal Hospital school. It is right that sport should help remember those are currently serving in the Armed Forces and those who lost their lives, but it also as important to remember those from sport who also paid the ultimate sacrifice and both Football and Rugby Union (plus many other sports) lost many gifted sportsman in both wars.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow and a win!!

Saturday 18th December, Ipswich Town 3 Leicester City 0, Championship - Portman Road
It snowed- was on Sky, should never have been played but!!! We won (and played well)

Sunday, 12 December 2010


Saturday 11th December 2010, Preston North End 1 Ipswich Town 0 - Deepdale, Championship

The football? I am losing any interest in talking about Ipswich and our run of defeats - will Roy stay? Go? Not sure I care either way now.

Bu what was great about the visit to Preston is to see the Sir Tom Finney statue. I am a big fan of statues outside grounds, but there can be a bit of 'sameness' about some of them - the statues of Bobby Moore and Peter Osgood are very similar but at Preston we do have a one that is in a class of it's own.

The Sir Tom Finney 'Splash' statue is a mixture of fountain/statue and is fantastic, the idea is from a photograph from a Chelsea-Preston game from 1956, which I believe won the Sports Photograph of the Year award in 1956. It is worth the visit. the other great thing about visiting Preston in the past was the chance to visit the National Football Museum, now moved to Manchester, the building and signs are still at Deepdale but not sure what the building is now being used for.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Bloody cold!

Tuesday 7th December 2010, Ipswich Town Reserves 1 Luton Town Reserves 2 - Ipswich Town Training Ground, Playford Road

1st Team can't win, Youth Team can't win and now the Reserve Team can't win! Oh and it was that bloody cold, even Roy Keane had to wear a wooly hat!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Will the last one leaving the ground, turn the floodlights off!

Saturday 4th December 2010, Ipswich Town 1 Swansea City 3 - Championship

Great win over WBA but it went all wrong again today, OK we did have the worst ref in the country but poor defending like last week was to blame. Just over 16,000 in the ground, Roy must wonder if he is much longer for this club.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Emirates bound!

Wednesday December 1st 2010- Ipswich town 1 WBA 0 League Cup Quarter Final

A lot can change in football in a very short time! In just over 70 hours we had a team in blue that was a disgrace going to a team that we all could be proud of, a true Ipswich Town team, trouble was it has been so bad over the last few weeks and so cold last night that just over 10,000 Town fans saw this great win, probably the same number of fans we will take to Arsenal for the Semi Final 2nd Leg - well done Ipswich (and Roy)

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Sunday 28th November 2010, Norwich City 4 Ipswich Town 1

Disgrace- team, manager, both sets of fans and the policing- just a poor day out!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Now even the Youths can't win!

Tuesday 25th November 2010, Ipswich Town Youths 2 Peterborough United Youths 3

Own goal, injuries, goalkeeping errors plus bloody freezing! The season limps from one bad moment to another!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Back to my Scottish roots

Saturday 20th November 2010 - Scotland 21 South Africa 17, Murrayfield

My late father would have been proud, I watched my first Scottish Rugby game at Murrayfield, and what a game to choose - Scotland beating the world champions, South Africa.

Your first view of Murrayfield as you approach from the city centre

Not so great was the number of empty seats, it seems so strange when I had to pay over £50 for a seat, Rugby Union all over the UK sold out to the corporate dollar a number of years ago but all the home nations now struggle to sell all their seats for the Autumn internationals with Scotland and Irland struggling the most, very bad news for Ireland as theses were the first games at their new home.

So they may need to look at reducing prices, cheap tickets for school groups but I feel that the corporate sponsors would not be happy as many have paid for long term contracts and 30,000 at £60 a ticket will earn the RFU boards more than a full house at £20 a throw.

The stadium may not be one of the newest but the views are fantastic, loads of leg room and rare for the UK, all the catering and bars are outside the stands and you can walk around the whole ground from the outside.

The shop was a disappointment and because of the rain and low crowd the outside stalls were not doing a great trade. But it was still worth the visit, for the singing of 'Flowers of Scotland' before the game and the singing of the 'Bonnie. bonnie banks of Loch Lomond' afterwards. it may seem naff but after beating the boks, even this 'famous' Scottish song sounded OK.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Will this be the last we see of Roy?

Saturday 13th November 2010 - Ipswich Town 1 Barnsley 3, Championship

Not sure Sir Bobby would have been smiling much today!

Have not seen us play that bad at home for a long time, will it be the end of Roy? First time there has been a real cry of 'Keane out'.
I hope he stays but not sure I am in the majority, a bad day at the office!

Friday, 12 November 2010

wet and lost

Tuesday 9th November 2010 - Ipswich 0 Derby County 2, Championship

It rained and rained all day, but trouble is the game still went on - so we got wet and lost to a team as poor as us. Enough said. Roll on Saturday, it can only get better.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Escape from Portsmouth

Saturday 6th November
Havant and Waterlooville 0 Droylsden 2, FA Cup Round 1 - Westleigh Park

Thought that I would have a weekend without football as found myself in Portsmouth visiting my daughter, but fatherly tasks over quicker than I thought, I found myself at Havant to watch the FA Cup 1st round. Havant who are one of the more recent of those non-league teams with a giant killing pedigree but this afternoon they found themselves beaten quite soundly by Droylsden. The first half was close but the second half saw the Manchester side run out deserved winners.
the ground itself was a disappointment, large enough but the stands were bland in appearance.
Havant support was quite noisy but the crowd was quite low, a surprise with Portsmouth not playing at home. But my second FA Cup game of the season, Clacton, Havant - where next?

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Back from Africa

Saturday 30th October 2010 - Ipswich Town 2 Millwall 0 - Championship

Two weeks in Ethiopia, and the only news about Ipswich Town I could get in East Africa was 'doom and gloom' - but only back 4 hours and we get a good win over Millwall! Roll on the League Cup game against WBA

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Dirty Leeds (and Chelsea)

Saturday 2nd October 2010
Playford Road Training ground - Ipswich Town Youths 0 v Chelsea Youths 0
Portman Road - Ipswich Town 2 Leeds United 1 - Championship

Two Ipswich games in one day, two good displays, good results and two red cards, first to see Red was a Chelsea youngster, a straight red, possibly dissent and that was followed in the afternoon by Alex Bruce. No surprise that the ex Town player got an early bath, he was never the best at timing his tackles.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

No steel in Scunthorpe

Saturday 25th September 2010, Scunthorpe United 1 Ipswich Town 1, Championship

No steel in Scunthorpe - not just because Maggie and the Tories shut everything down - Ipswich had no steel or cutting edge- saved by the young Hyam and Peters.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Lions fail to roar

Tuesday 21st september 2010, Millwall 1 Ipswich Town 2 - League Cup Round 3 - The New Den

A comfortable win in South London for Ipswich, with the younger players putting in a good display- Hyam. Peters and Townsend.

The Lions did not roar but it was fun to see their fans fight each other behind one of the goals, if they can't find aways fans to fight they still look for a good old punch up!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Back to earth?

Tuesday 14th September 2010, Ipswich Town 0 QPR 3 - Championship, Portman Road

Well it had been a great start to the season but tonight we were dropped back to earth with a big bump- but at least Connor was back!

Tudor House or non league ground?

Saturday 11th September 2010 - Portsmouth 0 Ipswich Town 0 - Championship, Fratton Park

At least the away end now has a roof, but still a very outdated ground, even the club office looks like a Tudor House

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Stiffs get stiffed!

Tuesday 8th September 2010, Ipswich Town Reserves 0 Oxford United Reserves 2, Portman Road

Luca back but other than that...... the Stiffs got stiffed!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Cold at the Seaside

Tuesday 31st August 2010, FC Clacton 1 Colney Heath 5, FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay - Rush Green Bowl

An evening at the seaside, well actually not that close to the sea, seems weird for a town as small as Clacton to have an 'out of town' ground,

Another non league stand with a great name - 'The Bus Shelter'

This one even had a bus stop fitted to the shelter!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

David James - England's 92?

Saturday 28th August 2010 - Ipswich Town 2 Bristol City 0, Portman Road - Championship

A great win for the Town but we may have only won thanks to David James - no longer England's Number 1 (oh and I do know that all 92 teams do not have English goalkeepers but if there we 91 other English keepers, not sure many would have had as bad a game as 'Calamity' James.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Crewe - keeping on the right track

Tuesday 24th August 2010 - Crewe Alexandra 0 Ipswich Town 1 (aet) League Cup Round 2

A drive up to Cheshire to watch Ipswich play away again the cup ( never seem to get a cup tie at home). The team line ups indicated that Ipswich were going out to win this, and the next 90 minutes did see plenty of attacking football and goal scoring opportunities - trouble was it was both teams who were attacking and getting those opportunities to score. But after 90 minutes it was still nil, nil and so extra time had to be played. Norris got the winning goal so we now just have to wait till Saturday to see if we get that long awaited home cup tie.

The game also saw the debut for Ipswich of Jason Scotland, he threw himself around, and there was plenty to throw around! But I have a feeling he will get the goals we need - if not the Crew forward Donaldson looked a good bet for someone who could play at a higher level.

'Big ground but small crowd'

The crowd of just over 3,000 seemed to be lost within the Gresty Road ground- leading to the Ipswich fans singing 'Your ground is to big for you'!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

At the Palace - and so were Davids and Pablo!

Saturday 21st August 2010 - Crystal Palace 1 Ipswich Town 2 - Championship

A new route to Selhurst Park as we took the overground train from Shoreditch High Street. Palace - Ipswich games are always exciting, sending offs, late goals, comebacks and this season was no different.

It was a surreal game in many ways with Burley, Ambrose Wright, and Price at Selhurst Park and they even introduced their two new players at half time, Edgar Davids and Pablo! Two other ex Ipswich players were at the centre of all the action, Alan Lee and Owen Garvan seemed very keen to put one over on the Town but thanks to a brilliant team display they could not, and in the end both players spent most of the game talking to the ref and Garvan in particular helped get our young player Townsend sent off. Many Town fans had a soft spot for Owen but he lost many of those supporters today.
Jon Stead was awesome it what may have been his last game in a blue shirt. Lets just hope we have some new players in before next week.

Monday, 16 August 2010

A return to Foxhall

Monday 16th August - Ipswich Witches Speedway v Swindon Robins Speedway - Elite Premier League Ipswich win 56 - 37

After a gap of over 30 years, I returned to Foxhall Stadium to see the Ipswich Witches race. And what a great result it was as bottom of the league won comfortably with Scotty Nicholls on fire and only Leigh Adams racing well for the Robins.

The stadium had changed little over those 30 years, well one side had dramatically changed since my last visit! The great storm of 1987 had got rid of the old east Stand from Portman Road which used to sit on the far straight. The crash barriers now had the look of a bouncy castle but the cafes, bar and supporters hut looked the same, pity the crowds are not as high as they were in the days when John Louis raced for the team rather than owned it. If you get a chance get along to Foxhall. I will certainly try and get along more often.
Oh and the stand may have gone, crowds may be down but you still get that addictive smell on the 1st bend.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Looks like it might be a good seaon

Saturday 14th August 2010 - Ipswich Town 1 Burnley 1

Well the youngsters showed they are talented, and if we get a few good players in this week this amy be a season to remember, pity the Walters/Counago/Keane thing is putting a slight black cloude over what has been a promising start.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Who are the Reserves?

Ipswich Town 0 Tottenham Hotspur XI 1, Portman Road, Tuesday 3rd August 2010

We knew Spurs were going to field a reserve side, but no mention by the club or the Press that Ipswich were going to field an even more inexperienced side!

They even had an England world Cup player in their side plus a very expensive East European and we had......Reggie Lamb!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Better display today - more positives than negatives

Ipswich Town 0 West Ham United 1, Pre Season friendly, 31st July 2010

A better display today by the blues, with young Hyam showing why Garvan will not be missed. Also a great turnout bu the West Ham fans, must have wanted a day out in Suffolk?

Oh and from an earlier post, there now is a sign by the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge - picture will follow eventually.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Youth of today v Dissent United

Ipswich Town Academy Under 18's 1 Colchester United Youths 3 - Youth Pre season friendly, Playford Road - ITFC Training Ground - 29 July 2010

I have always enjoyed watching the Academy, to be honest over the last few years I have seen more quality football at the training ground in Playford Road than I have at Portman Road.

I have seen the likes of Darren Bent start their playing days here and the last game I saw him play was for England in Austria.

The training ground is a fantastic facility, with pitches that look like bowling greens. Such an improvement from when the club first moved there and just had the old Crane's pavilion. Though at times there does seem to be a less friendly attitude from some at the club to those who watch the young blues.

Such a change from when I used to watch the Ipswich Youth team in the 60's. my first football fix, when I used to watch Laurie Sivell, Trevor Whymark and others play on the muddy practice pitch at Portman Road, though it did have it's advantages. As a young lad you could escape from your dad and sneak into the west Stand (Pioneer, Brittania) and pretend you were in a large crowd watching the first team.

Oh back to the game today, some good football but was not happy with the attitude of Colchester United or as they should be known Dissent United!

A win, more rain and a large crowd

Bury Town 0 Ipswich Town XI 1, Pre Season friendly - July 28th 2010

For many the cathedral at Bury St Edmunds is the most famous sight but for football fans it is Ram Meadow and the Sugar Beet Silos - when you see these you know it is not far to Ipswich, and home!

24 Hours after a match at Leiston in the rain, I now find myself at Ram Meadow, home of Bury Town - in the rain again. Ipswich fielded what was probably 80% of what will be the starting line up when the Championship season starts. A good passing display but again we seemed unable to score. A good crowd of over 1,000 at a club who are on the up. The ground may still need some work on it but it can easily cater for 1,000 plus though more seats may be needed. Boxing Day will be the a big game for the club when they take on fellow Suffolk side Lowestoft Town to see who really is Suffolk's second club!

Jimmy the Rattle stand - best named stand in football?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Rain, and a Brazilian trialist

Leiston Town 0 Ipswich Town XI 2 - Victory Road, Pre Season friendly, 27th July 2010

My first trip to see a game at Leiston, but for once I did not do a tour of the ground - heavy rain put a stop to that and by the time the rain had stopped the game had started. A tough game against a non league side that did not seem overawed.
Bad first five minutes for Roy Keane as both Quinn and Civelli picked up injuries and had to be substituted.

Before the rain

Civelli before the injury

Not much to write home about, till the 62 minute when we saw a Brazilian trialist arrive on the pitch - Marcus Picciarelli. The 20-year-old striker is currently with Rio de Janeiro side MacaƩ and started a trial earlier in the week. wonder what he thought of a wet Lesiton?

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Maybe not top class cricket but good fun for a good cause

Ipswich and East Suffolk CC v Ipswich Town FC - Charity 20/20 Cricket match - Chantry Park, 23 July 2010

Maybe not the best cricket, but fun, for a good cause (Suffolk Cancer Charity) and at least they made it competitive. Tommy Smith was man of the match for Ipswich, so his last competitive sports match was in the World Cup in South Africa in front of a 5 figure crowd and then his next game is a cricket match on a public park in front of hundreds- but he seemed as keen to win this one as he did in the World Cup.
Well done both teams for an entertaining evening.

Monday, 19 July 2010

A Dutch tribute to Sir Bobby

Saturday 17th July 2010 - PSV Eindhoven 1 v Ipswich 0 Pre Season friendly

A weekend in Holland was an opportunity not to be missed, so my wife and I booked a weekend, which would see us take the short trip to Eindhoven on the Saturday. the game was yet another tribute to Bobby Robson, when two of his former teams would meet in a pre season friendly. It all looked so easy!

First error- like England, weekends are when work on the railways takes place so our journey time to the home of Philips was doubled, we even thought we would not get back to Amsterdam after the game, but a helpful Dutch Railway guard pointed us to the Rotterdam train and one change later we were back in Amsterdam.

The game? As expected we were outclassed but a fine goalkeeping display and a more determined second half performance meant we only lost one nil.
Strangest part of the day? A second half substitution, Timmy Simons was playing his last game for the Dutch giants and he was taken off to a standing ovation. nothing strange there but unlike in the UK, he was carried off on the shoulders off fellow players and then on the pitch was presented with a picture, then he made a speech - and the ref still only added one minute on!

Timmy after his speech!

The stadium was impressive, even with only 13,000 in the ground, plenty of beer outside and both Set's of fans mixing then it became a flashback to the anti football Thatcher years. The Town fans were put in the highest corner of the ground, searched and innocent everyday objecys removed from supporters and hen we were surrounded by a large glass wall. Very strange and so out of place in this fixture.

My pet subject of statues at football grounds was well catered for, two at one end of the ground, both of former players but at the other end almost hidden away was a white stone statue, no inscription but I believe it may have had more to do with one of the founders of the Philips Company than the football team - anyone help?

Oh and programmes were hidden from Town fans, now the hundreds who went have to search the Internet to get a souvenir of the match.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Cricket at Fenners.

Wednesday 23rd June 2010 - Cambridge University Crusaders v Oxford University Authentics (Day 1 of the 2nd XI Inter Varsity cricket match)

To take my mind off the England-Slovenia football match, I decided to spend the hours before the big match at Fenners, home of Cambridge University Cricket Club.
The match was the 2nd XI Inter varsity game, Crusaders v Authentics, not sure if Oxford were deliberately wanting to miss the England game but the Dark Blue side seemed keen to be spending the afternoon in the field, so just after lunch they found themselves bowled out for 76.

Fenners is a lovely setting for cricket, maybe not the most remarkable looking pavilion but the modern accommodation building belonging to Hughes College is a plus point of the ground, certainly the place I would like to have a room.

As well as the sound of ball on willow, you could also hear the grunts of college tennis players on the adjoining University Tennis Club, though the entrance to their club is very unassuming and not what you would expect of a Cambridge University run club.