Date: 23rd October 2017 at 11:05am
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Thanks for sticking with me and returning for Part Two of ‘A Grand Day Out In Ipswich.’

As I’m sure you remember, you left Lee and I tucking into a full English breakfast, as we looked to waste away a couple of hours before kick off and talk over what was going to happen. In the café, we naturally kept our colours undercover as Ipswich fans sat all around us. One pair even sat right behind us, with the big fella in his shirt nudging into my chair as he sat down in the confined space.

Lee and I were both confident. We felt that we had the better players and that Nelson Oliveira was spot on, despite speaking in the heat of the moment, immediately after scoring against Hull in the 96th minute.

Physicality would be the opposition’s best chance of getting anything from the game in the bear pit atmosphere. Could we stand up to that? We felt we could. The likes of Tommy Trybull and Harrison Reed don’t scare easily.

When the team came through on Twitter at 11am, I was pleased. Wes Hoolahan is a lucky talisman in these games, having never tasted defeat in an East Anglian derby and he’s in his testimonial year.

I was disappointed Nelson wasn’t starting but later heard he had woken up feeling his groin. I think we’ve all done that at some point!

Just after 11am, we made our way back to the ground. As I stood up and took my fleece from the back of my chair, my yellow and green scarf was visible. The woman behind us had a face that was a picture – ‘A fifth columnist in our café?!’ I imagine she was thinking.

As we walked to the ground, there were a lot more Ipswich fans around now and a lot more Police too. I know a few coppers and one bobby I know saw me and grabbed me by the lapels, pretending to arrest me. Ha, hilarious.

We moved on and got to the Cobbold Stand and made our way through the tiny turnstile and up the stairs to the tiny bar. It was bedlam in there and there were only one chap and one woman serving. They actually ran out of beer at about 11.30 and the chap went off to get some more! Fair play to the remaining woman, she did very well.

Outside in the upper tier, we realised that we would be about 10 seats away from the Ipswich fans divided by a piece of fabric, a steward who looked like Cat Weasel and a Special Constable aged 12, who was wearing his dad’s hat.

Hmmm, okay.

The ground, as you know is run down and lacks modernisation. It is a very poor show and has got worse in the six or so years since I last visited it. How about putting your hand in your pocket, Mr Evans?

Gradually the crowd started to shuffle in but the ground was clearly nowhere near full. When the announcer later read out the attendance as being, 24,928 I was amazed. That is so poor it’s embarrassing.

Your fierce local rivals come to Town, you haven’t beaten them for eight years and that’s all you can muster? Maybe the deprivation is really biting and people can’t afford a ticket – either that or they’re fed up of watching the rubbish being served up.

How can they argue they are the bigger club, these days?

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A rather forgettable first half was quickly over and noticeable only really for a few half chances, a strike off the post from Knudsen and a round of applause on 16 minutes, one for each year that the Ponies have been in the Championship. Then it was time to brave the bar again. It was mental again but not impossible to get served.

Back up in the rather parky October air and the second half soon gave us something else to cheer about as James Maddison scored a very nice winning goal.

His impudence to run behind the goal and SShhhhh the home fans was terrific and belies his age.

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Naturally, up in the cheap seats, we went absolutely banzai and I screamed myself even hoarser than I already had done in the first 45 minutes.

There were high fives with drunken strangers all round as the volume ratcheted up even more in the away end.

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Ipswich then visibly wilted and huffed and puffed but couldn’t break down a stubborn Norwich, who are now literally experts in the field of game management.

The final whistle blew and that was that – cue a chant of ‘It’s happened again, It’s happened again, Oh Ipswich Town, it’s happened again…’

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Now it was time to leave the stadium and brave the walk back to the station. Run the gauntlet, as it were.

As we left, I saw a couple more coppers I know, more joking threats of arrest as a ringleader of trouble – you wags.

Then the barriers ran out and we were walking up the hill with just a line of bobbies, a few horses and dog units between us and a large number of Ipswich fans (on both sides of us) who wanted to kick our heads in – just for supporting our club.

There was some disorder and the dogs were looking fierce, barking and snapping at anything that got too close. Lots of (mostly young and drunk) Norwich fans were goading them, which didn’t help and I saw one Ipswich fan in a Stone Island coat (how predictable) swing punches at random Norwich fans before being quickly grabbed by the Police – absolutely pathetic. I imagine he’ll be at Martlesham Police Investigation Centre until at least lunchtime today.

When we got to the station, things got a little tasty with bottles being thrown and a lad just behind me getting hit in the chest by a near full can of lager – ‘Oof’ he cried as the air was involuntarily knocked out of him.

The Police were seemingly quick to move in and deal with it but the air was thick with missiles for a minute or two until we could get inside and jump on the train back to paradise.

As we sat in the train a female Ipswich fan in a shirt walked along the opposite platform and she had some mouth on her, let me tell you. Do you kiss your kids with that mouth?!

I noticed quite a few gobby females among their number during the day.

And then we were gone, the train pulled out and we slowly went home. Back to beautiful Norfolk and lovely Norwich, not at all down at heel or deprived. Just lovely.

Taking three points back with us, again, was the icing on the cake for a very grand day out.

Let me just leave you with a couple more images from the day.

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Embed from Getty Images

Thanks for reading and until next time,


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