Date:Wednesday February 13 2008
Portman Road - Ipswich Town - SeasideEssexXile
Its 37 years since we've been there and I'm sure that for a good few of us this will be our first look at Portman Road. An all seater stadium since 1992 and with a capacity of 30,000+ the ground has all the trappings of a Premiership existence. A club superstore on 2 floors, a café open outside match days (sound familiar KO?) no wonder we are expected to pay top dollar for our visit.
The ground has been redeveloped over the years (£20,000,000 since 2001) but 2 of the stands are newer than the other 2 and dwarf the older stands (4 stands!! god we've hit the big time). 2 statues outside the ground (Sirs Alf Ramsey & Bobby Robson) reflect on Ipswich's illustrious past.
We will be sat [well some of us will!!] in one corner in the upper tier of the Cobbold Stand (down the side of the pitch). Up to 1,700 away fans can be sat here. Leg room is reported to be cramped, and if you are sat at the back of the area expect restricted views. Despite the distance I'm hoping for 1000+ travelling tangerines to make the long trek.
How To Het There
Say hello to theM55, M6 South (use the toll road), A14 just before you join the M1 and after J1 of the 6 (it'll be signposted Kettering / Corby). A14 all the way to J53. The last 3 miles are: at the roundabout take the 1st exit onto the A1156. At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the A1156. At the mini-roundabouts turn right onto the A1214 (signposted Colchester A12 At the traffic signals continue forward onto the A1214 (signposted Colchester A12) At the traffic signals continue forward onto the A137 Turn left onto Portman's Walk Continue forward onto Sir Alf Ramsey Way Turn right onto Constantine Road, you're here! Limited on-street car parking around the ground, but £3.50 will secure you a place in one of the local car parks.
For the Virgin lovers amongst us - the ground is a short walk from Ipswich Station. You will pass the ground as you pull in to the station. After exiting the station head over the bridge opposite which brings you into Princess Street. Continue along Princess Street and take the first left into Portman Road.
Where To Drink
Many pubs around the ground are reported to be for home fans only. The general consensus is that the Station Hotel (wait for it) near the station & ground is the place where most away fans tend to meet. The Black Horse also has a good reputation, as long as you don't turn up mob handed. Head north along Portman Rd past the back of the Cobbold Stand and the corner of the North Stand until you reach Great Gipping St on your right. Walk down Great Gipping St and through an underpass/subway (about 150 yards). As you emerge from the underpass you will see on your left the plod station. To the right of the police station is the Black Horse pub.
Plod & Stewards
There's conflicting reports of away days to Ipswich - over zealous stewarding and a sizeable plod presence have all been reported at PR, but on the flipside 'polite & helpful' are words that have also been used. Perhaps our 'reputation' has exceeded our appearances this season (well, Buurrnlleehhyy + the Knobbers excepted) but following last weeks shenanigans who knows what to expect anymore when 'little old Blackpool; turn up in numbers at these big clubs. I'm expecting our visit to East Anglia to be a pleasant & friendly experience for most of us.
Fear Factor Rating - 4
You wait 30+ years then twice in 4 weeks we meet the Tractor Boys. The first game at Bloomers should have resulted in 3 points for us, and was an opportunity missed, and this with the blues being reduced to 10 men. Make no bones about it though, at home Ipswich are a totally different team. Losing for the first time at home in the league as recently as last Saturday, Saturday's visit is going to be one of our sternest tests of this season.
I'm looking forward to this game and here's hoping that come 5pm we've managed to have ploughed the playing field and scattered some tangerine footballing love around Suffolk coming away with a result to prepare us for the long trek back home.
Onwards + Upwards
Date:Wednesday February 13 2008
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