Who Are These Jobbers?
When Ipswich was announced as the first away game I bet your eyes began to roll. You were already annoyed that one of the longest trips of the season would land right at the beginning. I mean, come on, it’s a bloody long way to Suffolk, and as soon as you leave the motorway you know you’re going to be stuck behind a tractor for miles on end.
To make things even worse, we never ever win at Portman Road. Ipswich are being tipped to go up and you just know for a fact Sunderland will conspire to put in an insipid performance only they can do. But wait, this is a good thing!
All that time on the road gives you ample opportunity to practice your booing. I mean, we gave it a good, big boo against Oxford and now with five or six hours stuck in a car, our vocal chords will be ready to give it the old college try each time the referee blows his whistle. Oh, and don’t forget your jeering every time someone, say Will Grigg, gets the ball - that always helps.
You can also spend the time arguing over who should replace Jack Ross next week because one point from one game is simply not good enough for a club of this stature, especially considering the fact we have *checks notes* 45 league games to go. Maybe we could give Kevin Ball or Rafa Benitez a go or summat.
Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Ipswich Town. They too, love a good booing. They booed so hard they got Mick McCarthy to walk out of a press conference, and a job, without even finishing his cup of tea. They booed so hard that the following season they fell through the Championship managing to finish below perma-crisis club Bolton Wanderers.
Manager Paul Lambert is the human embodiment of a booing crowd with his forever furrowed brow and bemused look - it is quite jarring to think that this is someone that was a midfield lynchpin for a Champions League winning Borussia Dortmund.
He has already been moaning over a lack of transfers among other things which means the mood in Ipswich is chirpy as ever. It aptly sets the scene for a big old boo-fest on Saturday, it’s so glad to have the beautiful game back.
What’s The Ground Like?
Home of The Tractor Boys since 1884, Portman Road blends modern with traditional.
For those of you that yearn for yesteryear of miners strikes and blue passports, there are supporting pillars obstructing your view in certain sections. And for you hip young cats, determined to film yourself during a football match, there is a large bar section where you can chuck beer around and sing about Gary Rowell.
The stadium is right in the centre of town meaning it is just a short stroll from the train station or the numerous watering holes. It also features statues of both Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson stood outside to commemorate some of Town’s finest achievements. Apparently they are currently working on one to commemorate Alun Armstrong’s winner against Inter Milan in ‘01.
Sunderland fans are housed in the upper section of the Cobbold Stand where there’ll be around 2,000 Mackems hyped for that sweet 1-1 draw.
How Do I Get There?
If you’ve pulled out the black egg and have opted to spend your weekend being stuck behind that tractor on a scenic B road, you’re going to need to take the A1 all the way down to junction 14. Join the A14 and follow this past Cambridge heading east until you reach junction 53 just outside of Ipswich.
Take Bury Road and then Norwich Road into the town following the signs for Portman Road. Thanks to a lack of parking at the ground or surrounding streets, you’ll have to do your best finding a spot elsewhere.
Should you want to avoid starting the season by getting lost then plop IP1 2DA into your sat nav.
It may take an absolute eternity to get there but Ipswich Railway Station is only five minutes away from the ground which, we can all agree, is bloody great.
A Love Supreme coaches leave the Stadium of Light at 7am with return fares priced at £42. Book your place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
Come on weary traveller, let us take those soiled rags from your blistered back. You’ve had a long journey, you must be tired, I mean, what person in their right mind wakes up at 4am to drive to Suffolk? You must be thirsty, don’t worry, good old Cans & Megabus is here to point you in the direction of the nearest oasis.
Given the excellent location of Portman Road, you are simply spoilt for choice when it comes to a pint of delicious amber nectar. The go-to “away fans” pub is the Riverside Hotel which is just a short stroll from the ground. However, why just stop there when Ipswich is your oyster for the afternoon?
Pop into the lovely Arcade Street Tavern situated on, funnily enough, Arcade Street which has a range of craft beer, cider and local ales. Thanks to Ipswich marina undergoing significant redevelopment in recent years, it is an excellent spot for a summer’s day, so it would be rude not to enjoy a pint and bite to eat at Isaacs On The Quay. Across the marina is the classy Last Anchor for a more sophisticated pre-match tipple.
Should you fancy something a little more rustic then stop by The Spread Eagle on Fore Street for a pint in one of the classic pubs I hear you speak so much about. Same goes for St Jude’s Brewery Tavern on St Matthew’s Street where you can enjoy a beer direct from the keg.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Unlike a considerable amount of League One towns and cities, “go to a football match” doesn’t feature in TripAdvisor’s top ten things to do in Ipswich.
Instead it names Christchurch Park as the place to be on a weekend in Suffolk. You can spend a pleasant walk through this delightful greenspace, which has been an integral part of Ipswich since 1895, and take a big whiff of the daffodils. When you’ve got bored of that you can visit the Ipswich Transport Museum and look at some perfectly preserved old-timey trams.
You can get a proper fill of all things Ipswich by stopping by Ipswich Museum and learn about how it has been transformed from vast swathes of grassland into the global powerhouse it is today. Stare at the plaster faces of Sir Isaac Newton and William Hogarth and treat your little’uns to an Elmer the Patchwork Elephant art trail across the town.