The CEO's thoughts ahead of tonight's game
Good evening and welcome to tonight’s fixture against Doncaster Rovers. We’re delighted, as ever, to welcome the players, staff, directors and supporters from Keepmoat Stadium to Portman Road. As we’ve seen in all of the games thus far this season, the one thing that you can guarantee is that League One is very competitive and I expect this evening to be no different.
I have to say that, whilst we were slightly frustrated not to get all three points on Saturday against a strong Sheffield Wednesday side filled with Championship quality players, I thought that it was our best and most consistent performance of the season so far. On the pitch, we started to see the quality of some of the players that we have recruited and a unity and determination to run towards adversity.
Having almost 21,500 people inside Portman Road on Saturday was just incredible. It was interesting to see that our home attendance was one of the highest in both League One and the Championship again, with only a handful of clubs sitting above us. This shows the size and potential of this wonderful Football Club. I thought that the atmosphere inside the ground on Saturday was fantastic from start to finish. Even when we went 1-0 down; you stayed with the team, you got behind the boys and, ultimately, you made a difference in ensuring we came away from the game with something.
Moving forward, we have to find ways to fill Portman Road. Whilst over 21,000 fans in League One is incredible, we can all do more. Why can’t we fill the stadium with 30,000? Why can’t we turn Portman Road into a fortress? The answer is that we can. We have to take responsibility inside of the Club. We have to be innovative, open, communicative and find ways in which we can encourage both older supporters to return and develop our next generation of fans. Our Community Trust is now starting to do more work and reaching out into areas of the community that we have not done so before, or at least not for quite a period of time. This is an area of focus for us.
The Fanzone was amazing on Saturday and I can’t thank the supporters who came and spoke to me enough for their kind words of support and encouragement. You’ll have noticed that a number of players came into the Fanzone with me, and I was delighted to be able to introduce Hayden Coulson, Kyle Edwards, Sam Morsy and Christian Walton to some of you. It was also great to see a handful of young supporters who were attending their very first football game. I think we have some new Ipswich Town fans for life.
Whilst meeting supporters on Saturday, I was so happy to get a tap on the shoulder from a girl aged 13 called Freia. Freia and her father have been in contact with myself and the Club for a number of months. Freia is a very special young girl who, right now, is facing adversity and difficult challenges. Last year, she was diagnosed with leukaemia. When we talk about the team and the staff running towards adversity, I think Freia is a shining example of a young lady who is doing that every single day. She is a huge Ipswich Town fan and we’re delighted to say that she is one of our own. Hopefully, she’ll be joining us as our special guest for an upcoming fixture and will have the opportunity to sit with myself and the directors for a game at Portman Road. I wanted to take this opportunity to personally thank Freia for her amazing support of the team, let her know what an inspiration she is to us all, and to remind her that we are all with her, every step of the way. Big thanks also go to her dad, Mick, who brings her to our games. I’m sure you will all join me in sending Freia our love and best wishes.
Let’s get behind the boys this evening, continue to build this football club, get three points on the board and start to look forwards. Again, thank you so much for your support.
Enjoy the game,