Ipswich Town: Die-hard fans set for 500-mile trip to Preston in FA Cup replay
17:20 13 January 2014
More than 150 die-hard Ipswich Town fans are set to embark on a 500-mile round trip tomorrow as the Blues travel to Preston North End in an FA Cup Third Round replay.
Following the side’s 1-1 stalemate earlier this month, travelling to Deepdale, approximately 33 miles north of Manchester, on what promises to be a cold and potentially wet Tuesday night isn’t ideal but that hasn’t stopped some of Ipswich’s ‘travelling heroes’ from making the journey.
None more so than lifelong fan Richard Townsend, who will leave his house in Halesworth early tomorrow morning just to go and watch his beloved Blues.
Mr Townsend is the chairman of the Ipswich Town Halesworth branch of the club’s supporters group which has ran since 1985 and usually takes between 30 to 40 dedicated fans to away games.
However, Mr Townsend will be the only one of these committed bunch who makes the mammoth journey up north tomorrow, with the season ticket holder set to meet his son, Matt, in Manchester before travelling to the game together.
“Matt lives and works in Manchester now so I thought I might as well take the opportunity to go,” said Mr Townsend.
“It’s a pretty mad thing to do but I think you should support your team through thick and thin, through the highs and the lows and through the ups and the downs.”
Mr Townsend is set to catch the bus to Norwich before getting the train to Manchester where his son will drive to the game before staying over and venturing back to Halesworth on Wednesday.
“It’s a day out and beats working,” joked the print manager.
And Mr Townsend is not the only one who is adopting similar thoughts ahead of the game.
Horry Money, branch chairman of the Blues’ London supporters club, is also attending with two fellow members from his set-up.
“We’re just completely mad,” said Mr Money, who has been following Town for over 40 years.
“It’s part and parcel of being an Ipswich fan though, and judging by the previous game I think they’ll need our support!
“It’s the FA Cup and we’re hoping we can play our part in the magic of the cup.”
Liz Edwards, chairman of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club, is also heading to Deepdale and has echoed her fellow Town fans’ voices.
“There are so many Town fans who are loyal and passionate beyond belief and for those travelling from Suffolk, this is about as testing as a game gets,” said Mrs Edwards.
“But with football, there’s the uncertainty of it all - what if we were to confound the odds and progress all the way? How dreadful it would be to have missed even a single game in such a season?”
If Town are to progress against Preston, their avid fans will be on the road again in the next round with a trip to Nottingham Forest on Friday, January 24.
Ipswich to Preston - Not one for the faint-hearted.
Estimated journey time - Four hours, 13 minutes. Without traffic!
A14 and then M6 to Coventry/Birmingham, merge back onto M6 via M42 towards Burnley/Blackburn/Preston before merging onto M65 and A6 for Preston and Deepdale.
If the match is finished in 90 minutes, fans travelling back to Suffolk won’t get home until at least 2am while if the tie goes into extra-time and penalties it could be as late as 3am, at least!