The next stage of Ipswich Town’s refurbishment of Portman Road will see significant work begin behind the stadium’s South Stand. 

The Blues acquired land to the rear of the stand back in March, with the Russell Road site including the vacant buildings which have previously housed the Staples stationery store as well as a number of different gym chains.  

Town now plan to demolish those buildings in the coming weeks before eventually constructing new ones on the site, improving the facilities the club are able to offer supporters on matchdays and throughout the week. 

Discussions are ongoing about how the land will ultimately be used.

The club have already submitted plans to make improvements to the back of the South Stand, named after legendary boss Sir Alf Ramsey, which would see the turnstiles moved from their current position on Portman Road to the rear of the stand, which will then have much-improved access once the former Staples building is demolished. 

“We had a one-off opportunity to acquire the land and we needed to do that partly because we needed to sort out the southeast corner,” Town chief executive Mark Ashton said. 

“We now have better access in there and the new big screen is at a height so we can get vehicles in and out. So, if we want to hold concerts, we can. 

“It gives us the opportunity to sort out the turnstile access to that stand. 

“We will knock down the Staples building and the gym building. We’ve done a lot of work on what we can and can’t do with that and, in essence, when we bought it we knew we’d bought a brick building with a tin roof on it.  

“To turn that into, let’s say, a fanzone or a venue, it is easier to knock down and start again because of the costs associated with heating, ventilation and access etc.  

“They will come down pretty quickly and we will car park it, opening up the access to the back of the stand to help us work out how we can configure the turnstiles. That starts to change the dynamic of the stadium. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich Town have already submitted plans to improve supporters' entry to the South StandIpswich Town have already submitted plans to improve supporters' entry to the South Stand (Image: ITFC)

“The front of the stadium then starts to face a little bit towards the train station. 

“We have great property expertise through the owners in the United States and we are working through that.” 

Since the club’s American takeover in April of 2021, significant work has been undertaken to give Portman Road the facelift it needed, both inside and outside the ground. 

A big screen and new electronic advertising boards were installed before the start of this season, with work already underway ahead of the installation of a new state-of-the-art pitch next summer.