Ipswich in 'big sell' for England game

IPSWICH last night launched its big sell – promoting the town to the rest of the country and Europe to mark the month long party celebrating the England soccer international against Croatia at Portman Road.

IPSWICH last night launched its big sell – promoting the town to the rest of the country and Europe to mark the month long party celebrating the England soccer international against Croatia at Portman Road.

The "love Ipswich" campaign has been branded Football's Coming Home to commemorate Ipswich Town's achievement in providing England with two managers, Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.

With 25,000 soccer fans from across the country visiting Ipswich this month for the England-Croatia game, Ipswich MP Chris Mole said it was a perfect vehicle to demonstrate the new vitality that was now Ipswich to a wider public.

Visitors would be able to see the £350million Wet Dock regeneration, the Ipswich-Cambridge Hi Tech corridor, the rebirth of the Wolsey Theatre and the nightlife complex of Cardinal Park had all contributed to Ipswich's new found status. "We may not yet have the university our businesses so badly need, but it's only a matter of time.


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Ipswich council chief executive James Hehir said although the town was looking forward to welcoming the England team, the campaign was more than football. "This is a chance to tell everyone that Ipswich means business, to promote the town as a regional shopping, leisure and sporting centre of excellence."

Other supporters backing the initiative include borough council leader Peter Gardiner, county council leader Bryony Rudkin, Suffolk Central & Ipswich North MP Sir Michael Lord, the East Anglian Daily Times, Salthouse Harbour Hotel, Ufford Park Hotel, Mercatus Marketing, Nationwide Building Society, and Ipswich & Suffolk Small Business Association.

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The campaign, which was officially launched to business and tourism leaders and national journalists at the Ipswich offices of the Willis Group, was boosted by a personal message of support from Tony Blair.

The Prime Minister, a keen Newcastle Utd supporter, will be on holiday for the international match but passed on his good wishes for "an enjoyable and successful occasion."

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