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New manager, now new world-famous fan for Town

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 12 March 2010

Chester Bennington on stage

Chester Bennington on stage

THANKS to their exciting European exploits in the past and a commitment to an entertaining style of play, Ipswich Town have attracted many thousands of fans from all around the world.

Alan Howard (right) with his wife Diane (left), Chester Bennington, and Alan's daughter Amy at the singer's house

THANKS to their exciting European exploits in the past and a commitment to an entertaining style of play, Ipswich Town have attracted many thousands of fans from all around the world.

But perhaps their most remarkable supporter is Chester Bennington - frontman with multi-million selling American rock band Linkin Park.

It has emerged that Chester, who lives in Arizona and has a passion for tattoos, was introduced to the club by his father Lee Bennington, a good friend of retired Suffolk police officer Alan Howard.

Mr Howard explained that Lee, also a retired police officer from Phoenix, Arizona, had accompanied him to some Town games while in the UK in the early 1990s and quickly developed a love for the club, which he passed on to Chester, 33.

Mr Howard said he and his wife Diane, 55, and daughter Amy, 29, also a police officer, recently returned from their latest trip to stay with Lee, during which they had also spent a couple of days at Chester's house with his family.

He said: “Lee's partner had a business connection with my brother and she used to come over to the UK to do business and on one occasion Lee came over and was at a loose end and I got introduced to him.

“He came on duty with me and went to a couple of football matches at Portman Road and he took an interest in Ipswich Town.

“The following year I was invited over to Phoenix where he lived and that's when I first met Chester - he was about 13 or 14.

“Chester has never been to a match because every time he comes over to the UK for a tour it's normally the summer but he follows Ipswich on the internet and he always knows what position they are in the league and he takes an interest in the scores.”

Mr Howard, 58, who now works as a security supervisor, said that despite being the singer of one of the biggest bands around, Chester was very down to earth and a “family man” with a growing collection of Ipswich Town shirts.

He added: “His work is his work, but when he's finished and he's at home he's like anybody else - he doesn't seek attention.”

After being invited to many of the band's British shows, Mr Howard said he was a big fan and that Chester had spoken about wanting to perform a concert at Portman Road at some point in the future.

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