Charlton keeper Nick Pope comes from a family of Ipswich Town fans
- Credit: Archant
David Pope may be the only man at The Valley hoping for a goalless draw between Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town in tomorrow lunchtime’s televised clash (12.15pm).
On one hand he’s a lifelong Blues fan that remembers the halcyon days and remains a season ticket holder at Portman Road. On the other, his son Nick could well be lining up as the Addicks’ goalkeeper.
“It’s the first fixture the family looked out for,” admitted 22-year-old Nick, who was released by Ipswich at the age of 16, knuckled down at West Suffolk College and caught a Charlton scout’s eye when playing for non-league club Bury Town in 2011.
“Dad’s a big Ipswich supporter; he was around in the ‘good old days’. I think he went on a few European tours, so he was always telling me and my brother (Mildenhall keeper Josh) about the club’s history.
“He used to take us to home and away games when we were little. We sat up in the Britannia Upper and went over to Italy for the Inter Milan UEFA Cup game. I grew up idolising people like Richard Wright and Kelvin Davis.”
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The Cambridgeshire-born youngster, who is set to make only his fifth start for the south London club due to No.1 Stephen Henderson being injured, continued: “Saturday is definitely going to be a surreal and special day for me and my family. Sentiment will have to go out of the window though and I’ll treat it like another game and another chance to impress if I play.
“Dad’s going to be in the Charlton end so if you see someone being escorted out after an Ipswich goal it could well be him!”
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He added: “I have to say I have had incredible family support. Mum and dad come and watch me whenever they know I’m going to start. They travelled up for all of my games on loan at York last season. When I’m not playing though they are at Portman Road.”
So will Pope Senior being giving his son tips on how the Blues play?
“Good question!” laughed Pope. “I’ll speak to him before the game but I think I’ll leave the proper scouting to the professionals!”
– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for full feature as Pope reflects his footballing journey.