Facemasks, staggered arrival times and no throwing the ball back - how the return of fans to Portman Road will look

Fans will return to Portman Road for the first time since March next week - but it will be a very different experience...

Fans will return to Portman Road for the first time since March next week - but it will be a very different experience Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

A small number of Ipswich Town fans will return to Portman Road for the first time since March when the Blues host promotion rivals Portsmouth next week - but it will be a very different experience. Here’s everything you need to know...

A total of 2,000 supporters will be allowed in to to watch the clash on Saturday, December 12, with the club intending to use a ballot system to pick the lucky fans from the 9,000 plus season ticket holders.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new look matchday experience...

Getting to the game

Supporters are advised to refrain from using public transport as much as possible and should not travel in a car with anyone outside their social bubble. 

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Time of arrival

Cardboard cut-outs have been the only fans allowed inside Portman Road so far this season Picture: STEVE WALLER

Cardboard cut-outs have been the only fans allowed inside Portman Road so far this season Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: PA

There will be a staggered arrival time and while the stadium will open up at 1.30pm as usual, that’s near enough where any resemblance to a ‘normal’ matchday ends.

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If you are successful in the ballot, you will be allocated a ticket which will include an arrival time in 15 minute slots from 2pm until 2.45pm.

You are asked to adhere to your time on the ticket please. No one will be turned away if they are late on arrival; it just helps the process and lines up with safety guidelines.

You also have the option of entering the stadium between 1.30pm and 2pm but please be advised that you will need to go straight to your seat.

So if you arrive at 1.30pm, you will be seated for 90 minutes before kick-off. The kiosks in the concourses will all be closed, as will the FanZone.

Every supporter will be asked to go straight to their seat on arrival regardless of time of entry. It’s highly unlikely that you will sitting in your season ticket seat.

Turnstile test

Your temperature will be taken before you can enter the stadium. If your temperature is above the threshold of 37.6 degrees then you will asked to return home.

2,000 fans will retur to Portman Road on December 12 Picture: STEVE WALLER

2,000 fans will retur to Portman Road on December 12 Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

You will also need to read a health questionnaire before entry and you will need to bring photo ID with you, something like your driving licence.

The ID must match the name on the ticket. Fans without ID that corresponds to the name on their ticket will need to go to the Ticket Office (s) for re-grading and to match a new ID to the tickets.

The Club must account for every supporter inside the stadium and their exact seat details due to possible NHS Track and Trace requirements.

Fans sitting in the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand should use the Ticket Enquiries Office under the Cobbold Stand if the above applies. Fans in the East of England Co-op Stand should use the Constantine Road Ticket Office. No photo ID will be required for accompanied children.

You will also be searched by stewards so please avoid bringing bags if possible. The stewards will change gloves every time they carry out a search. QR codes will be scanned at turnstiles for Track and Trace.

Please also be aware that the entry points to the stadium maybe different from normal so allow plenty of time to meet your allocated arrival.

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Covid-19 means Ipswich Town fans haven't been inside Portman Road since the 1-0 loss to Coventry City back on March 7.

Covid-19 means Ipswich Town fans haven't been inside Portman Road since the 1-0 loss to Coventry City back on March 7. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

Stands in operation 

Only the middle and upper tiers of the Co-op Stand; the lower and upper of the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand and a small section of the Cobbold Stand will be in use.

The safety authorities have recently asked for building repair work to be done in the Sir Bobby Robson Stand. This will be completed before a substantial increase in attendances will happen but with the challenge of extensive cleaning to take place before the game against Burton three days later and for easier access reasons, the Club will be utilising just the areas mentioned for now.

Getting to your seat

The Club are looking to fill up the stands from the back to the front to limit face to face contact. Allocated times of arrival will illustrate that.

One way systems will be in operation and you’ll need to follow the signage and directions from stewards to your seat. You are asked to wear a face covering from arrival at the stadium until you reach your seat and then again when you leave your seat to exit the stadium.

Supporters are asked to remain in their seats while at the stadium as much as possible and do not need to wear a face covering at that time. 

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Food and drink

We’re sorry but there are no food and drink outlets available and the FanZone will not be open. This is in accordance with safety guidelines.

Supporters are allowed to bring their own food and drink into the stadium but please ensure it’s in a clear plastic bag. Up to 500ml plastic bottles will only be allowed. No glass or cans and no alcohol can be brought into the stadium.

While the game is on

Singing and shouting is part of the matchday experience but please be respectful and mindful to those around you and social distancing must be adhered to, unless you are with fellow Blues in your household or support bubble. Also, however tempting, please don’t throw the ball back onto the pitch if it comes near you. It will be picked up by the groundstaff before being cleaned and returned pitchside - again a guideline we have to follow.   

At the final whistle

You will be asked to remain in your seat at the end and take guidance from stewards as exiting will be managed in a row by row system.  If you want to leave the stadium early you will need to do so by 85 minutes at the latest.

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Social distancing

It’s become part of our lives over the last nine months and remains a vital aspect of the return of fans to football. From your arrival to your departure, please keep your distance!  

At a glance

Aside from those in the same household or support bubble, supporters will be seated approximately one and a half to two metres apart.

There will be sanitiser dispensers provided. The stadium has signage advertising all the good hygiene guidelines.

Please avoid face to face contact when moving past other spectators.

No away fans will be at Portman Road. 

We are not permitted to have mascots or Fly the Flag youngsters on matchday.

There will be no opportunities for autographs or selfies.

The Planet Blue store will be open with limited capacity and social distancing in place. Please queue on the Cobbold Stand side.

The Ticket Office in Constantine Road will be open for enquiries. Social distancing will be in place.

There will be one way systems in operation at the toilet facilities at Portman Road.

From queuing at the turnstiles to exiting the ground, you need to wear a face covering at all times - apart from when you are in your seat.

You must bring your own face covering.

As stated, from when you enter the stadium you will be asked to go straight to your seat. Covid info

You should not be at a game if you display any Covid-19 symptoms or are required to self-isolate. You are also advised not to enter the stadium if you are considered clinically, an extremely vulnerable person.

You will be required to provide your personal details - and those of your support bubble -  to the Club for Track and Trace purposes. You will also need to read and agree with terms and conditions of sale, read and agree to general

Covid guidance and read and agree to a Code of Conduct before confirming your tickets for matches.

If you test positive for Covid a few days after a match, you should contact the Club immediately. An isolation room will be in operation if someone falls unwell or develops Covid symptoms during the game.

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