Ipswich Town disappointment for Suffolk FA county cup finalists, but Norwich City joy for Norfolk FA finalists

Bury Town celebrate winning the 2013 Suffolk Premier Cup at Portman Road

Bury Town celebrate winning the 2013 Suffolk Premier Cup at Portman Road - Credit: Archant

So, Portman Road will not host any of the Suffolk County FA cup finals again this season.

What a disappointment.

The reason? Well, if it isn’t a Barry Manilow concert, it’s Ipswich Town’s possible play-off finish – not that Town have been involved with the top-six positions all season or anything!

Here’s the statement, issued from Ipswich Town secretary Sally Webb: “We regret that we are unable to host the county cup finals, as we have done in past years.

“Our stadium may have to host play-off games at the end of the season and if we were fortunate enough to be promoted automatically we would be immediately involved in stadium and pitch renovation which would also prevent us from hosting the cup competitions.”

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That’s Suffolk’s highest-ranked football club’s message to Suffolk non-league football. I’m a little lost for words to be honest.

Like last year, this season’s Suffolk Premier Cup, Senior Cup, and Junior Cup, finalists will again have to ‘make due’ with one of the county’s non-league grounds as their destination to be crowned ‘Suffolk’s best’ in the varying semi-pro steps.

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By saying ‘make due’, I don’t intend to offend any of the destinations and clubs the finals might be held at, my point is that the lure of playing at a professional football club is the whole incentive for part-timers who hold everyday 9-5 jobs in the first place.

For many of these now disappointed clubs and players, playing at Portman Road is, or would be, the pinnacle moment of their careers – especially for the likes of current Junior Cup semi-finalists Ipswich Athletic, Oulton Broad, Ransomes Sports, and Benhall St Mary.

What is even more infuriating for Suffolk non-league is that Ipswich’s big rivals Norwich City have confirmed they will host their three county cup finals at the end of the season – the Norfolk Senior Cup, Junior Cup, and the Sunday Senior Cup finals – all in the space of five days.

Having glanced at the Championship table, guess what I found? Yes, that’s right – Norwich are also involved in the play-off race. Funny that!

What’s the difference between the two clubs?

Well, ahead of Sunday’s big derby clash, it’s quite clearly a lot more than a ONE-point gap in the table, I’m afraid to say.

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