Banner is banned from Portman Road

THE 'Magilton Out' banner has been banned at Portman Road on 'health and safety' grounds.

Derek Davis

THE 'Magilton Out' banner has been banned at Portman Road on 'health and safety' grounds.

Ipswich Town fans who tried to raise the home-made flag, which had been displayed at home games against Bristol City and Cardiff City, towards the end of the 1-0 home defeat by Birmingham City were told to take it down by stewards who tried to confiscate it.

That prompted a game of cat and mouse and supporters passed it to other sections of the crowd who lifted it briefly then passed it on again as stewards closed in.

One of the fans holding the banner aloft initially was 32-year-old Richard Moss from Haverhill and he sees the ban as an attack on Town fans' freedom of speech.

He said: “Surely we are entitled to our opinion and we can show that with this flag. We have flown it before and not been stopped but now the stewards have told us we are not allowed to put it up.

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“We asked why and were told only 'those up top don't want it' but that is not on.

“We have the right to be heard and when the stewards tried to take the flag other supporters took it for us and showed it. They also started chanting 'We Want Magilton Out' when the flag was down.”

While Blues' supporters got behind the team in the main there was a couple of dissenting chats, including, 'what a load of rubbish' towards the end of the game.

Moss said: “I started with the flag and others have joined in. I started because I'm fed up with what I have been watching. I have supported Ipswich Town since I was eight, that is 24 years, and this is the worst I have seen.

“I will still support the team, but I will not support the manager.

“I will be at Derby and will cheer for the players but I will be raising the flag.”

Moss accepts that some fans do not agree with the sentiment behind the banner but argues more are joining in the protests.

He said: “A few weeks ago against Bristol City there were some supporters who said they did not agree with the flag but more and more are now joining in and it seems more want a change in manager.

“There are also others who say nothing either way.”

But the club defended its action by claiming the flag contravened health and safety regulations.

Director of communications Terry Baxter said: “The club is very happy for supporters to voice their opinions. However, as a licensed public venue we have an obligation under health and safety regulations to protect our customers. Therefore, flags and banners must meet health and safety rules, which in part include them being fire-proofed.”