Karen Pickering: Town have to keep fans on side

SPORTS ambassador for Ipswich and Portman Road regular, Karen Pickering, has urged the Blues not to “shoot themselves in the foot” over the Middlesbrough ticket situation.

Fans that attended the abandoned game with the Teesiders on Saturday will receive a significant discount of over 50 per cent should they wish to attend the re-arranged fixture.

However, there have been calls from supporters that those that watched the 37 minutes of football at the weekend, should be allowed to go for free.

Former Olympic swimmer, Pickering, a keen supporter of the Blues, admitted the club had been put in a difficult situation but stressed the importance of keeping the fans on side.

“Ipswich are not doing great in the Championship and yet the supporters turned out in their thousands, on a cold day, to support their team, so the club have to be careful to not shoot themselves in the foot,” said the former Commonwealth Games gold medalist.

“The club have to respect the fans that turn out, especially with the league position the team are in.

“If you are local travelling to the game is not as bad but I know the Blues have a big London following, for instance, and I can understand those supporters being gutted, especially when there is not a huge amount of money around at this moment in time.

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“I don’t know all the facts and I will understand if the club say that they can’t afford to do anything more than that (the discounts they have offered), but they do have to be aware that the people losing out are the fans.”

Pickering, did however suggest football should follow cricket’s stance and bring in a regulation where after a certain period of play, if a game is abandoned, supporters would not be entitled to a full refund.

“In cricket, once the game has progressed past a certain amount of overs, supporters don’t receive a full refund and there probably should be something similar in football but the dilemma would be, what would constitute a full refund and what wouldn’t.”