'It's going to be special' - CEO Ashton on return of fans to Portman Road

Mark Ashton, the new CEO of Town, at Portman Road today

Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton can't wait to welcome fans back to Portman Road - Credit: Ross Halls

New Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton says he can't wait to see supporters back at Portman Road, after it emerged all coronavirus restrictions are set to be lifted.

The Blues played almost the entirety of their 2020/21 season behind-closed-doors due to ongoing restrictions, aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic, with just two home matches held with 2,000 supporters in attendance last December.

But, under government plans to ease measures from July 19, sports stadiums will be able to open at full capacity. A final decision will be made on July 12. 

Mark Ashton first day 7

Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton says it will be 'special' to have fans back - Credit: Ross Halls

That means Town's season opener on August 7, at home to Morecambe, and potentially the Portman Road friendlies against Crystal Palace and Millwall, on July 24 and 31 respectively, will be played before fans.

“It’s obviously great news that we can start the season with supporters back in the stadium,” Ashton told the club website.

“Football is all about the fans. The game is nothing without them and I know everyone connected to Ipswich Town can’t wait to see supporters back at Portman Road.

MORE: 'We need to take pride in our home' - Ashton on plans for new pitch, stand upgrades and more at Portman Road

“When I arrived at the club for my first day here, I looked around the stadium and even though it was empty, there was something atmospheric about it.

"I thought then how fantastic it will be to see the players walk out on the first day of the season and hear that roar from the crowd.

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“It’s going to be special to hear that. I can’t wait and I know the manager and the players feel the same.”

Ipswich Town fans show their appreciation at the end of the match.

Ipswich Town fans will be able to watch their team in action in person at Dartford this weekend - Credit: Ashley Pickering

The Blues say they will announce capacity and ticket details for the games on July 24 and 31 in due course. 

They start their pre-season campaign at Princes Park in Dartford this Saturday, with a 1pm kick-off.

That match will have a capacity of 2,000 fans, and will be the first time since December that fans have been able to watch Town play in person.

No tickets will be available on the day, so fans need to buy in advance.

Tickets, priced at £10 for adults, can be bought here.