Radio Suffolk get Blues commentary back

RADIO Suffolk have won back the exclusive full commentary rights to cover Ipswich Town games at Portman Road.

Derek Davis

BBC Radio Suffolk have won back the exclusive full commentary rights to cover Ipswich Town games at Portman Road.

The club have decided to exercise their get out clause with Heart FM with immediate effect and go back to the BBC coverage from this coming season.

Radio Suffolk continued away coverage last season and sent updates from Portman Road but next season will revert to full match coverage home and away.

They have secured the rights to all league, Carling Cup and FA Cup games for the next three years.

Peter Cook, BBC Radio Suffolk's managing editor, said: “We're delighted to be returning full match commentary, home and away, to the station and particularly so for the start of what promises to be an exciting new era for Ipswich Town and their fans.

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“We know just how passionate our listeners are about the club and we're looking forward to celebrating a great season with them."

Heart FM, formerly SGR FM until it was taken over by Global, recently put out a statement saying they wanted to continue with their three-year contract covering Town games but the Blues decided not to carry on with the independent station after listening to supporters.

A Heart Suffolk spokesperson said: “We are delighted to have been able to mutually negotiate our way out of the football commentary contract, as speech is not synonymous with the Heart format. We are pleased for both the Ipswich Town fans and the BBC. Heart Suffolk is delighted to announce that a new music show presented by Emma Bunton will be launched in the slot very soon.”

Town fans had complained they were not all happy with Heart's coverage and others were unhappy they could not pick up the station in various parts of East Anglia where Radio Suffolk was available.

Simon Clegg, Blues chief executive, said: “It is important that we consider the views of the supporters when we make decisions about the club and I'm aware that there was disappointment expressed by some fans about the commentary rights last season.

“I'm sure the decision to team up again with BBC Suffolk will be welcomed by the supporters in what we hope will be an exciting three years ahead at Portman Road.”

While Radio Suffolk have yet to announce their line up of pundits to work alongside commentator Brenner Woolley, it is expected that popular ex-players Alex Mathie, Ray Crawford, Bryan Hamilton and Kevin Beattie, will continue to be used on a match to match basis.

BBC television is also showing full match coverage of some Football league games, including Ipswich Town and there will be a highlights programme starting on the opening day of the season.

The fixtures come out next Wednesday, June 17 and it could be the Blues are featured prominently early on given the Keane effect.