Stick with us: Paul Jewell’s message to Town fans as big crowd expected for Blackburn opener
Ipswich v Blackburn: Paul Jewell has called on his Town team to put on a show against Blackburn tomorrow – to make sure the Super Blues keep returning.
The club are hopeful of a crowd somewhere around the 20,000-mark for the visit of relegated Rovers to kick-start the Championship season.
But while Jewell believes fans understand the predicament facing Ipswich, he knows they will not keep returning unless they are entertained.
He said: “The dream is to get 30,000 every home game. It’s going to be a hot summer’s day tomorrow, if we can get 20-plus thousand and reward them with a good game of football then hopefully they’ll stick with us.
“I’m sure the supporters understand the situation we’re in. The Premier League is obviously the Holy Grail, this is a great club, a big club, but we’ve been in the Championship a long time now. The club has maybe stagnated a bit and now it’s important that we progress.”
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Jewell believes his increased emphasis on younger players might resonate with supporters – while also offering his team a little patience from the sidelines.
He added: “It’s a long season and our fans have been long-suffering. We want to give them hope for the future. The younger players will hopefully do that.
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“Part of that is getting the team to feel like part of the community. Having the right age group who are giving their best will mean the supporters will hopefully think ‘these lads need our help here’ and get right behind them.
“As long as there are signs of progress, I’m sure the supporters will stay with them.”
Successive home matches, a friendly against West Ham and the midweek cup win over Bristol Rovers, has seen attendances of below 10,000.
But new keeper Scott Loach has been impressed with the noise inside Portman Road while the club have made efforts to improve atmosphere – with the new cheerleading group, the Uptown Girls, and a new anthem.
Frank Sinatra’s My Way, a favourite of Sir Bobby Robson’s, was chosen after almost 9,000 fans took part in a online vote conducted by the club.
And Loach said: “We didn’t have too many fans here for West Ham and Bristol Rovers but it was still a great reception.
“It just made me want the Blackburn game to come quicker and faster for me. I just thought imagine what the 18th would be like?
“It has been great for all the lads and we are all champing at the bit for the start of the league season.”
* More information on ticket prices for tomorrow’s match, which the club have given a C Grade status in a bid to entice a bigger crowd, is available from www.itfc.co.uk.