Snow joke -10 years on: The night Keano and Sven went head-to-head in a Portman Road winter classic!
- Credit: Archant
Ten years ago I was sitting in the press box at Ipswich Town watching one of the most extraordinary games ever played at the ground, as Portman Road turned into a winter wonderland.
It was December 18, 2010, a Saturday night - and it snowed! And snowed. And snowed.
Town were at home to Leicester, in the Championship - it was live on Sky with a 5.30pm kick-off. As we all took our places in the ground, little did we know the drama about to unfold.
It was Roy Keane's Blues up against Sven-Goran Eriksson's Foxes and it proved the most bizarre snow fest of a game I, and I suggest most people in the stadium, let alone watching on TV, had ever seen!
How on earth the game finished, I will never know. Would it have been played today? No chance.
It didn't actually snow much during the day, although four games in the Premier League and four in the Championship fell victim to the weather that afternoon and the forecast for Ipswich that evening was not great - unless you liked snow.
So, when referee Stuart Atwell passed the Portman Road pitch playable at lunchtime, all seemed well. However, as predicted, by the time kick-off came, so had the snow - the playing surface was soon covered, the lines had to be painted blue!
Ipswich were on a poor run of form, so when David Norris and a Jason Scotland double, put Keane's side three-up after 40 minutes, the shivering Portman Road crowd were lapping it up. Snowballs were being thrown in celebration while the goals rained in... Or is that 'snowed' in?
- 1 Flooding leaves main route through town 'impassable'
- 2 Suffolk to miss worst of thunderstorms - but heavy downpours still expected
- 3 Five cars and a horsebox involved in crash near RAF base
- 4 Teenager who lost driving licence receives surprise in post
- 5 A14 reopens after serious crash leaves road closed for several hours
- 6 Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich's 1-0 win at Lincoln
- 7 See inside stunning £2m Woodbridge home with 'fantastic leisure complex'
- 8 'It was a clear foul' - Imps boss Appleton angry after Town defeat
- 9 Two cars set alight in two different streets
- 10 600 protesters form 'human wall' to oppose Sizewell C sea defences
Not that the Foxes were enjoying it as they skated around the pitch.
Play was held up for 15 minutes, on the hour, as the lines were cleared again, Keane making it 'subtly' clear to officials there was no reason to abandon the game with his side in the ascendency.
Poor Sven could only watch on in disbelieve.
The game slithered to a finish and Town won 3-0. Ipswich fans were happy, Sky were happy, Keano was happy! Only poor Sven appeared in shock!
Some of the after match quotes were a delight.
ROY KEANE: "The referee had a tough decision to make and he was put under a lot of pressure by Leicester. That's what you'd expect and if it was the other way round we would have done the same thing.
"But he stuck at it and fair play to him for that.
"It wasn't easy and he needed to look after the safety of the players. The fact we were three up put him under more pressure but he made the right decision."
SVEN GORAN-ERIKSSON: "I don't think the game should have started. Everyone knew that at 5pm there was going to be heavy snow around Ipswich.
"The forecast was for more so the referee's decision was bad for everyone. Who wants to see a game played in conditions like that? The game was being shown worldwide but was very bad publicity for football.
"If I'd been watching the game in a bar in Australia or Sweden I'd have switched off. You go skiing on snow, not play football.
"It was a pity. My players aren't good on snow. I didn't know that beforehand but I do now."
Ha, ha, great quotes.
As for me and many of the fans at Portman Road that night.
Well, it was still coming down in torrents as we left the ground. I remember wondering if my car would get up Freston Hill on the way home, so thick was it! As for the poor Leicester fans travelling back up the A14. What a journey they must have had.
I also remember it was still snowing when I walked down the pub that evening. And it snowed all night as well, as Suffolk enjoyed a very white Christmas.
Oh.. And Town got the three points that night, of course. Far more important!