ITFC Open Day: Fans treated to a day of football and fun in the sun
- Credit: Archant
Fans and families queued from 8am in the early moring sunshine to be the first into Portman Road for Ipswich town’s Open Day - a unique opportunity to get signatures, selfies and sneak peeks at training before the start of the season.
The club had more than 5,000 visitors last year and the long lines outside the club this morning showed the faith the fans have in the new-look team, with Chelsea loanee Trevor Chalobah and new arrival from Bristol Rovers, Ellis Harrison set to join the action at today’s open training session.
Fans were also feverish to meet the new manager, Paul Hurst, as they streamed into the stadium.
Tom Hatherall and his son Jack have travelled from Trimley St Mary to add to their Ipswich Town signature book.
Mr Hatherall said: “We’ve been coming to these days for the last four years. Last year we were second in the queue and we’ve been here since 8:15am today.
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“We’re really hoping to meet the manager today, I think it’s great to see him signing some younger players.”
David, Joe and Kiaran Overton, 69, 45 and 9 1/2 respectively, came from Needham Market and have visited Portman Road for the last five open days.
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David said: “It’s a great day - we’re looking forward to seeing some of the new signings.”
“Kiaran has his autograph book and now there’s some more names to go in there.”
Visitors had an hour to get photographs with their favourite players and any memorabilia signed, before getting to check out all the activities going on in the fan zone.
Iain Finch, co-founder of Boots2Africa, was collecting spare football boots from Town fans.
He said: “We’ve got another 10 pairs of boots today, which takes us to over 350 for Ipswich town fans alone.
“It may not sound like much, but it’s 10 more pairs yesterday and I think that’s great.”
The Suffolk FA were also in attendance and invited their Wildcat football schools, clubs dedicated to girls football to take part in a mini football festival for fans to watch.
Darren Scoulding, senior football development officer, said: “The beauty of it was that for the teams it was the first time they have played in a festival.
“Hopefully some girls today will join clubs and teams in the area.”
Wildcats from Beccles, Felixstowe and Ransomes participated, as well as the Ipswich Exiles, as a crowd of onlookers enjoyed the day.
A full squad training session pulled fans into the stands, excited to see the potential stars of the upcoming Championship season, which starts against Blackburn at Portman Road on Saturday, 4 August.
Club mascots Bluey and Crazee ended the training session with a foot race, cheered on by the crowds.
Come back later to see our gallery of photos.