Portman Road may stage finals

DOZENS of amateur footballers could get the chance to play at Portman Road after Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks last night promised to review their decision banning junior cup finals, writes Derek Davis.

DOZENS of amateur footballers could get the chance to play at Portman Road after Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks last night promised to review their decision banning junior cup finals, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues supremo revealed talks were being arranged with Suffolk FA chairman Martin Head to look at allowing more of the body's finals to be held on the pristine pitch.

The move comes after Sheepshanks was a guest at the opening of the Suffolk FA's new headquarters in Stowmarket and the two men agreed to meet later this month to discuss a range of issues.

Sheepshanks said: "I look forward to sitting down with Martin and discussing a number of ways Ipswich Town can help the Suffolk FA. We already have very good relations, especially with our community coaching courses which are run at Portman Road and we are keen to see what we can sensibly do without causing damage to the Portman Road pitch."


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The club currently hosts the Suffolk Senior Cup final but not the more prestigious Suffolk Premier Cup or other local finals due to an abuse of the facilities almost 10 years ago.

A dim view was taken of damage caused by visiting players in a cup final held before Sheepshanks was made chairman of the club and teams have not been allowed back since.

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But the club now looks close to relenting after lobbying by the FA and clubs in the area.

An open letter by a scribe under the name 'The Old Codger' was printed in the AFC Sudbury programme for Tuesday's visit by Town.

He wrote: "…It would be so wonderful for so many of the counties (sic) junior clubs and their players if all Suffolk finals were at Portman Road. It would be a highlight at present only enjoyed by a few, but you and your Board have the power to make it for so many.

"It would also be the greatest PR exercise your club could ever undertake locally…"

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