The Hospital Cup is back – Ipswich Town v Norwich City ‘friendly’ will be an Under-16 fixture

Ipswich Town academy staff Bryan Klug (left) and Simon Milton with The Hospital Cup, which is to be

Ipswich Town academy staff Bryan Klug (left) and Simon Milton with The Hospital Cup, which is to be re-launched as a competition between Ipswich and Norwich's U16s. PHOTO: Simon Parker

The Hospital Cup – a defunct annual pre-season friendly between Ipswich Town and Norwich City – has been relaunched as an Under-16 match.

The East Anglian rivals always used to play each other in a first team fixture every summer, those series of fixtures ending in 1990 but now being revisited in the name of youth development and charity.

Town will host their Norfolk rivals under the lights at Portman Road on Thursday, April 30, with tickets costing £5 per adult, £3 for concessions and £1 per child. Gate receipts will be split between the ITFC Academy Association and the East Anglian Children’s Hospice.

“We all remember those Hospital Cup games fondly and it’s a great idea to revisit the competition in an Under-16 format,” said Town academy director Bryan Klug.

“In recent years our Under-15s have played Manchester United and Tottenham at Portman Road. Those sort of high-profile games are so important because it is the first time any of them get chance to play at Portman Road and really get a feel for what that’s all about.

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“Any game against Norwich, at any level, is special for everybody involved. It will be a great experience for them and will hopefully show them that they are on a pathway towards the first team.”

Former Town midfielder Simon Milton, now the club’s academy fundraiser, said: “I’ve got great memories of the Hospital Cup as a first team competition. One summer Norwich actually tried to buy me, I went up there to talk to Dave Stringer, but I opted against it because I was really settled here.

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“A few weeks later I played in the Hospital Cup and scored early on. We were second division and they were first division but we won 4-0. It may have been called a ‘friendly’ but it never was!”

Milton continued: “This is a really good chance for supporters to see the club’s future generation of talent, but if you can’t make it to the game but would still like to make a donation we are encouraging people to buy a ticket – maybe two or three – to support both causes.

“Long-term, we’d love to make this a two-legged fixture with a return match at Carrow Road.”

– Ipswich Town’s U12s are travelling to Dublin, Ireland this weekend, thanks to sponsorship from Farnham Leisure, to play in the Premier Sports International Cup.

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