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Who Should My Son Support?
Written by johnwarkstache on Friday, 28th Sep 2012 15:38

I am an ITFC supporter, born and raised in London, who now lives in Berkshire. I’ve never lived in or near Ipswich but do have family in the surrounding areas, who are season ticket holders. I chose Ipswich as a kid and have never looked back.

I go to fewer and fewer games as the years go by but in the late 80s through to the early noughties (the Lyall and Burley/Holland years) I was following the Town up and down the country on a regular basis, as well as to other countries such as Russia and Luxembourg.

I’m not laying claim to be the most ardent fan but feel I have 'done my time' and do still go every now and then, my last trip to PR being the 0-3 to Millwall at the end of last season

So that is my preface and this is my dilemma. I have recently spawned a young child, a boy. Who should he support?

Option 1 - ITFC. An obvious choice to many reading on here. His Dad follows them so he should too. I love Ipswich. I love our history, our ground and what we stand for, although this seems to be eroded as each day goes by.

I love the fact we are the only team to have supplied two England managers (and the two most successful ones at that), the fact that we won Division Two and Division One in successive years. That we won the FA Cup and Osborne had to be substituted after scoring the winning goal, just because he was overcome with excitement. Fantastic

Nowadays though, to an exiled supporter, Ipswich is a hard sell and I see no way out of the rut we’re in. I have a friend who tried to get his sons to follow the Town and was ridiculed in the playground. It’s all Premier and Champions Leagues now. No-one gives two hoots about FA Cups and England.

Also, to be frank, I live on the wrong side of London and it’s a pain in the arse to get across to Ipswich. Would love it if he travelled up there every week but would I want to impose that on him? Would I like to see my son go to fewer live games at Ipswich or follow a local team and go more often and at lesser cost? 'Support your local team' is what 'true' fans always seem to say. This leads me to my next option.

Option 2 - Reading. The local team. Non-descript outfit. No history. Horrible out of town ground, easily accessible by car but complete ‘mare if, heaven forbid, you wanted a drink on your day out at football.

Still, he’d be following his 'local team', he’d be able to attend regularly and maybe some in his playground would follow them too.

Option 3 - QPR. His mother’s family are all QPR. Genuine QPR. Season ticket holders etc. We live on the right side of London for QPR so local-ish.

Loftus Road has to be one of my favourite away grounds and, Magilton sacking aside, I don’t hold too much against them. Bit of a joke club with the wacky, rich, foreign money-bags owners but hate a lot of other clubs more.

Option 4 - A non-league team. I already attend local non-league fixtures. And can do without feeling I am cheating on Ipswich, because they are non-league. Can my son have a non-league team who he watches regularly and then go and see Ipswich every now and then?

Option 5 - Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool etc. A non-option in my view. Will get rid of Sky Sports if any of these picked.

My son is only six weeks old so doesn’t have to be a knee-jerk reaction. At the end of the day, he will choose himself, but which way should I guide him? People are already asking.

This is my debut blog, so feel free to rip to shreds. Thanks for reading and will see you at the Amex on Tuesday.

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

Edmunds5 added 16:17 - Sep 28
Like the blog, and the fact that it takes on a different perspective on being a supporter and congratulations on your son!. I'm 19 so I wouldn't really know, but what I can say is that all the things I did when I was younger and do now are all things that I kind of inherited from him, though its nature to make your own decisions when your older even now most of the music I get into is recommended by him even though some is right tosh!, where as the mainstream music on the Radio is something I would not relate too. In terms of the options I think it is only right for me say option 1!, I'm a strong believer that you should support your local team, for me its a genuine connection, I think if you move somewhere else or for example go to university somewhere or something like that you can then build a bit of a soft spot for teams, as a football fan I have soft spots for teams in the way they play football and the managers personality and thinks like that, for example I have a bit of a soft spot for Wigan which probably sounds a bit laughable. But then some people are not as into football so wont think that deeply. I hope I haven't talked too much rubbish mate.

BlindMullets added 16:24 - Sep 28
Good blog. Ultimately - I reckon he'll choose his own team when he gets to school age...but I feel your pain.

I face the same situation myself, should I guide my young son towards Town or let him choose a more local alternative (except the local team is Plymouth - so not so attractive as QPR). Not sure I can put him through the continual depression of supporting ITFC. Partners family are dirty Leeds fans - so thats not really an option - and I'd rather eat my own foot than buy a replica Man U, Man C, Arsenal etc replica kit.

Maybe I should just buy him a rugby ball - or ballet shoes?!

cornishnick added 16:27 - Sep 28
Unfortunately there is little you can do to "influence" them. Despite my best efforts, my son is a Man Utd fan. The only games he has actually ever been to have been Town games, but still supports Man Utd. And living in Cornwall, it's obviously a Man Utd/Chelsea/Man City glory seeking hotbed. You'll probably find much the same in Berkshire

megamoth added 16:58 - Sep 28
Something that I can totally relate to! I have a 1 year old boy and live in north west london. When i was last in Town - to see us draw with Huddersfield - I made my decision and chose option 1. I bought him a replica home shirt. Not an easy decision to make. The thought that I would willingly take him through the dross that I have to put up with and have done for the best part of 30 years, is agonising. I remember as a boy watching ITFC during the Bobby Ferguson years. I was mostly inconsolable. How can I justify putting my son through the same thing when it's no longer my (or his) local team? Anyone know a good therapist?

TheBoyBlue added 17:06 - Sep 28
I have a similar battle, though I live locally so not quite as bad. My boy is 5 years old but his mother supports Chelsea. However, I seem to be winning the battle in getting him to be a Town fan with Chelsea being his second team. I took him to his first game when we played West Ham in pre-season and he loved it and wants to go again – so there is hope. I remember going to my first games when I was ten and Town were deep in the Duncan era but I just loved going to the games and I imagine if you can get him along to some actual Town matches as soon as he’s vaguely old enough to take it in you stand a chance.

Farmers_Union added 17:28 - Sep 28
Feel your plight... My dilemma is similar in many ways. I'm nearly 40 and also live in Berkshire. My decision to support Town as a youngster was based purely on being a fickle glory hunter, and who better to choose than an Ipswich side under the influence of Legend Bobby!! My closest Prem team is also Reading, whom I have watched every time Ipswich have visited. I do go to as many Town games as I get a chance to, in between work commitments and family time!

My son has just turned 5 and already school friends are talking football. I would love him to appreciate the history and nature of ITFC, yet sadly I don't think he will follow in my footsteps and be in the minority of Town supporters outside of Suffolk! He will make his own decisions in time I guess, but feel he may be swayed away from everything I have followed intently since a kid. I still have my scrap books, shirts and memorabilia dating back to the great years and hope one day to pass them down to my son as his enthusiasm grows for the club... Fingers crossed!!

ITFCOYB added 17:37 - Sep 28

(Nice blog)

The lad is a Town fan, and that's just the way it is. You follow your dad's team- it's how you bond. If he kicks out against that, or you take him to too many Reading games and he gets tempted away, then you have pretty much failed as a father.

If he supports his mum's team, you definitely failed as a father. (Can you really imagine going to visit the in-laws with him in THEIR colours? An insult to your manliness.)

Needless to say i don't REALLY believe any of that- especially any of it that MIGHT be considered sexist - and if you love the little tyke, he'll do just fine, but come on dude, man-up.

ITFC forever.

itfc24 added 17:49 - Sep 28
A good read.

Like you I live in London I have the same dilemma, my son is 19 months and does own a full Ipswich kit and I had the full intention of getting him into the Town however what kid from outside Ipswich wants to support a football team of a town they themselves have no connection to especially when all their mates and their family are Arsenal fans. Also do I want to inflict upon my son the truama/boredom/frustration of watching us play everyweek especially with the train journey there and back.

I love the fact he runs around the park in the summer in his Ipswich kit but when he is 4 or 5 years old im not sure he will feel the same way!

Basically I dont have an answer to your dilemma but I feel your pain!

StowTractorBoy added 17:52 - Sep 28
I have 2 sons both of whom support Ipswich Town as it should be. One has fallen by the wayside but supports no one else and would no doubt be at Wembely for the play offs ho ho. The other is a season ticket holder who is forever asking Dad why the hell did you make my support Ipswich. He is hooked now so it is too late to change. It has to be Dads team.

Blue041273 added 18:02 - Sep 28

Agree completely. What's the point of having children if you're not prepared to instil in them your own social values. One of the great successes of my life is having two children who have both chosen to follow the hereditary path of being ITFC supporters despite the attraction of the big league teams chosen by their friends. I fully expect my grandson (18 months) to follow suit and if I've got anything to do with it he will be attending games at PR within the next 10 years or so.


billysdad added 18:49 - Sep 28
My son is also 5. The other day he told me his favourite colours were green and yellow. I wanted to make him sleep in the garage for that but his mum said that was a bit harsh. However all is not lost. With the promise of a new duvet cover, curtains and rug for his bedroom ( all to come from the ITFC shop ) I will get him to be a blue.

Or I'll put him up for adoption.

afrodids added 18:55 - Sep 28
nice blog. I have an eight year old daughter who's mother hates football,really hates football and also lives in cornwall whereas I live in suffolk and have always been a town fan. I to took her to the pre-season game against west ham when I had her in the skool holidays. she loved it and it was easy to get her into a town shirt to take back to her mothers he he. Every time I have her for the hols I will make a point of catching a game if one's available. Look on the bright side by the time your son goes to skool we might even be in the premier league (don't laugh to hard) but in the meantime I think to start an Ipswich babygrow will start the ball rolling. my m8 lives in Brighton and his daughter is a town fan. really you only have one option it's town all the way fella. :)

afrodids added 18:57 - Sep 28
billysdad you just me me pmsl pure quality m8 love it

afrodids added 18:59 - Sep 28
ffs *too bloody keyboard!!!!!


Dalty added 19:05 - Sep 28
Excellent blog, as a Town fan living in Manchester similar thoughts cross my mind about what I'd do if/when I have children.

Much as I'd love them to support Ipswich I doubt I'd enforce it on them due to 2 factors. Firstly, Manchester's the other side of the country from Ipswich so its not natural to expect them to support a team from that far away. Secondly, Manchester has two league clubs (plus several more nearby). If I was living in a town without a league club I may think differently, but I've generally believed that if you grow up near a league club you should support them.

I can relate to option 4 in your article too, I go to watch Glossop North End occasionally as it doesn't feel like I am cheating on Ipswich because they're non-league. In addition to taking them with me to Ipswich games I'd also take them to see Glossop and would be happy to see them support them if it came down to it, but I'd far more likely expect to see them grow up supporting Manchester United or Manchester City if I'm being honest!

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 19:16 - Sep 28
Get him off to a Town game and let him meet one of the players, or arrange a stadium tour. Do whatever it takes. He must obviously be a Town fan. The alternatives you mention are too horrible to contemplate: either boring nonentities or rich nonentities. Our worldwide support shows you don't have to be present at every match to be a Town fan, although I do understand that as a young kid that would help cement the contrac. This is a battle you must win, but you will need to go about it carefully. Then when he's made the right choice, "by himself," he will be on the straight and narrow track for life. Good luck!

oldegold added 21:17 - Sep 28
I have been a Town supporter since 1975 and "exposed" my daughter and son to being Town supporters. I live abroad in Italy where the rich fancy kids follow AC Milan Inter Chelsea and Man Utd because it's the moneyfied, rich and easy choice and my kids get perplexed looks from all and sundry. Why support Town ? Brcause they're my team...nuff said. And I hope my children, notwithstanding the taunts and ridicule will uphold the proud tradition. Remeber the good 'ol days in '81 when we were ( probably) the best team in Europe and Chelsea were a mediocre and struggling 2nd division team. I know those days will never return and I'm under no illusions but football-wise, Town are part of my heritage and money can't buy that.

not_a_witty_name added 03:48 - Sep 29
Good blog, it is just a pity that ITFC are in a position that you have had to think about it.
I do believe that you should support the team local to where you spent your youth but supporting your Dad's team is acceptable too.
Ideally by the time he is into football, the town may have got their act together and will be his club but as the distance is quite large then there is no shame in being fond of a more local team

bourneblue73 added 05:16 - Sep 29
Excellent blog....

When I was growing up in suffolk my Dad desperately tried to get me to support his team ... Leeds. I remember at first when I was far too young to realise I went along with it - but soon realised if I supported my local club it wound him up :) So I started to follow Ipswich - of course in those days it helped having Bobby Robson as manager, a team that had appeared in what seemed like a really cool film (Escape to Victory), and several England stars in the team, AND to top it all off - when we were selling the house - a certail Paul Mariner showing up one day to look round... where he found a bedroom full of town posters across the walls, piles of matchday programmes on the shelves and a 6 year old boy sat wide eyed with excitement on his bed .. with a pen. But that is really how my support for the blues started - because my Dad tried to get me to support his team - so I ended up not just going for the local team but main rivals at that time! - Let that be a warning to you if you try to overdo it getting him to support the blues - he'll become a budgie!!!

DurhamTownFan added 08:56 - Sep 29
Sounds like you also are wondering who to support these days as well!

Simple answer here: youbwill pay for any town kit he ever wants. If he wants to support another team, he is perfectly free to pay for kit himsel.good compromise?

slaughteredskipper added 11:45 - Sep 29
Being the father of 2 girls I'm still looking forward to taking them to their first footy match at Ipswich. Cos that's who we are, that's the 'tribe' we belong to, their dad is a town fan so they are too. It builds character being an Ipswich fan, able to celebrate success as well as deal with disappointment, much better than the soulless kids who support Chelsea or man city or man utd or whichever is most successful at the time. These are the same kids who support brazil in the world cup!! Your son is a town fan through and through don't bring him up thinking life is all premier league titles and 8 figure signings! Football is more than that!

blueandwhitebadger added 15:43 - Sep 29
I support Ipswich and my wife supports naaarwich.
So it's been a battle to see who can corrupt the kids first.
I am sadly losing as my 6yr old daughter is favouring the budgies.
I hold out hope for my 2yr old son who seems to like our badge with the horse and ball!


SteveH added 18:11 - Sep 29
I have tried to give my two an Ipswich upbringing. But my 9 year old daughter doesn't really like football and my 6 year old son has the attention span of a sparrow. I took them both to a match and by 20 minutes in they were both bored. Having two bored kids is not a good way to watch a match and I was relieved to hear the final whistle! (and we lost).

Two days later, they are both asking when can they go to watch football again. Kids!

And BillysDad - if adoption is too slow try EBay.

Elkcib added 18:32 - Sep 29
I have 2 boys aged 8 & 4. I am Ipswich through & through but have lived away from the town for 26 years, currently in Milton Keynes for the past 16 years. My boys have a choice, we go to many more MKDons games being just 2miles away, and I will let them make their own choice but I'm happy to say right now it's a dead split between ITFC & MK.

VINNIEBLUE added 18:52 - Sep 29
Nice read, but you must do what needs to be done, 'brian wash' your son, all parents do it what ever the topic. I have have 3 chidren (23,21 & 14) and they all support town, why? coz I told them too in a round about way, you know, talk about how good we are to you wife/partner when they are in 'ear shot' leave ITFC programes about the house, Have the 1978 FA Final on 'Loop' on your PC and before you know it, they'ell support Town and wont know why !!!
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