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What's the Stay Away Fans' Excuse Now? An Open Letter to Certain Town Fans
Written by MikeDove33 on Friday, 22nd Sep 2017 13:05

To my fellow Ipswich Town fans, I’ve often thought about writing an open letter to other Ipswich fans over the past 1-2 years. I always eventually went off the idea, due to the fact that the negativity it may have received from certain fans who only seem to thrive on matters of a negative nature at ITFC, would outweigh any positive outcome.

However, after Saturdays win against Bolton I felt compelled to do so this time. What will it achieve? Probably nothing other than the aforementioned people having a laugh at my expense or other fans of a similar mindset.

Although my first ever match was actually the Cup Final in 78, not that I remember anything about it, I have followed Ipswich religiously since 1986 when I was 10 years old and my first ever game at Portman Road was when one of our many legends, Jason Dozzell, made his debut against Coventry. I was hooked from thereon.

Like many other fans who live and breathe our truly amazing club, I have travelled the length and breadth of the country to follow the Town through thick and thin.

Nowadays it is not so easy, I live in Oxford and am married with two children. I aim to get to Portman Road 10-15 times a season and grab away games when I can.

The last couple of seasons have plainly not been great for Ipswich fans, the players, management, staff and owner alike.

This letter is not about going into opinions on why things have gone wrong on the pitch. Rightly or wrongly everyone is entitled to their opinions, although I think the way some fans deliver it in this age of social media is totally abhorrent.

This is meant to be a club they love and want to do well. The manner of social media attacks on players, management etc was hardly going to inspire positive performances on the pitch. It would have worn down the hardiest of souls eventually. Thankfully the squad and manager pulled together and kept us up.

I, like many, have my own private frustrations with certain things going on at Ipswich currently, but personally I’m a huge fan of Mick McCarthy and feel he has worked wonders with very little resources and huge slices of bad luck at points. That’s just my opinion, though.

My issue and the point of this letter is with certain Town fans who are staying away from Portman Road this season. Last season as we know was one to forget for the most part. It drove me mad that people stayed away then, but that’s history. Over the summer the owner gave Mick money and I believe it was well spent. The club also responded to the pricing structure etc. On Saturday my wife and daughter sat in great seats in the Co-op Stand lower and it cost just £28 in total.

Every new season starts with a swell of confidence for all football fans across the country and I’d like to think it’s the same for Town fans. We started with, and still have a pretty horrific injury list.

However, we have had a fantastic start and picked up five wins from seven matches. Whether people think it’s been against weak sides or we have had luck, that’s irrelevant. You can only beat what’s in front of you.

We still have a number of players to come back and from the outside looking in, the squad spirit is as good as ever. This could be a season when very good things could potentially happen.

There is, however, a very fine line between that and having a bad season, luck also plays its part in that. However, we have all seen what happens generally when a team get on a role in this insane league and the momentum keeps going.

We have the foundation in place with our good start. Hopefully when everyone is back fit we can go a long way towards getting things back to where we all want them.

But why oh why are a number of fans staying away from Portman Road on match day? Do you have any idea just quite how huge the part you play during a game is? Fans had a lot to say about season tickets, ticket prices, performances, lack of signings etc over the summer. Well, the club listened and responded in a positive manner.

The boys then started the season at home very well indeed. What is the excuse of the stay away fans now though? If you want the club you love so dearly to succeed then you should be there in numbers packing it out and giving the players the extra lift to achieve even higher performance levels, not just for the so called bigger fixtures.

Staying away is achieving nothing other than you missing out and probably disappointing the players. Many owners, managers and players say that results are what bring the fans back. I’ve generally believed this to be true. What is the excuse of some of our fans then? We have won all but one of our home games, the prices have been reduced, new players have been signed, our existing best players are buzzing and the youngsters coming through from the Academy are very exciting.

To me, it all equates to a pretty good reason to get down to Portman Road on a Saturday or midweek. Or are you just making some sort of stand against the owner and manager? Seems to me like you are the ones missing out and the players are the victims.

A much busier stadium obviously means more revenue and fingers crossed will in time mean more budget for players and hopefully even more competitive pricing structures for season tickets and general matchday admission. Above all it will create a big swell of positivity and a brilliant atmosphere on match day and in the Town in general.

Even if there are still gripes amongst certain fans with the way the club is run or the team is managed, do the players, who are the ones we want to see doing well deserve to come out on match day when they are actually winning games to see a more than half empty stadium?

I spoke to a chap on Saturday after the Bolton game and he said, “I’m not coming next game because the football in the first half was rubbish”. What about the pretty decent and promising second half that won us the game? This mentality is crazy!

It’s only my opinion, but personally I think we could be on the cusp of something pretty special at the club, but equally we could be on the precipice of something pretty worrying if fans continue to stay away when the results are actually there.

I’m obviously not pinning the success or failure of the club on the fans, I think we have some of the best fans in the country and our away support backs that up every time we travel and has done for many years. I just feel that if the club are actually acting upon a lot of the issues fans had, yet they are still staying away then that is worrying and needs to be addressed by us, not the club.

We, the fans, are the lifeblood of the club and we will always be there. Players, managers and owners will come and go, but we won’t. Why stay away and sit at home moaning about the style of football, the prices, the owner, the players etc? Seems to me like a waste of time when we don’t have a whole lot of time on this planet as it is, make the most of it, and whilst we are it cheer our beloved club on through thick and thin.

Let’s buck the trend of the stereotypical moaning football fan, get behind our boys in blue and get us back where we belong!


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Gogs added 14:05 - Sep 22
My reason is pretty simple. I decided a few years ago that attending football was an expensive luxury I could live without. I may go back to the odd game here or there but I doubt I'll get a season ticket again any time soon. Last game I went to was the Rotherham 0-1 debacle the season before last. My attitude wouldn't change if we were flying high in the premier league or if we were in a league one relegation scrap. It's largely football's fault I feel like this rather than ITFC

Surco72 added 14:17 - Sep 22
Being one if the stay away fans ... I will respond

Firstly I have three children ages from 7-17 who travel from Dorset with me to games who became so bored and disillusioned with the total lack of entertainment they actually asked me if they had to go anymore .

We have not spent a great deal of money on signings for the transfer fees we have received over the last few years to excite the supporters

MM's style of play and views towards football are not those that I share and find stifling the opposition or stopping them play rather than impose your own play is dated and short term at best

The prices are the high end of the championship where our football and entertainment value is low mid table to bottom, and 5 wins against the teams that will be in the relegation dogfight and getting outplayed by a number of them for large periods and getting comfortably beaten by the only decent teams we have played

Personally I think it is far too early into the season to be thinking everything has changed and the crowds are going to flood back after a number of seasons of dire football and MM's big headed arrogance towards the supporters who pay their money to watch . But as you say it is all about opinions

Slambo added 17:04 - Sep 22
I hear you MikeDove..! Win or lose, tiki-taka passing or hoofball, the only thing that would stop me coming would be if there was a serious threat to the integrity of the club, and by that mean messing around with the team name or shirt colours, or trying to move us to some plastic bowl on Ransome's Europark named after a Chinese betting syndicate. But then for me, following Ipswich goes beyond simply watching a football match; it's about getting on the grog with my mates, singing some songs and jumping about. It's about representing my tribe. I feel like if I gave up on Ipswich it would be like abandoning my community, and in an abstract way, giving up on myself...

Gogs, I fully understand your general disillusionment, and it's something I bleat on about to anyone who'll listen. The malaise that surrounds Ipswich (and it is, for now, a puzzling one) really has to do with football in general. Until fans wake up and realise that 99% of clubs are there just to make it viable for Man U, Man City and Chelsea to play pass-the-parcel with all the trophies, nothing will change...

Surco72 - you're being hard on yourself buh, Dorset's a long way away..! I assume you're originally from Ipswich..? It might be harder for your kids as well as they perhaps don't have the affinity with the club and town that you do. Please don't let them become Man U glory hunters, though...

Blue041273 added 17:55 - Sep 22
Slambo, I'm with you! I hate having to miss a home game even though the travelling with ancillary costs is becoming an expensive exercise. I am not from East Anglia but I love the area and Ipswich in particular. Over the years I have developed many friendships with people in the area that have a genuine affection for the club. I love the whole dynamic of a Saturday home match from the morning build up, the lunchtime prematch drinks through the game to the celebratory/commisiratory post match drinks. This is part of my lifestyle!

I would not criticise others that have chosen to desert the cause but like Mike would love nothing better than to see PR full and rocking in support of the team again.

Following Football and Ipswich in particular is a lifestyle choice and I acknowledge that there are other competing options but being the football optimist that I am, I feel that the future is bright.

BlueArrow added 18:16 - Sep 22
Stitching up the 60+s of which I am simple as

Blue041273 added 20:53 - Sep 22
Blue arrow?

I am 60+. I don't feel stitched up. There are those that love the club/team through thick & thin and there are those that love football, it's style and the thrill and buzz you get from seeing a good game. These are not mutually exclusives, and while I totally respect those that yearn for a quality style of football, for me the love of the club is paramount. If I wanted to see a successful team I would go to Man U, Man City etc. If the objective was to see basic thrilling football I would watch the kids or non league football!

But Ipswich is my team. I would love them to play a free flowing game but hey! I will follow them into the next world! Whatever that brings. Good or bad!


northblue added 21:12 - Sep 22
Well said. I have to spread my cost of my season ticket over the year. I would dearly love to go to away games. Win or lose and I have my moans I look forward to going to portman road with my brother in law

braveblue added 21:28 - Sep 22
I had a concession. It was removed. The football was boring. Results are better but the football is poor. The manager is arrogant and has a go at fans. He abhors creativity and plays certain players regardless of form and out of position if necessary. We need entertainment to get fans back. You may disagree but 14000 when 5th in league rather proves my point. I had a season ticket for 25 years.

dbis78 added 21:47 - Sep 22
Well said Mike, and timely. I'm a season ticket holder, live in Sussex after having grown up in Suffolk, we go to every home game, and most of the southern away games, travel costs me more than the tickets. People forget that not that long ago we had BFJ operating under similar circumstances, no money etc. And at the time town fans seemed to understand this and get behind the team, and were content with the 'we'll score more than you attitude'. Granted, Mick has a different approach and style to Royle, that to be honest, isn't always that exciting...!...last season was bad (no one has denied that), but this years results have been fantastic, even if the performances haven't. The squad have shown what they're about, ground out results, not been the prettiest, no. But what more could they have done? All the stay aways, I suggest you get down to PR, give your support and help the team. You know you'll all be queuing up early for tickets when we're in the play offs..

Bluewelshman added 06:55 - Sep 23
I had to abandon my season ticket many years ago (99-00 season) due to mortgage, family and work commitments. Since then I have attended as many games as I could, as long as I had the money, and match days off work, but this doesn't happen as often as I would like.
I have two kids who are town fans, and when I do get the chance they come as well, this also has become an expensive exercise.
Now I'm sorry if this makes me a bad Ipswich supporter in peoples books, but to be honest I couldn't give a **** what anyone else thinks, it would be nice to blow my family food budget on watching Ipswich every week, but I have to live in the real world where fuel costs an arm and a leg, and a football club who doesn't think that lower prices will bring in more families, thus bigger crowds, thus more money, thus future fans.
On Saturday my daughter and I will listen to Suffolk radio and will cheer, and sigh at goals scored and conceded, wishing we were there, so please for all you "proper" supporters out there who criticise us supporters who can't come to every game and struggle to make ends meet every month, just think before you slag us off.



cwb91 added 08:18 - Sep 23
I don't want to stay away but what other voice do we have to show our discontent with the existing regime from the Owner down?

I finally gave up on my season ticket at the end of last season, after the diabolical price rise in the face of dreadful football. I informed the club of the conditions required to ensure I returned and they weren't met.

Deceit from the owner regarding investment, expectation that the supporters will pay for the decisions he's made and no desire to change either the style of football or develop an identity with the younger players (something we can all get behind). Where's Mick's contrition for last year? I simply don't want to watch his style of football (despite my love for the club) enough to support it by purchasing a season ticket. Supporters views should be heard across the board even if it doesn't blindly support the regime or club in its current offer. And they've been ignored.

Good luck to you. I'll be back when I see evidence of lasting positive change.

carsey added 09:23 - Sep 23
I've had a season ticket for more years than I can remember and since McCarthy arrived I have questioned why but I am fortunate to live close to Ipswich and to have the money to pay for it.
I can well understand that others don't feel inclined to support his idea of football given that he is such an arrogant git with outdated tactics who just want to suck the entertainment out of the game.
I would like to see Portman Road full and buzzing but it will never happen again with the current owner manager and prices

vanmunt added 10:19 - Sep 23
I have been unhappy with the turgid football that MM thinks is acceptable for quite a while now.. once I found that paying your money and voicing your discontent was pointless I decided to stop paying. As soon as he is gone, I will be back a PR.

MikeDove33 added 10:44 - Sep 23
Morning Blue Welsh Man. I wouldn't dream of offending people who can't afford to go or don't to prioritise their family. I do that a lot. My letter is quite simply aimed at the people who specifically chose to stay away for the reasons I outlined, no other reason at all. Cheers Mike

SouperJim added 11:09 - Sep 23
Give it time. The club has been slowly alienating the fan base ever since ME came in, the football on show last season was the tipping point for many. A handful of good results isn't going to fix all that.

Also, stripping the concession price from 60+ fans was a ridiculous move. It's one thing to change the policy, but existing concession tickets should have been exempt. I love going to Portman Road, but if I had been affected by that I would have told them to shove it.

Bluewelshman added 12:58 - Sep 23
MikeDove33, I did understand what you were saying, and my post wasn't directed at you, as it is not the style of football or MM keeping me away. I just used this to vent, as I'm sick and tired of certain supporters calling fans like myself "not true supporters" because we can't make it every game. When I was young with no major commitments nothing else I went to every home game and as many away games as I could. Watching us draw nil-nil at old Trafford in the snow and not getting back home till 6am all seemed worth the effort to support Town, and going to the Hawthorns to watch another nil-nil with my best mate, and losing money on the maddest bet that Gus Uhlenbeek would score the first goal, again was a great experience in my life. This is why I'm touchy about this "if you don't come, your not a true supporter" comment I see occasionally. I would love to go to matches home and away, maybe one day I will be able to afford the time and money to feel like a 24 year Ipswich fan once again, but unfortunately not at the moment.


RoyalAscotBlue added 13:06 - Sep 23
It’s only my opinion, but personally I think the lack of entertainment is the problem. The football is dire. When we win it's poor, when we lose its abysmal.

braveblue sums it up nicely.

dbis78, I don't understand your point about BFJ at all? His "we'll score more than you" attitude was phenomenally entertaining... which is precisely why people got behind the team and were content.

Penguinblue added 14:08 - Sep 23
I am all for being positive and supporting the team and players (irrespective of their ability) and I am not a stay away fan. I am an unhappy fan though and that is solely down to the presence of McCarthy at our once esteemed football club. It is a good time to express this whilst Town are doing relatively well. Win, lose or draw I would like to see the back of McCarthy.
My reasons are the same as expressed time and time again on TWTD. Negative, defensive, dire hoofball (ok occasionally Ipswich have passed the ball recently), McCarthy's excuse ridden, foul mouth utterances and contradictions week after week, including ridiculous digs at Town fans, his over rated big headed view of his own ability, favouritism of players irrespective of form or ability, his setting up for a 'scrap' against the poorest teams, his pathetic use of nicknames (he is the manager of a football clubbusiness for goodness sake not a nursery school), and the way he has ingrained himself at the club so that the spineless Milne does nothing, perhaps that is being unkind, he is probably just a puppet for the faceless Evans. Whilst Town have made some reasonable signings recently, I suspect real flair players with options would go nowhere near McCarthy. I think close season even Evans and Milne realised how disaffected some fans were hence some of their 'initiatives'. Unfortunately these did not include showing McCarthy the door.
I have expressed this view a number of times and have written to the Club and the management. These days they neither have the curtesy or courage to respond - so different to the club pre - Evans.
Sorry that sounds so negative. Support the team always, but McCarthy was never a good match for the football Ipswich were once renowned for, or the way the football club was once managed.


dicko81 added 20:29 - Sep 23
Was a season ticket holder for many years, didn't renew last season, the guy I used to meet up with had passed away during the season before and we were only meeting up for a jolly and the football had become secondary. To be honest I'd been bored for a few seasons, football in general, was 100 mile round trip if I drove and I just do other things now. £30 for on the gate ticket was a joke and really if they played over the road for a tenner I doubt I'd go now.

Currie10 added 00:51 - Sep 24
As an Ipswich fan from Bristol however Sydney at present, I can only applaud the fans for staying away in one sense.

There is no way in hell they'd have lowered matchday prices, done the scheme with away clubs for £25 a ticket or listened otherwise.

People have been complaining for year upon year about all sorts of things. Season tickets have continued to go up, matchday prices up and the club have finally been hit.

The ones however staying away solely because Mick is the gafa is a different question though. Very good at this level.

TrumptonBlue added 14:24 - Sep 24
After 20 years of attending regularly home and away, I thought I would really miss it when I realised (in 2005) that I could no longer afford the time and money that going to football uses up.

But I don't. It's freed up my weekends (you get two days instead of one - who knew?!), allowed me to spend time with my family, let me do other more rewarding things and has saved me loads of money.

Also, I realised that I had already experienced the best experiences I could ever have as an Ipswich fan, or as any kind of football fan, really, and my continued attendance would be a fruitless effort to try to be there when they were bettered. Basically, I quit while I was ahead and haven't regretted it for a second.

TrumptonBlue added 14:24 - Sep 24
After 20 years of attending regularly home and away, I thought I would really miss it when I realised (in 2005) that I could no longer afford the time and money that going to football uses up.

But I don't. It's freed up my weekends (you get two days instead of one - who knew?!), allowed me to spend time with my family, let me do other more rewarding things and has saved me loads of money.

Also, I realised that I had already experienced the best experiences I could ever have as an Ipswich fan, or as any kind of football fan, really, and my continued attendance would be a fruitless effort to try to be there when they were bettered. Basically, I quit while I was ahead and haven't regretted it for a second.

chrishants added 17:00 - Sep 24
Former season ticket holder. Age 64, fed up of promises to realistically to invest in the team. Failure to play our youth. In addition I still have a nightmare of arriving at PR to find different class Dougie was my evening/ afternoons entertainment

HackneyBlue added 18:22 - Sep 24
1977 was my first game ,my dad took me and that was that I was hooked,you can imagine how thrilled I was when my first son was able to attend at the age of 5(before MM)when Mick arrived my son simply got bored and continued to ask why are they so negative,his own football club preached good passing football he actually thought watching ITFC would harm his own development.I still had child 2 who was a season ticket holder for £10 ,I meant we could just afford it,my son became bored of the football win,lose or draw,i needed him to keep the faith but when he turned 11 the £10 ticket became £169 and that was that,i too had decided the entertainment value did not add up-This is my 2nd Season Ticket less and its getting harder to convince me to go back.ITFC are to blame for this and will have to improve more than are doing so to reunite me with club I loved for 40 years.

BerlinBlue added 18:24 - Sep 24
I can only laugh and shake my head at the notion that non-attending fans support the team less. What a load of rubbish. We all have our reasons for attending or not attending, what we do is our choice. We are all in it - supporting the team - together, present or absent.
I attend when I can (two games so far this season); when I can't, I can't, but I am supporting as much as I would be were I in the stadium.

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