|The Opportunity to Build Bonds|
Written by ipswichscott on Wednesday, 9th Mar 2022 21:42
There is a quote at the back of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand where Sir Bobby says a club is about “the passion, the noise, the feeling of belonging”.
Like many of my age and above, I revere the great man but I actually disagree with him on this. I think a club is something that provides an opportunity to build bonds and memories that last forever.
My Dad, Max Eason, took me to my first ever Ipswich match in 1979 when I was five and we barely missed a match, home or away for over a decade.
During that period, we would regularly leave Haverhill straight after school (he was a teacher) on a Friday night, drive somewhere (usually north) to watch a random game on a Friday night, camp overnight in his campervan and watch the Ipswich game on the Saturday.
I still have memories of the great team of the early 80s but also the occasional glimpses of brilliance from the lesser teams that followed (Chris Kiwomya ripping up Leeds at Elland Road was a particular favourite).
We enjoyed the fact that 7,000 visited MK Dons recently, knowing we had once been part of a travelling contingent of 12 at a Bolton away match, as the snow had made the journey from Ipswich impossible on the day but we were already in the north-west.
In the early 90s, I left home and played Saturdays myself but Dad carried on going to virtually every game, still home and away, making some lifelong friends in the Haverhill branch along the way.
I became a glory supporter, turning up at Wembley, Milan, Highbury etc, generally following ITFC via TWTD but whenever we spoke, we could have long conversations about the team (although I learned quickly not to bring up Roy Keane!).
This continued all the way through until Covid stopped fans from travelling. It was also at this point that he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
By the time we were allowed back spectating, he had deteriorated and was in a wheelchair. Away games became impossible but the club (and in particular Lee Smith – who deserves an OBE) were amazing, moving his seats, allowing me to sit with him for free as a carer and giving us a car parking permit to allow us to get to games.
It became what he lived for, especially since Kieran McKenna has taken over (wow – is the football not brilliant, even if I fear we are not going to catch enough teams above us!).
Sadly, he deteriorated again last week and he was not well enough to travel to the Lincoln match on Tuesday. We were watching the match together on iFollow when he decided, in the second half with us winning comfortably, that it was time for him to breathe his last breath.
I would like to say a massive thank you to all those great people in Block I who have helped us this season and put up with us blocking up the stairwell. As above, thank you to Lee and the club for allowing us to have such amazing final memories. But thank you above all to Dad, for creating such a special bond between us via ITFC.
So, I hope you enjoy the matches and us winning but I thoroughly hope, above all, you are creating bonds and memories that will stay with you forever.
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