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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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bigolconnor added 22:45 - Mar 9
Thanks for sharing and sorry for your loss.

sohamblue74 added 23:59 - Mar 9
A wonderful blog. Lovely memories.
Your Dad sounds amazing. Sorry for your loss.

OliveR16 added 08:24 - Mar 11
A lovely blog and what a lovely moment for a town fan to say good-bye. Prayers for you and your family.

slade1 added 09:43 - Mar 11
I can imagine you having a tear in your eye as you wrote it.
Really sorry for your loss.
My dad first took me to Portman Rd some 50 years ago, although I only make the occasional game these days, my dad ages 82 still attends every home match.

ElephantintheRoom added 09:55 - Mar 11
Interesting and thought-provoking read that mirrors much of my own experience, albeit starting eighteen years earlier. I must admit that as my brothers moved away and it was just me and my dad watching Town that I noticed a bit of role reversal at play. As a pensioner he became almost childlike in his enthusiasm - and due to his declining eyesight he often depended on me to tell him who scored - whereas fifty years previously he had to tell me what was going on because I couldnt see through the people standing in front of me. When he passed away, somewhat suddenly I used to combine matchday with weekly visits to my mother while her health declined - which rather coincided with the club becoming in very poor health too. Having moved away myself and grown somewhat detached from what the club had become, my enthusiasm for watching at Portman Road became somewhat tainted by my own personal loss and what the club now was - and is - compared to what my dad and i experienced for over forty years. In many ways I'm rather glad that living in a different country now gives me the excuse not to go. I hope you come to terms with your loss and continue to enjoy the matchday experience. But for many, if not most supporters the match day ritual is a transitory experience as family or location means we find better (or other) things to do - but everyone's footballing life is laced with personal memories, good bad - and very bad, which never fade. My big regret about the changing face of football is that it became impossible to saunter in amongst the other team's supporters in away games. We used to enjoy the chats you could have with opposing supporters who ineitably seemed to admire Ipswich Town as a football club - which seems such a shame that it has now become a franchise for opportunists..

jabberjackson added 06:04 - Mar 12
A fitting eulogy to your Father who sounds like he was an amazing character.
Like you, many of my Saturdays were spent at my Dad’s side, in my case from the early 70s, and I am grateful to have those memories that no one can take away from me.
How lucky we both were to have enjoyed such huge successes together, and even to his dieing day he would excitedly tune in to BBC Suffolk to listen to the matches

You have brought a tear to my eye with your moving words, let’s hope your Dad can enjoy a win today from a celestial vantage point…


Bluexport added 11:23 - Mar 12
Wow! What a lovely story, thank you for sharing, and so so sorry for your loss.

CraigEdwards added 13:16 - Mar 14
Amazing story but also a sad time for you and your family. I am sure like all the others that have passed through the Portman gates in heaven will be watching down on us all
I believe we are genuinely lucky to not just have a great football club which is definitely in the making once more but also an amazing supporters family that will always stick together come rain or shine or in win or defeat
Blue forever and never forgotten


ronnyd added 16:13 - Mar 19
Fantastic post there. So sorry for your loss, tempered by such great dad/son memories.

Sawtrich added 15:08 - Mar 22
Sorry for your loss. I lost my dad a couple of years ago, we had a similar relationship, based on following Town! It's still hard to believe he's gone and we'll never see another match together. All the very best.

blue2000 added 18:55 - Apr 2
Lovely post, your dad was a lovely man who is much missed on the bus
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