Fuller Flavour: An emotional night which made me so proud of my club
PUBLISHED: 11:02 25 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:02 25 November 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Friday night’s game was one of mixed emotions for yours truly which brought an end to a surreal two weeks, writes Karl Fuller.
I don’t suppose that many of us expected us to beat West Brom given the strength of their squad. It was always going to be tough, and although we huffed and puffed, especially in the second period, the quality of the Baggies shone through.
It would have been lovely however had Jack Lankesters’ free-kick been a couple of feet the other side of the post right at the death!
For me personally, the night was always about those fans who benefitted from the best part of 900 tickets donated by the generosity of so many fans and of course, the football club itself.
There were four more humbling days leading up to the game that started with a visit to the ground on Tuesday. I was joined by Graham Blackburn, Stephen Skeet and Helen Royce, who were instrumental in ensuring that everything ran smoothly – from buying tickets to donating them – as we were invited to take part in a photo shoot with a couple of the charities receiving match tickets on the day, as well as Matthew Pennington and Luke Chambers.
Standing on the Portman Road turf in an empty stadium made the place look twice its size and I imagined for one moment what it must be like to play in front of a crowd.
Luke was brilliant to talk to and clearly oozes passion for the club. Cut him open and I’ll bet he would bleed blue and white.
The charity representatives that I spoke to made the gesture of donating tickets an even better experience as I learned why some of the beneficiaries would be receiving their tickets. After an interview with About Anglia, I was then treated to a little look behind the scenes in one area of the ground.
The days immediately before the game saw some feedback coming through from more of those going to the game for their first-ever visit. If you’ve ever been involved in charity work, I guess you’d know the warm feeling generated by helping others.
On Friday evening, when I first took up my usual position in the Sir Bobby Robson lower tier, I immediately looked to my left to see the sight of a near sold-out lower tier. And from that moment on, if I’m honest, that’s where much of my thoughts remained throughout the game.
Despite going a goal behind in the first-half, the atmosphere remained consistent and say what you like about clappers – I know many don’t like them – it was great to hear them adding to the atmosphere with many joining in around the ground in support of the North Stand, which is not always the case.
I think those who sit near me might have enjoyed a rare occasion off from me bleating on about this, that and the other like I do every game!
I was too taken back by what so many people achieved over the last couple of weeks for this game and I often found myself drifting back to my very first game which also came under the lights.
That date was back on August 22, 1978 when an Ipswich side containing debutant Arnold Muhren lost 3-0 to Liverpool. I instantly became hooked that night and have over 40 years behind me of supporting the club.
I’ve had some fantastic times along the way and despite this season and a few preceding it being difficult, my love for the club has never diminished.
I stood there wondering and hoping if there was just one child present for the first time, who despite the defeat, might also become hooked and go on to enjoy a supporting life as I have done.
Another game passes by with defeat but I suppose other results on Saturday could have gone worse for us. Every game becomes massive for us over the next few weeks but with some tough away trips coming up, it’s imperative that we somehow beat Bristol City on Wednesday evening.
Thank you once again to all who contributed/supported the ticket initiative. I felt very proud on the night. Maybe we’ll do it all again one day.