Local non-league clubs disappointed by Ipswich Town decision to move Suffolk FA finals away from Portman Road
Ipswich Town's decision to pull out of hosting four Suffolk FA County Cup finals at Portman Road been described as "disappointing" and "a great shame" by local non-league clubs who will now miss their day in the sun.
The Blues had agreed to host the Suffolk Premier, Senior and Junior Cup finals, as well as the Suffolk FA Women’s Cup Final, but have backed out due to their potential involvement in the Championship play-offs, and Barry Manilow’s concert at Portman Road on May 16.
Ipswich’s final game of the season, at home to Sheffield Wednesday, takes place on May 3, while a sixth-placed finish would see the Blues host the third-placed finishers at Portman Road on May 8.
Ipswich Wanderers chairman Terry Fenwick said the Senior Cup Final at Portman Road against Whitton United would have been the pinnacle of their season.
“I’m very disappointed for the players, their families, the sponsors, it’s a great build-up and a great day out,” he added.
“We were there last season and it was a fantastic occasion, not just because we won, but we have players now who weren’t involved then. It’s a great shame.”
Meanwhile, Claydon FC chairman Tony Adams, whose club is due to face Oulton Broad in the Junior Cup Final, added: “The players are totally gutted and the club is extremely disappointed.
“This is our 60th year in the league and the chances of a small club like ours making Portman Road are very low.”
A Town spokesman said: “We are disappointed that we are unable to host the County Cup finals this year as we have done for many years in the past.
“Previously the club has accommodated the County Cup finals after the end of the playing season but at the moment, with the football club in with a chance of finishing in the play-offs, we do not know when our season will finish.
“The Suffolk FA fully understand our decision and we are sure we will be hosting many more County Cup finals for years to come.”
Suffolk FA chief executive Laura Smith said the decision to move the finals was made to the “regret of both ourselves and Ipswich Town”, but was necessary to be fair to the participating clubs and match officials.