The Fixture I Look For First: A Fan’s View

Courtesy Graham Burrell

Born in Lincoln, but basically brought up in Suffolk, there is only one fixture I look out for when they come out in June and that’s Ipswich Town, writes Matt Gardner.

I started supporting Lincoln around 1989, purely because I was born there. In the years that followed, I have questioned many times, why a 10-year-old football mad boy with no family ties to Lincoln decided this was a good idea, but on looking back I’ve never regretted it. 

My school years involved me being surrounded by Town fans, normally goading me on supporting such a bad team as Lincoln. One plus was that I never had the Monday morning taunting at school following a Saturday defeat. 

Portman Road was in fact the first ground I went to (my Dad would never drive me up to Lincoln) and the only reason I went here was because I’d won a football holiday at Pontins Pakefield and they were thankfully supplying a bus to get to the game. Funnily enough where we sit as away fans is where I experienced the match during the October school holidays in 1988. Ipswich lost to Portsmouth 1-0. Warren Aspinall scored. This is normally when people go on to say they were instantly hooked on Ipswich (or whoever) I loved my football, but Ipswich Town were not the team for me.

Bressington skied a penalty

I did eventually persuade my Dad to take me to Sincil Bank in 1992. I picked Wrexham (they had just beaten Arsenal in the FA Cup) and it was a dire 0-0. But I loved it and this is when I knew I had made the right choice, I was an Imp. The next season we went to see the Imps lose 1-0 to York, I recall Graham Bressington skying a penalty at the Stacey West End. I don’t think my Dad took me again after that.

As a football fan in general and wanting to tick off a few grounds, I sometimes went to the odd Ipswich Town away game on their supporter’s bus. I witnessed their 9-0 defeat to Man Utd, but the one memory from that game for me is celebrating wildly back on the bus on hearing that Lincoln had defeated Hartlepool 3-0. 

During the 2000s the company I worked for had an Ipswich Town season ticket which they dished out every other week. This was popular during their Premiership years, but after relegation to the Championship they often found it hard to give them away. I remember taking them up on the offer twice, but only to see former Imps Dean West and Paul Mayo play for Burnley and Watford respectively.

When I first met my wife in 2000, she was an avid Ipswich Town fan, but gradually over the years I think she has been converted to being a fully-fledged Imp, I know that my 10-year-old daughter certainly is. As a family, we have enjoyed promotion together at Sincil Bank, Cup triumph at Wembley and Peppa Pig World en route to Eastleigh. 

Win, lose or draw, I have always been proud to be a Lincoln exile, flying the flag in sleepy Suffolk. 

And it’s also nice to have some bragging rights at work!