Portman Road

Infobox Stadium
stadium_name = Portman Road
nickname =


caption = The Cobbold Stand, formerly known as the Portman Stand, was constructed in 1971
fullname = Portman Road Stadium
location = flagicon|England Ipswich, Suffolk
coordinates = coord|52|3|18.22|N|1|8|41.39|E|display=title,inline
broke_ground =
built =
opened = 1884
renovated =
expanded = 2002
operator =
surface = Grass
owner = Suffolk County CouncilCite web
url = http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20010315/ai_n14366401
title = Football: Sitting Tenants: Clubs Who Do Not Own Their Grounds
publisher = The Independent
accessdate = 2008-01-18
date = 2001-03-15
]
tenants = Ipswich Town F.C.
seating_capacity = 30,311 [Cite web
url = http://www.football-league.premiumtv.co.uk/page/ClubsChampionship/0,,10794~692242,00.html
title = Ipswich Town
publisher = The Football League
accessdate = 2008-01-19
]
dimensions = convert|112|yd|m|0 x convert|82|yd|m|0Cite web
url = http://www.soccerbase.com/grounds2.sd?groundid=210
title = Portman Road
accessdate =2008-01-19
publisher = Soccerbase
]

Portman Road is an association football stadium in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. It has been the home ground of Ipswich Town F.C. since 1884. The stadium has also hosted a number of England youth international matches, and one senior England friendly international match, against Croatia in 2003. It has staged several other sporting events including athletics meetings and international hockey matches. More recently the stadium has held a number of music concerts, including performances from Elton John and R.E.M.

The stadium underwent significant redevelopments in the early 2000s which increased the capacity from 22,600 to a current figure of 30,311, making it the largest capacity football ground in East Anglia. The record attendance of 38,010 was set in an FA Cup tie against Leeds United in 1975, when standing was permitted around the ground. Each of its four stands have since been converted to all-seater following the recommendations of the Taylor Report. Also located at the ground are conference and banqueting facilities, the "Sir Bobby Robson Suite", "Legends Bar" and a club store selling Ipswich Town merchandise.

History

Between 1878 and 1884, Ipswich Town played at two grounds in the town, Broom Hill and Brook's Hall, [Cite web
url = http://www.soccerbase.com/grounds_history.sd?teamid=1372
title = Ground history for Ipswich Town
publisher = Soccerbase
accessdate = 2008-01-19
] but in 1884, the club moved to Portman Road and have played there ever since.Cite web
url = http://www.itfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/ClubHistory/0,,10272~347159,00.html
title = History of the Stadium
publisher = Ipswich Town F.C.
accessdate = 2008-01-19
] The ground was also used as a cricket pitch during the summer by the East Suffolk Cricket Club who had played there since 1855. The cricket club had erected a pavilion, the first fixed building at the ground. More substantial elements of ground development did not begin for a further 11 years, though Ipswich became one of the first clubs to implement the use of goal nets in 1890. At this time Ipswich were an amateur side (the team became professional in 1936) and the first visit of a professional club came in 1892, when Preston North End played a Suffolk County Football Association team. This was followed six years later by a visit from Aston Villa, a game which was so popular that a temporary stand was erected in order to accommodate a crowd of around 5,000.Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/history/history_pr.htm
title = The History of Portman Road
publisher = Pride of Anglia
accessdate = 2008-01-19
] In 1901, a tobacco processing plant was built along the south edge of the ground by the Churchman brothers, a name which would later become synonymous with the stand which would be located there until the early 21st century. [Cite news
url = http://www.eveningstar.co.uk/content/eveningstar/features/story.aspx?tCategory=Features&tBrand=ESTOnline&itemid=IPED21%20Dec%202007%2014%3A59%3A29%3A843&category=Features
title = Another nail in industry's coffin
publisher = Ipswich Evening Star
accessdate =2008-01-19
date =2007-12-21
author = Paul Geater
]

The first permanent stand, a wooden structure known affectionately as the "Chicken Run", [Cite web
url = http://www.eadt.co.uk/content/eadt/sport/story.aspx?brand=EADOnline&category=IpswichTownFC&tBrand=EADOnline&tCategory=zsport&itemid=IPED13%20Aug%202007%2008%3A40%3A58%3A700
publisher = East Anglian Daily Times
accessdate = 2008-01-24
title = Heaven and Hell - the signings
] [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/slooze/photos.php?RollID=NorthStand&FrameID=1954+terracing+2
title = North Stand, The Making of the
publisher = Pride of Anglia
accessdate = 2008-01-24
] was built on the Portman Road side of the ground in 1906. This structure was sold in 1971 to the local speedway team, the Ipswich Witches, who installed it at Foxhall Stadium. Two amateur internationals were held at the ground in 1910, with England winning 10–1 against Bohemia and 20–0 against France. In 1914, the ground was commandeered by the British Army for use as a training camp for the duration of the First World War. Control of Portman Road was not returned to the club until two years after the end of the war and significant work was required to repair damage to the ground caused by heavy machinery.

For a short period during the 1920s, Portman Road was host to a number of whippet races in an attempt to increase revenue, and in 1928 a small stand was built on the west side of the ground. The football club turned professional in 1936 and the cricket club were forced to move out,Cite web
url = http://homepage.ntlworld.com/derek.j.bloomfield/about_us.html
title = About us - The Early Years ...
publisher = Ipswich and East Suffolk Cricket Club
accessdate = 2008-01-23
] so work began on the first bank of terracing at the north end of the pitch. The following year, on the back of winning the Southern League, a similar terrace was built at the southern "Churchmans" end and 650 tip-up seats, bought from Arsenal, were installed. Portman Road was home to Ipswich Town's first Football League match on 27 August 1938, a 4–2 victory against Southend United in Division Three (South) witnessed by more than 19,000 spectators. [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/sql/match_report.phtml?day=27&month=8&year=1938&sequence=0
title = Match Report - IPSWICH TOWN (2) 4 - 2 (0) SOUTHEND UNITED
publisher = Soccerbase
accessdate = 2008-01-19
]

The Supporters' Association funded a number of improvements at Portman Road; in 1952, concrete terracing replaced the wooden terraces at the cost of £3,000 and another £3,000 was used to re-terrace the North Stand in 1954, bringing the capacity of the ground to approximately 29,000. In 1957, the association raised £30,500 towards the building of a new West Stand, increasing ground capacity to around 31,000. Floodlights were installed two years later; the result of £15,000 raised by the association. The floodlights were switched on by club president Lady Blanche Cobbold for the first floodlit match at the ground, a friendly against Arsenal, in February 1960.cite book | last=Inglis | first=Simon |authorlink=Simon Inglis | title=The Football Grounds of England and Wales | origyear=1983 | year=1984 | publisher=Collins Willow | pages=pp. 117–118| chapter=Chapter 10. East Anglia and Essex] [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/history/Floodlight%20Towers%20at%20Portman%20Road.htm
title = Floodlight Towers at Portman Road
publisher = Pride of Anglia, originally published in the Ipswich Town F.C. "1960–61 Supporters Handbook"
accessdate = 2008-01-25
]

Television cameras made their debut at Portman Road in 1962 as Anglia Television arrived for "Match of the Week"; [cite web
author=John Bourn
url=http://web.archive.org/web/20050112090540/http://www.students.ncl.ac.uk/john.bourn/Page6.htm
title=History of football on ITV
Note that the reference says "Match of the Week" started in 1963; however according to [http://www.soccerbase.com/head2.sd?team2id=2848&team1id=1372 Soccerbase] , Ipswich's 3–2 loss to Wolves actually occurred in 1962.
] it was another six years before the BBC televised a match at the ground, Match of the Day visiting Portman Road for the first time in 1968 to witness Ipswich's league fixture against Birmingham City.

Meanwhile, ground development continued with roofing enhancements to the North Stand and an increase in capacity to 31,500 by 1963. Dressing rooms were constructed in 1965 and new turnstiles were introduced two years later, including a separate entrance for juveniles at the Churchmans end. In 1968 the club agreed to a new 99-year lease on the ground with owners Suffolk County Council.

The two-tier propped cantilever Portman Stand was built along the east side of the ground in place of the existing terraces in 1971, providing 3,500 additional seats and increasing the capacity of the ground to approximately 37,000. Advertising appeared around the perimeter of the ground in the same year, while the following year saw the construction of the "Centre Spot" restaurant underneath the Portman Stand. Additional seating was added to the Portman Stand in 1974 and the ground saw its record attendance of 38,010 the following year in an FA Cup tie against Leeds United. Following success in the 1978 FA Cup, the club invested in 24 executive boxes in front of the Portman Stand and, as a result of the Safety of Sports Ground Act (1975), reduced the capacity in front by introducing seats, taking the overall capacity down to 34,600.

Plastic seats replaced wooden benches in the West Stand in 1980 and in the following year, the club announced a deal with electronics company Pioneer Corporation with the stand expanded at a cost of around £1.3m, renamed as the "Pioneer Stand" and re-opened in 1983. However, the cost of building the stand meant the club had to sell players, and led to a decline in fortunes on the pitch. [Cite web
url = http://www.cambridge-united.premiumtv.co.uk/page/QA/0,,10423~191589,00.html
title = Q&A Redevelopment Questions
publisher = Cambridge United F.C.
date = 2004-11-17
accessdate =2008-01-25
] Safety barriers were removed from the North Stand in 1989 following the Hillsborough disaster and following the recommendations of the Taylor Report, the terraces in both the North and South stands were also converted to all-seating. This modification created the first complete all-seater stadium in the top flight of English football with a spectator capacity of 22,500. The Pioneer Stand was renamed as the "Britannia Stand" following a new sponsorship deal with the building society in 1999, and in the following year a statue of Sir Alf Ramsey was unveiled at the corner of Portman Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way. [Cite web
url =http://web.archive.org/web/20050908085245/http://www.itfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/HistoryDetail/0,,10272~346104,00.html
title = Statue of Sir Alf unveiled - Part One
publisher = Ipswich Town F.C.
accessdate = 2007-03-16
]

Success for Ipswich Town in promotion to the Premier League in 2000 led to further investment in the infrastructure, with the club spending around £22 million on redeveloping both the North and South stands. The complete renovation of the South Stand into a two-tier stand added 4,000 seats to the stadium. The subsequent demolition and reconstruction of a two-tier North Stand added a further 4,000 seats and brought the total capacity of the ground to more than 30,000. In 2001, local brewery Greene King took on the sponsorship of the updated South Stand and as such, the stand was renamed the "Greene King" stand.Cite web
url = http://www.itfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Sponsors/0,,10272,00.html
title = Sponsors
publisher = Ipswich Town F.C.
date = 2007-11-26
accessdate = 2008-01-20
]

tructure and facilities

The pitch is surrounded by four all-seater stands, the North Stand, the Cobbold Stand, the Greene King Stand and the Britannia Stand. All stands are covered and are multi-tiered.

The central section of the Cobbold Stand, known originally as the Portman Stand, was built in 102 days during the close season of 1971.Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/history/Portman%20Stand%20Completed%20in%20102%20Days.htm
title = Portman Stand Completed in 102 Days
accessdate = 2008-01-24
publisher = Pride of Anglia, originally published in a souvenir supplement in the Ipswich Town F.C. "1971–72 Supporters Handbook"
] With two tiers and a cantilever roof, it is used to accommodate away fans, with an allocation of up to 3,000 seats per game and for family seating. It also contains a number of executive boxes as well as regular seating for home fans.Cite web
url = http://www.itfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/PortmanRoad/0,,10272,00.html
date =2007-08-23
accessdate = 2008-01-20
title = Portman Road
publisher = Ipswich Town F.C.
] The Greene King Stand is a two-tiered stand which has a match-day capacity of approximately 7,000. It also houses the "Galleria" restaurant and "Legend's Bar". The tunnel, from which the players emerge onto the pitch from their dressing rooms, is unusually located in the corner of the stadium between the Greene King Stand and the Britannia Stand. [Cite web
url = http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/park/yfh45/ipswich.htm
title = Ipswich Town
publisher = Internet Football Ground Guide
accessdate = 2008-01-23
]

The Britannia Stand was originally constructed in 1952 as a simple concrete seating area. [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/slooze/photos.php?TopicID=WestStand
title = West Stand, The Making of the
publisher = Pride of Anglia
accessdate = 2008-01-24
] It was updated to an all-seater stand in 1990 and currently has three tiers consisting of home fan seating and an additional family area. It also contains the directors' box, further executive boxes and the press area. Behind the stand is a full-size AstroTurf pitch which is often used on a casual basis by fans before home games. [Cite web
url = http://www.colchester.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=40779
title = Behind enemy lines!
publisher = vitalfootball.co.uk
accessdate = 2008-01-25
] The North Stand was completely rebuilt in 2001 and has a capacity of around 7,500. [Cite web
url = http://www.allbusiness.com/management/business-process-analysis/1067457-1.html
title = Ipswich Town Football Club: The north stand
accessdate = 2008-01-23
date = 2002-04-01
publisher = Concrete
author = John Cutlack
] It is a two-tier cantilever stand which is divided into an adults-only lower tier "...traditionally for the 'hard core' Town fan..." and a mixed upper tier.Cite web
url = http://www.itfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/SeatingPlan/0,,10272,00.html
title = Seating plan at Portman Road
accessdate = 2008-01-23
date =2007-05-14
publisher = Ipswich Town F.C.
]

There are nine areas throughout the ground designated for disabled supporters, in the lower Britannia Stand, the Greene King Stand and the North Stand. These provide over 300 spaces to accommodate wheelchair users and ambulant disabled, together with their carers. The ground also provides 12 seats in the Britannia Stand for visually impaired spectators with commentary via individual radio headsets in each seat, provided by local radio station BBC Radio Suffolk. [Cite web
url = http://www.itfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/DisabledFacilities/0,,10272,00.html
title = Facilities for disabled at Ipswich Town
date = 8 October 2007
accessdate = 2008-01-20
]

The current groundsman, Alan Ferguson, has received a number of accolades, including both Premiership and Championship Groundsman of the Year, [Cite news
url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2001/04/15/sfnips16.xml
title = Understated Ipswich begin to betray their excitement
date = 2001-04-15
author = Clive Tyldesley
publisher = The Telegraph
accessdate = 2008-01-19
] [Cite web
url = http://www.eveningstar.co.uk/content/eveningstar/sport/story.aspx?brand=ESTOnline&category=Sport&tBrand=ESTOnline&tCategory=sport&itemid=IPED03%20Jan%202007%2011%3A52%3A37%3A173
title = Groundsman admits mistakes made
publisher = Ipswich Evening Star
date =2007-01-03
accessdate = 2008-01-19
] and the pitch was voted the best in the Championship for two consecutive seasons in 2004 and 2005. [Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/i/ipswich_town/4472871.stm
title = Ipswich scoop pitch award again
publisher = BBC Sport
date = 2005-04-22
accessdate = 2008-01-19
]

There are statues of Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson, both former Ipswich Town and England managers, outside the ground. [Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2130373.stm
title = Sir Bobby Robson statue unveiled
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 2002-07-16
publisher = BBC Sport
] [Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/i/ipswich_town/890867.stm
title = Sir Alf tribute unveiled
accessdate = 2008-01-19
publisher = BBC Sport
date = 2000-08-22
] Nearby Portman's Walk was renamed "Sir Alf Ramsey Way" in 1999.

Other uses

On 20 August 2003, Portman Road hosted its first and thus far only senior England fixture, a friendly against Croatia, [Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/england/3000152.stm
title = FA chooses Portman Road
accessdate = 2007-10-12
date = 2003-06-18
publisher = BBC Sport
] the match finishing 3–1 to England in front of 28,700 spectators. [Cite web
url = http://www.englandfc.com/reports/report_eng_v_croatiafri2003.html
title = England 3 Croatia 1
publisher =The Football Association
accessdate = 2007-10-12
] The stadium has been used by England youth teams on a number of occasions, the first on 24 November 1971, saw the England U23 team draw 1–1 with Switzerland. [Cite web
url = http://www.thefa.com/England/SeniorTeam/NewsAndFeatures/Postings/2003/06/52849.htm
title = Portman Road ready for England
accessdate =2008-01-19
date = 2003-06-17
publisher = The Football Association
] Most recently, England U21s played a UEFA European U21 Championship qualifying match there on 18 August 2006 against Moldova, in front of 13,556 spectators. [Cite web
url = http://www.thefa.com/England/U21s/NewsAndFeatures/Postings/2006/08/U21sMoldova.htm
title =Moldova spoil the party
accessdate =2008-01-19
author = Jamie Bradbury
date = 2006-08-18
publisher = The Football Association
] In addition, a variety of other sports have been hosted at Portman Road, including athletics in 1927, [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/sql/match-programmes/special/1927-06-18AthleticsatPortmanRoad.jpg
title = 1927 County Championships
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 1927-06-18
publisher = Pride of Anglia
] an American football match in 1953, [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/sql/match-programmes/special/1953-09-29AmericanFootballGame.jpg
title = Bentwaters vs Sculthorpe
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 1953-09-29
publisher = Pride of Anglia
] and several international hockey matches in the 1960s and 70s. [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/sql/match-programmes/special/1968-06-29HockeyInternational.jpg
title = Hockey International - Great Britain vs West Germany
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 1968-06-29
publisher = Pride of Anglia
] [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/sql/match-programmes/special/1972-06-24HockeyInternational.jpg
title = International Hockey - Great Britain vs France
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 1972-06-24
publisher = Pride of Anglia
] [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/sql/match-programmes/special/1976-06-26HockeyInternational.jpg
title = International Hockey - Great Britain vs Malaysia (men) & England vs Holland (women)
accessdate = 2007-01-19
date =1976-06-26
publisher = Pride of Anglia
]

The stadium has also hosted several music concerts, including performances by Elton John, [Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/3337047.stm
title = Elton makes Ipswich date
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 2003-12-20
publisher = BBC Suffolk
] R.E.M., [Cite web
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/articles/2004/10/08/rem_concert_ipswich_event_feature.shtml
title = R.E.M playing at Portman Road
accessdate = 2008-01-19
publisher = BBC Suffolk
] Red Hot Chili Peppers, [Cite web
url = http://arts.guardian.co.uk/reviews/story/0,,1811109,00.html
title = Red Hot Chili Peppers
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 2006-07-03
publisher = The Guardian
] Dire Straits, Neil Diamond, [Cite web
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/articles/2005/05/27/neil_diamond_review_feature.shtml
title = Neil Diamond, Portman Road Football Ground, Thursday 26 May 2005
accessdate = 2008-01-19
publisher = BBC Suffolk
] Dirty Pretty Things, [Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/5341052.stm
title = Concert remembers crash teenagers
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 2006-09-13
publisher = BBC News
] and Rod Stewart. [Cite web
url = http://www.eveningstar.co.uk/content/eveningstar/news/story.aspx?brand=ESTOnline&category=News&tBrand=ESTOnline&tCategory=News&itemid=IPED07%20Nov%202006%2011%3A52%3A42%3A567
title = Rod Stewart is set to rock Ipswich
accessdate = 2008-01-19
date = 2006-11-07
publisher = Ipswich Evening Star
] In March 2005, around 8,000 Christians attended a gathering at the stadium, the largest act of Christian worship in Suffolk since American evangelist Billy Graham used Portman Road on part of his "Mission England" tour in 1984. [Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/4391865.stm
title = Church organises stadium worship
publisher = BBC News
date = 2005-03-29
accessdate = 2008-01-19
]

Records

The highest attendance recorded at Portman Road is 38,010 for a match against Leeds United in the FA Cup sixth round on 8 March 1975. The record modern (all-seated) attendance is 30,152, set on 21 December 2003 against local rivals Norwich City in the Football League Championship. [Cite web
url = http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/park/yfh45/ipswich.htm#Record%20Attendance
title = Ipswich Town
publisher = www.footballgroundguide.co.uk
accessdate = 2008-01-18
] The largest ever crowd for a non-competitive game at the ground was 23,284 for Bobby Robson's testimonial where Ipswich, including George Best, played against an England XI. [Cite web
url = http://tmwmtt.com/features/Best.htm
title = George Best: 1946-2005
publisher = Pride of Anglia
accessdate = 2008-01-19
]

The highest seasonal average at the stadium since Ipswich turned professional was 26,431 in the 1976–77 season while Ipswich were playing in the First Division. The lowest average attendance at Portman Road was 8,741 in the club's inaugural league season, the 1936–37 season in Division Three (South). The highest total seasonal attendance was recorded during the 1980–81 season when the aggregate was more than 814,000 during a season in which Ipswich won the UEFA Cup and finished second in the First Division. [Cite web
url = http://www.tmwmtt.com/sql/attendances.phtml
title = Attendances since 1936 (all competitions)
publisher = Pride of Anglia
accessdate = 2008-01-18
]

Portman Road hosted Ipswich Town's first appearance in European football competition when they defeated Floriana of Malta 10–0, still a club record, in the European Cup in 1962. [Cite web
url = http://www.fchd.info/IPSWICHT.HTM
title = Ipswich Town
publisher = fchd.info
accessdate = 2008-01-23
] Since then, Ipswich Town remain undefeated at Portman Road in all European competitions, a total of 31 matches spanning 40 years, [Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/uefa_cup/2376187.stm
title = Ipswich edge out Liberec
accessdate = 2008-01-23
date = 2002-10-31
publisher = BBC Sport
] a record until it was surpassed by AZ Alkmaar in December 2007. [Cite news
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/7145803.stm
title = AZ Alkmaar 2-3 Everton
author = Caroline Cheese
publisher = BBC Sport
accessdate = 2008-01-23
date = 2007-12-20
AZ Alkmaar were defeated in the match after breaking the record total; this could allow the record to be regained by Ipswich Town should they qualify for Europe in the future and remain undefeated in their next two home games.
]

Transport

:main|Ipswich railway stationThe stadium is approximately convert|450|yd|m from Ipswich railway station, which lies on the Great Eastern Main Line from London Liverpool Street to Norwich. The stadium has no parking facilities for supporters, and the streets around the ground are subject to a residents-only permit parking scheme, but there are a number of pay and display or park and ride car parks within a short distance of the ground. [Cite web
url = http://www.multimap.com/maps/?hloc=GB|ipswich#t=l&
17|4&loc=GB:52.05986:1.15548:14|ipswich|Ipswich,%20Suffolk,%20England,%20IP1%203
title = Ipswich
publisher = Multimap
accessdate = 2008-01-19
] [Cite web
url = http://www.itfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/PortmanRoad/0,,10272,00.html
title = Portman Road
publisher = Ipswich Town F.C.
accessdate = 2008-01-19
]

References


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