Portman Road: Ipswich Town

Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DA, England
By John Fielding from Norwich, UK (ipswich football ground) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Portman Road has been the home of Ipswich Town Football Club since 1884, just six years after the Suffolk based team was formed. It’s not the same stadium as stood then, obviously, with the ground undergoing major renovations in 2002. It is the largest ground in East Anglia with a capacity of over 30,000. It’s certainly a lot bigger than the club’s original ground of Broomhill Park where they played for the first six years of their existence.

Portman Road was used for football in the winter months and acted as a cricket pitch during the summer, playing host to the East Suffolk Cricket Club from 1885. The cricket pavilion was the first fixed building located at the site when it was erected and remained so for a further eleven years. One of Ipswich’s claims to fame is that they were one of the first teams to use goal nets, something that they did in 1890.

Stats

Portman Road Stats
Year Opened1884
Capacity30,311
Average Attendance19,416
Record Attendance38,010 (Ipswich v Leeds (1975))
Pitch Size102 x 75 (7650)
OwnerIpswich Borough Council
Clubs HostedIpswich Town F.C.
Ipswich Town Stats
Year Founded1878
NicknameBlues, Tractor Boys, "Pride of East Anglia"
Club MascotBluey
RivalsNorwich City
Previous StadiumsBroomhill Park
KitBlue & White Pinstripe (Home) / Red & Navy (Away)
Training GroundIpswich Town Training Centre
Shirt SponsorMarcus Evans
Team OwnerMarcus Evans
Record GoalscorerRay Crawford (218)
Record AppearancesMick Mills (737)

Portman Road Photos

Portman Road Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By Budgiekiller (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As is the case with most grounds that were built over a hundred years ago, Portman Road is very much built in the classic ‘English style’ of having four distinct stands on each side of the pitch. Most of the ground is two-tiered with the exception of The East Of England Co-Operative Stand, which has three tiers.

  • The Sir Bobby Robson Stand - Named after a former club icon and entirely rebuilt in 2001, this stand has two tiers that can house 7500 fans between them.
  • The Cobbold Stand - Originally called The Portman Stand and running the length of the side of the pitch, this stand houses both home and away supporters across its two tiers.
  • The Sir Alf Ramsey Stand - Named after another club icon, this two-tiered stand is behind the Southern goal and was named after their former manager in 2012.
  • The East Of England Co-Operative Stand - The only three-tiered stand in the ground, this one is also the stand that houses the executive boxes, dug-outs and dressing room.

Ipswich Town Ticket Prices

Ipswich have decided that the best way to please both fans and people who run websites such as this one alike is to make their ticketing system as complicated as possible. They have therefore broken their ticket cost down into as many categories as they could think of. Firstly matches are split into categories, or grades, depending on the opposition. Then within the ground different sections of the stadium are put into different price groups. Finally in the different price groups you will pay a different amount depending on your age. In the premium seating price group prices are then broken down even further into ‘Y’, ‘X’ and ‘D’. There’s no explanation of what those letters mean, though.

Here are the lowest priced tickets for adults and concessions in each grade. Do bear in mind that within the grade there are then different price groups based on where in the ground you’d like to sit. Oh, we should also mention that the club offer different ticket prices for people who buy their tickets before the match day and those who buy ticket on the match day itself. Here we’ll given you the match day price, so you’ll be able to get a ticket for a bit cheaper if you prepare in advance. The most expensive ticket price is for premium seating.

  • Grade A: £34.50-£62.50 / £24.50-£55
  • Grade B: £30-£57 / £21.50-£50
  • Grace C: £23.50-£48.50 / £18.50-£41

How To Get Ipswich Town Tickets

If you’d like to buy tickets to see the Tractor Boys playing at Portman Road then your fist port of call should be the club’s official website. From there you’ll be able to buy tickets for home games, though in some instances you might have to wait until they go on general sale as they get sold to those with an Ipswich membership first. You can also call the club’s box office directly or buy tickets from the box office at the ground on a match day. Disabled supporters can’t buy tickets online and need to call the club’s Disability Liaison Officer on 01473 400556.

Getting To Portman Road

Swap Start/End

Ipswich is out in East Anglia so it’s not as easy to get to as a more centrally located place, but transport links are nevertheless reasonably good. Here are some of the more standard choices you might way to make:

Train - Ipswich Railway Station is about five minutes walk from the ground, so if you want to get the train there then you shouldn’t find it too difficult to get to Portman Road. Trains leave Liverpool Street Station for Ipswich every fifteen minutes or so during the day, meaning wherever you’re coming from you’ll probably head into London and then back out.

Bus - The Ipswich Circular, or number 38 bus, runs from the city centre and stops in three different places around the ground, so that’s the one you’ll want to get if you’d rather get the bus than walk.

Car - Getting to Ipswich itself is easy enough, but you might want to figure out the best route for where you’re coming from. Once you’re a bit closer you’ll want to take the A12 and then get onto the A14. The second exit will be sign posted for the A1214, which you’ll stay on until you get to the ground.

By Air - London Stansted Airport is probably the closest major airport to Ipswich at around 50 miles. Norwich Airport is also reasonably close if that tickles your fancy.

Taxi - The road system in Ipswich means it will probably take you about the same amount of time to get a taxi to the ground as it would to walk. Expect to pay around £5 for the pleasure.

Parking Near Portman Road

On-street parking near the ground is something of a no-no owing to the parking restrictions in place there. The fact that the ground is really close to the city centre, however, means that there are loads of good pay and display and public parking options around the place.

Useful Resources

Portman Road Hotels

Ipswich is a lovely city with plenty of farmer boy character. There are numerous hotel options open to you, some of which we’ve listed here:

Pentahotel Ipswich - £50+

Ranelagh Road, Ipswich, IP2 0AD
The pentahotel chain is only just starting to make a name for itself, but it’s well worth considering if you’re looking for a reasonably attractive budget option in Ipswich. It has a restaurant, a bar, a 24-hour fitness centre and it’s even got its own nightclub. On top of that it boasts self-parking, free Wi-Fi, a winery and it’s all less than a mile from Portman Road. More details.

The Old Times Guest House - £70+

213-215 Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5AS
About one and a half miles from the stadium is this charming guest house. There are only seven rooms, so expect personalised services in this hotel above a pub that also offers breakfast and free Wi-Fi. More details.

Salthouse Harbour Hotel - £200+

1 Neptune Quay, Ipswich, IP4 1AX
This place is a touch pricier than the other options, but you get what you pay for. It’s located, as the name suggests, right on the harbour and boasts a restaurant, a bar, a business centre and free parking. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Portman Road

Ipswich boasts a real charm thanks to its combination of farmer territory and harbour location. There are quite a few decent drinking holes around the place, but we like to be helpful so here are some of our favourites:

The Punch & Judy

41 Street, Grafton, Grafton Way, Ipswich, IP1 1UZ (01473 210979)
A chain pub that serves good food and drinks, The Punch & Judy is welcoming to away fans and a great place to head to if you’re there with little ‘uns.

The Riverside Hotel

Burrell Road, Ipswich, IP2 8AJ (01473 683622)
Right next to the train station and before you hit the River Gipping is this charming little pub full of character and characters. They serve nice food and show sport on televisions in a couple of places. Another pub that’s good to away supporters.

The Drum & Monkey

100 Princes Street, City Centre, Ipswich, IP1 1RY (01473 222206)
Very much one for the home supporters and located just a stone’s throw from the stadium, The Drum & Monkey offers not just an amusing name but also plenty of drinks and as much live sport as you think you’ll be able to handle.

Facilities

There are a few places in the ground with restricted views and the away end suffers from quite poor leg room. The facilities behind the scenes also leave a little to be desired and are starting to show their age now. It’s a nice day out, though, and everyone in the ground will be nice and friendly. Unless you’re from Norwich.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 3.50
  • Cup of tea: 2.00
  • Beer: 3.50

Hospitality

By Ian Hunneybell (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As with all top clubs nowadays there are a wealth of hospitality options availably to you at the home of Ipswich Town. Here are some of the choices you can consider:

  • Premier Hospitality - Located in the East of England Co-Operative Stand is this intimate lounge that offers a three-course meal before the game, use of the lounge before, during and after the match and a cash bar. You’ll also enjoy seats in the Director’s Box and half-time refreshments as well as post match analysis.
  • Robson Hospitality - A touch more lively than the Premier Hospitality Lounge, The Sir Bobby Robson Suite will see you get a welcome from an Ipswich legend, a three-course meal and executive seating. You’ll also get access to a cash bat and enjoy a match day quiz.
  • Hall Of Fame Hospitality - The Hall Of Fame Restaurant offers you a match day experience in a location that pays tribute to the club’s past players. As well as a welcome from a legend you’ll also have a three-course meal, complimentary match day programme and access to a cash bar.

Private Hire

With lounges and suites that can accommodate up to 250 people for a formal dinner and over 300 people for more informal events, Portman Road is the perfect place to host any kind of occasion in East Anglia. The club promises efficient and friendly staff, an experienced co-ordination team and a variety of rooms to suite everything from conferences to weddings.

Stadium Tours & Museum

The tour of Portman Road Stadium takes in places that are normally ‘off-limits’ to fans. You’ll see the dressing rooms, the players’ tunnel, and the dug-outs as well as the famous boot room and more executive locations such as the boot room and the Champions Lounge. You’ll get a chance to sit in the best seats inside the ground in the Director’s Box and media suite where the manager gives his post-match reaction. Tickets are £7.50 for adults and £5 for children and seniors. The tours run at random times, though, so make sure you get in touch with the club before rocking up and asking to be taken on one.

There is no museum to speak of at Portman Road, but on the tour you’ll get a chance to see the trophy cabinets that display players’ international caps as well as the FA Cup and Championship winners’ medals. There are also replicas of the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and Play-Off Final trophies that the club has won over the years.

About Ipswich Town

By User:Løken (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Known interchangeably as The Tractor Boys, The Blues or simply just Town, Ipswich Town Football Club were founded in 1878 and turned professional in 1936. They joined the Football League in 1938 and to this day are the only professional club side in the county of Suffolk. Their fiercest rivals are Norwich City and when the two teams meet the match is referred to as The East Anglian Derby. It’s also known colloquially the Old Farm Derby; a cheeky nod towards The Old Firm clash between Celtic and Rangers in Scotland.

Ipswich’s first season in the top-flight was in 1961-1962, an occasion made even more special by the fact that they won the title at the first time of asking. They narrowly missed out on another Division One title in 1980-1981 and 1981-1982, losing out to Aston Villa the first time around and Liverpool the second. They have won the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup and have competed in all three European competitions, never losing a European match at Portman Road. Along the way they have beaten such famous teams as Real Madrid, Barcelona and AC Milan.

Portman Road History

By John Fielding from Norwich, UK (ipswich football ground) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The first permanent structure at Portman Road was a wooden building known affectionately to the locals the ‘The Chicken Run’. It was built in 1906 and remained there until 1971 when it was sold to a local speedway team, The Ipswich Witches. In 1910 the ground played host to two amateur internationals, both of which England won convincingly. They first beat Bohemia by ten goals to one before hitting twenty past France without reply.

Portman Road was commandeered by the British Army in 1914 to be used as a training camp and remained under their command for the duration of the First World War. During the 1920s it was used to host whippet races but both that and the cricket played at the ground stopped when the club turned professional in 1936. Though numerous changes were made to the ground over the years it was until the 2000s that major renovations took place there.

Future Developments

By Self-made (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The club would ideally like to redevelop The Cobbold Stand in order to increase the overall capacity of the ground to 40,000. That is unlikely to happen any time soon, however, with the club needing to establish themselves as a regular Premier League team before it would make sense to be able to host more supporters.

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