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Address: Portman Road,
Capacity: 30,311 (All-Seater)
One of England’s most iconic football grounds and the largest in the entire East Anglia region, Portman Road has stood the test of time to remain a fantastic place to watch football.
Opened way back in 1884, it has been the home of Ipswich Town Football Club ever since.
The Tractor Boys had called two prior grounds home since the club’s founding in 1878, these being Broom Hill and Brook’s Hall, but moved to Portman Road six years into their life and became one the first clubs to implement the use of goal nets six years later in 1890.
Since then, the ground has overseen football at a Domestic, European and International level, and some of the key figures in Ipswich Town’s history are honoured around the stadium.
Location and Getting There
Portman Road is located in the heart of Ipswich, with its Town Centre incredibly close by. Buildings for Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Crown Court can all be found to the southwest of the stadium, with the River Orwell running along beyond this.
Given its location in the centre of the town, it can be difficult to get to Portman Road by car without paying for parking.
There are certainly a very good number of parking spaces around the vicinity of the stadium, but finding free parking will likely require you to go further away and that could well leave you with a lengthy walk from your car to the ground.
Coming by rail is a much easier option.
Ipswich Station is located on the south bank of the River Orwell, a little more than five minutes walk away from the stadium and along a very simple route that goes up Princess Street and then onto Portman Road, which is where the ground gets its name from.
Outside the Stadium
Buildings and facilities surround Portman Road Stadium on two sides and you can only walk right along the outside of two stands.
The larger of these is the Cobbold Stand on the east side of the ground. It is named after the Cobbold Family, who owned a former Brewery called Tolly Cobbold which has deep roots in Suffolk. Several members of the Cobbold family have chaired Ipswich Town Football Club over the years.
The Cobbold Stand runs right along the edge of Portman Road and has a brown brickwork base with white supporters in place along and above it. An Ipswich Town timeline runs along the stand's exterior, and up at the top is a black corrugated iron roof.
Gates 8-15 run along the base of the Cobbold Stand, with the away turnstiles down at the southern end of the exterior and next to the Away Ticket Office. Between Gates 10 and 11 in the centre of the stand is the entrance to the Far Post Bar, which also in turn is the entrance to the Ipswich Hall of Fame and the D Block Entrance.
On the other side of the road from the Cobbold Stand Gate 10 is a statue of Sir Bobby Robson.
Born in Sacriston on 18th February 1933, Robson played as an inside forward before becoming a manager in 1968. Considered an iconic figure for not just Ipswich Town but English football in general, Robson managed the Tractor Boys between 1969 and 1982, winning an FA Cup, a now defunct Texaco Cup, and the 1981 UEFA Cup during his time in Suffolk. Robson would later manage the England National Team for eight years and also top European clubs including PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto in Portugal, and FC Barcelona in Spain.
A hugely loved name at the Suffolk club, Robson passed away on 31st July 2009 at the age of 76.
A large NCP Car Park is out beyond the Sir Bobby Robson statue and is regularly used by fans on a matchday.
The other stand which you can walk the entire way along is the Sir Bobby Robson Stand on the north side of the ground. It is named after the former manager whose statue can be found outside the Cobbold Stand.
The Sir Bobby Robson Stand runs along the edge of Sir Alf Ramsey Way and there is a statue of Sir Alf opposite the Planet Blue Superstore.
Sir Alf Ramsey was born in Dagenham on 22nd January 1920. Perhaps best known for guiding the England National Team to the 1966 FIFA World Cup title on home soil, Sir Alf Ramsey spent eight years prior to that as the manager of Ipswich Town, taking over the Tractor Boys when they were in what was then known as the Third Division South.
With Ramsey at the helm, Ipswich won two promotions as the Champions of both the Third Division South and the old Second Division, eventually being crowned Champions of England at the end of the 1961-62 season. He would leave for the England job a year later.
An iconic name in English football management, Sir Alf Ramsey passed away on 28th April 1999 at the age of 79. The Sir Alf Ramsey Way name has been in use since shortly his death, and the statue of Sir Alf Ramsey has been in place at Portman Road since the year 2000.
On the opposite side of Portman Road from the Sir Alf Ramsey statue is a statue of Kevin Beattie.
Born in Carlisle on 18th December 1953, Thomas Kevin Beattie came through the youth team at Ipswich Town and went on to play over 200 times for the club between 1972 and 1981. Playing mostly in defence, he was a major part of the successful side which won the Texaco Cup in 1973, the FA Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1981.
Capped nine times by England and regarded as one of Ipswich Town's greatest ever players, Beattie passed away on 16th September 2018 at the age of 64. The statue of him challenging for a header outside Portman Road was officially unveiled on 18t December 2021, what would have been his 68th birthday.
Head round past the two statues and the Planet Blue Superstore and you will come to the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
It has a white brickwork base with large glass windows, large blue panels and murals of Bobby Robson achievements up above this. The exterior protrudes further outwards towards the top and is made from large panels and a row of glass windows, whilst up above here is the stand's silver panelled roof.
Turnstiles for the Sir Bobby Robson Stand (26-41) run along the stand's brickwork base.
The west side of Portman Road Stadium is known for sponsorship reasons as the Magnus Group West Stand.
The exterior here has a brickwork base with large blue panels and rows of windows higher up and a black corrugated iron roof.
There is a large 3G community pitch and Fanzone outside the stand’s exterior, and as a result the entrances into the stand are out beyond this on the edge of both Sir Alf Ramsey Way and Constantine Road. Fans typically make use of the two turnstile blocks off Sir Alf Ramsey Way for entrance (turnstiles 42-47 and 48-58). The Main Entrance for Portman Road however is around the corner off Constantine Road. Heading down here brings you past Visitors' Parking and up to the stadium's Reception and Players' Lounge.
To the left of the Main Entrance off Constantine Road is a blue and white building which houses the Main Ticket Office, Ticket Collection Point and the Disabled Supporters and Media Entrance.
Ipswich’s Ticket Collection Point can be found near the stand’s entrance on Constantine Road.
A couple of car parks are next to the community pitch which usually offers matchday activities for children before they head into the stadium prior to kick-off.
The South Stand, which is named after Sir Alf Ramsey, is the most difficult of the four to reach.
With major public buildings like Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Crown Court located close by, access to the stand's exterior is restricted to just one side. Fans based in this stand have to use the turnstiles at Gate 17 (turnstiles 1-9), which is located off Portman Road on the eastern side of the football ground. If you are on Constantine Road and need to reach Gate 17, there are two routes you can take:
-Head north along Constantine Road, turn right onto Sir Alf Ramsey Way, past the Sir Bobby Robson Stand, turn right onto Portman Road and head all the way past the Cobbold Stand to Gate 17.
-Head south along Constantine Road past the Main Entrance, turn left onto Russell Road, past the Suffolk County Council building, past the Pay and Display car park off Chancery Road (A137), turn left onto Princes Street, then turn left onto Portman Road and continue up to Gate 17.
The Sir Alf Ramsey Stand itself has a brickwork base with large blue panels higher up, followed by blue corrugated iron, white cantilever, and then black corrugated iron at the very top.
This is where team coaches usually park up outside and the space immediately outside the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand's exterior is private parking that is not accessible to the public.
Inside the Stadium
The Cobbold Stand is divided into two tiers, with the lower tier significantly smaller than the upper tier. A row of executive boxes divides the two levels from one another. Every seat in this stand is coloured blue, and the stand’s executive seating blocks can be found at the front of the upper tier.
The Cobbold Stand’s large black roof hangs overhead but doesn’t quite cover every row in the lower tier. There’s a good chance that if you have a front row seat in the lower tier, you will be exposed to the elements from above. The roof has a row of pillars coming down towards the back, and there is a small chance that back row seats in the upper tier may have slightly restricted views as a result.
Windshields cover seats in the upper tier but there is nothing to protect the sides of the lower tier seating area.
If you’re looking for the best seat possible in here, I would suggest choosing a seat in the middle or front rows of the upper tier.
The Sir Bobby Robson Stand is also two-tiered, but both levels are of a much similar size.
Every seat in this stand is blue, and down by the very front is the seating deck which featured in the original North Stand from when Portman Road was first built.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the cantilever roof and you are well protected by walls on either side. The only possible restriction to your view comes from the back rows of the lower tier. The upper tier hangs overhead and it could block your upward view slightly, though you will be able to see both goals and the whole of the pitch from here.
The Magnus Group West Stand is the largest of the four and the only one made up of three tiers of blue seating.
Both the lower and middle tiers are similarly sized but the upper tier is significantly larger, with a row of executive boxes underneath. The letters LOVE CO OP are spelt out in white amongst the upper tier blocks, and there is also a hollow white heart between the E and the C.
Portman Road’s press box is right at the back of the upper tier, and the main Director’s Box is in the centre of the middle tier. The dugouts are out in front of the lower tier.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the giant roof which hangs overhead, and large windshields are in place on both sides of the upper and middle tiers.
The ITFC Players Suite, as well as the control tower, changing rooms and tunnel, are in a building by the southeast corner of the pitch.
Players enter the field at the corner and usually walk along the west side of the pitch before doing their handshakes outside the Magnus Group West Stand.
The Sir Alf Ramsey Stand towers over the Players Suite next to it.
Made up of two tiers which are relatively equal in size, every seat inside the stand is blue, with two blocks of executive seating at the front of the upper tier. The lower tier of this stand uses the seating deck from the original Churchmans Stand which was based on this side of the stadium. It took its name from the Churchman Brothers who built a tobacco processing plant here back in 1901.
Because of the cantilever roof, there are no supporting pillars coming down that you would restrict your view, and large transparent windshields protect those in the upper tier from either side.
Away fans are housed in the upper tier of the Cobbold Stand.
They are given the blocks nearest to the southeast corner and depending on the travelling allocation only one of those blocks is used for small crowds, whereas both are used when the away attendance is big. Ipswich use stewards and large sheets to segregate these fans from home supporters nearby.
Views from this away section are mostly clear, though a row of supporting pillars up towards the back of the upper tier can leave views restricted for those sat in the very back rows.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Dove Street Inn (76 St. Helen's Street, IP4 2LH) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-Isaacs on the Quay (7 Wherry Quay, IP4 1AS) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) Located near the Ipswich Waterfront)
-The Lord Nelson (81 Fore Street, IP4 1JZ) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located near the Ipswich Waterfront)
-The Station Hotel (Burrell Road, IP2 8AJ) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located very close to Ipswich Station)
-The Thomas Wolsey (91-13 St Peter's Street, IP1 1XF) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (
There is a lot of history in Portman Road and the stadium celebrates it on every corner. Stands pay homage to some of Ipswich Town’s key figures and the general view from every one of the four stands is very good.
I’d argue that the best seats in the house are those behind the goal in either the Sir Bobby Robson Stand or the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand, but the two stands along the length of the pitch offer good views of the action as well.
The stadium is in a great location for those coming by public transport and being so close to the Town Centre, it feels like one of the central landmarks in Ipswich itself.
Getting over to Suffolk can prove a long, tiring trip for many fans who don’t live in the East Anglia area, but it’s worth it to come and see a game at a stadium as good as this one.
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