Pride of Anglia - Ipswich Town Football Club

since 1878

Quick Links

Site Index

Player A-Z





The History of Portman Road

As building work continues apace to, in the words of Chairman Dave, "Turn Portman Road into a 30,000 plus capacity, high quality and modern day stadium as befitting a leading Premiership Club" Pride of Anglia has cobbled together a brief history of the ground and its development since it was first used for football in 1884 ...

1884 Ipswich Association play their first ever game at PR in a benefit game against The Pilgrims, although a combination of Broom's Hill and Brook's Hall continue to be used for the majority of games.

1888 Ipswich Association merge with Ipswich [Rugby] Football Club to become Ipswich Town Football Club and PR becomes the clubs permanent home. The playing area runs East-West across the area that is now occupied by the practice pitch. During the summer months this is also used by the Ipswich & East Suffolk Cricket Club. Only fixed building is a pavilion in the NE corner.

1892 Preston North End become the first professional side to visit PR for a match with the Suffolk County FA.
1895 The rugby section of the club departs leaving PR the exclusive domain of the footballer's during the winter months.
1897 A hut is built for the press and pitch altered to run from north to south (mainly to preserve the cricket square).
1898 Temporary stand erected on one side of the ground, and wagons drawn up along the other to accommodate a crowd of 5,000 who witness the visit of Aston Villa for a match with the Suffolk County FA.
1890 Pitch is moved to its current location, which at the time was waste/marsh land, following complaints by the Ipswich & East Suffolk CC over condition of cricket square.
1906 Pitch leveled and re-laid. Building work begins on a Grandstand along the east side of PR at a cost of £230 (the same stand that was later sold by Bobby Robson to Foxhall Stadium in 1971). 7' fence erected around perimeter to prevent non-paying public from viewing games. Admission now 6d for all games and a further 6d to sit in the Grandstand.
1910 PR is host to two Amateur Football Association Internationals. England defeating Bohemians 10-1 and France 20-0.
1911 Roof of Grandstand blown-off in gale and replaced at a cost of £60.
1914 PR commandeered by War Office for use as an Army Training Camp.
1918 W.W.I ends but Army refuse to relinquish control of PR.
1920 Club regain control of ground again although a substantial amount of work required to repair damage by heavy military equipment over intervening six years.
1922 Whippet racing makes its debut at PR.
1926 Home game delayed whilst rats chased from Grandstand.
1928 Small uncovered stand constructed on west side of ground. Seats in the main Grandstand are number and members allocated their own seat.
1936 Playing area enclosed by iron railings (replacing existing rope arrangement). Terracing at north end of ground banked and covered.
1937 650 tip-up seats bought from Arsenal installed in Grandstand. Churchmans end partially covered at a cost of £1,450. Now professional the club plays their first home game as such against Colchester United.
1938 League football arrives at PR. Churchmans Stand extended to full width of pitch. Grandstand extended and enclosure in front is terraced. Adult admission price increased to 1/-. 19,242 watch Town's first home Football League game against Southend United.
1939 Home game with Reading postponed due to four feet of flood water on playing surface. Home attendance record of 28,194 set for the FA Cup 3rd Round visit of Aston Villa.
1945 The supporters club raise funds for repairs to PR due to neglect during W.W.II.
1946 A ground record 20,267 (for a league fixture) watch the Boxing Day game with QPR. Gale force winds again lift roof of Grandstand and deposit it in the adjacent cattle market.
1951 Board bow to request from parents and a juvenile pen is constructed in the North Stand.
1952 New West Stand (uncovered) terracing constructed at a cost of £3,000.
1953 Club outlines plans to increase stadium capacity by 10,000 with construction of new stand on west side of ground. There just the little matter of finding £100,000 first.
1954 New terracing constructed at North Stand end. Cost met by Supporters Association
1955 £150 half-time scoreboard constructed in south-east corner of ground. Fireman called to extinguish burning timbers in Churchman's during a reserve game
1956 Additional steps added to West Stand terrace (then known as the "popular" side). Ground capacity now approximately 29,000.
1957 Fire brigade called out to another small fire in Churchmans, this time during the league visit of Southend United, Central section of new West Stand completed during the close season with seating at rear.
1958 Wings added to West Stand bringing seating capacity close to 2,500 on that side of PR. New public address system also installed around the ground. Ground capacity now approximately 31,000.
1959 Construction of PR's first floodlights begun in September at a cost of £15,000..
1960 Floodlights officially "switched on" by Lady Blanche Cobbold before a specially arranged friendly with Arsenal (February).
1962 Ground attendance record broken for visit of Tottenham (30,649). Anglia TV "Match of the Week" camera's make their debut at PR. Terrace and roofing improvements begun on North Stand.
1963 Work completed on North Stand improvements at a total cost of £35,000 (all raised by the Ipswich Town Supporters Association). Ground capacity now approximately 31,500.
1965 New administration block and dressing rooms constructed at the corner of the West Stand and Churchmans.
1966 Minimum admission price raised to 5/- (25 pence)
1967 Additional turnstiles added to ground including separate juvenile entrances in Churchmans.
1968 BBC "Match of the Day" cameras at PR for the first time for the league fixture with Birmingham City. Twelve Headphones installed to allow blind fans to listen to match commentaries. Plans to extend the capacity of Churchmans by an extra 5,000 standing places are shelved. Club agree a new 99-year lease on the ground with the borough council with the stipulation that major reconstruction work takes place in the next twenty-one years. International between Great Britain and West Germany sets a then hockey match profit of £1,911. Chevington Blue makes his PR debut for the Division One game against Wolves.
1970 Plans for the major redevelopment of the east side of the ground are announced.
1971 Old East Stand dismantled to make way for a new Portman Stand providing seats for 3,500 spectators in addition to an area of terracing. The £180,000 was officially opened by Sir Alf Ramsey before the home game with Everton. PR host to U-23 International between England and Switzerland. Perimeter advertising arrives. Ground capacity now approximately 37,000.
1972 Centre spot restaurant constructed under Portman Stand. Floodlight failure causes league match with Coventry City to be abandoned.
1973 Home attendance record broken twice in successive home games. 31,918 see the league match with Manchester United, 34,636 the match with Arsenal. Indoor training facilities constructed over changing room area in the south-west corner of PR. New UEFA standard floodlights installed. Fire engines called after smoke seen in yes, you've guessed it, Churchmans.
1974 Work begins on extension to Portman Stand (October). Stand will stretch full length of pitch with the addition of 800 seats at either end. New club shop and squash court included in construction. Total cost of completed stand will be £0.5 Million.
1975 Ground attendance record of 38,010 set for the FA Cup 6th Round visit of Leeds United, for which the extended Portman Stand is now fully open. Ground capacity now approximately 38,600.
1977 £300,00 spent on Churchmans to replace old wooden steps and terracing at rear of stand, extending the roof and the installation of additional turnstiles.
1978 Twenty Four executive boxes constructed in front of Portman Stand. A mere £5,000 will get you a three-year lease. Standing area in front replaced by 1,800 seats reducing ground capacity by 4,000 to 34,600.
1979 Largest ever crowd for a non-competitive game at PR (23,284) turn out for Bobby Robson's testimonial.
1980 Six additional executive boxes added to the Portman Stand. Wooden benches in West Stand replaced with plastic seats.
1981 Town announce a deal with Pioneer and commit some of the sponsorship money to the construction of a new Pioneer Stand on the west side of PR. Building work began in the opening weeks of the 81/82 season.
1982 Electronic scoreboard installed on North Stand roof. 1,600 seats in the new Pioneer Stand available for first home game of the 83/83 season. Remaining 3,200 phased in over the next few months.
1983 Pioneer Stand is completed and official opened in February by Neil McFarlane, Minister for Sport. Sir Stanley Rous amongst official guests. Final cost of new stand £1.4 Million.
1984 American evangelist Billy Graham hires PR as part of his "Mission England" crusade.
1988 First "live" TV broadcast of a game from PR when Manchester United visit in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup.
1989 "Safety" barriers at front of North Stand removed following the Hillsborough disaster.
1992 PR converted to an all-seater stadium during the close season, thus becoming the first all-seater in England. The roofs of both the North and Churchmans are extended. First SKY TV broadcast from PR for the visit of Tottenham. Ground capacity now 22,500.
1993 New Match Day control room constructed over the players tunnel.
1995 Retractable players tunnel installed.
1997 Work starts on replacing old seats in Cobbold Stand with modern "tip-up" blue ones.
1999 Portman Walk (road at rear of North Stand) renamed Sir Alf Ramsey Way. The Pioneer Stand reverts briefly to the West Stand and them becomes the Britannia Stand following a sponsorship deal with the Building Society.
2000 Statue of Sir Alf Ramsey unveiled at corner of Sir Alf Ramsey Way and Portman Road (August). Work commences on new South Stand. New floodlight pylons, installed at North Stand end of PR, make their debut in the home game with West Ham (October). Surface of practice pitch at rear of the Britannia Stand replaced with synthetic field turf.
2001 Upper tier of new South Stand partially open for home Premiership game with Liverpool (April). North Stand demolition begins after final home game of 2000/01 season against Manchester City (May). Ground capacity for City game 25,004. South Stand complete and fully open for first home match in the 2001/02 Premiership season (August).
2002 New North Stand scheduled for completion.

Back to the top ^^

Copyright ©2000-2009 pride of anglia |