Ipswich Town 2-0 Reading FC, Portman Road, 16th October 2017, 3:00PM KO
NAME: Portman Road / OPENED: 1884 / CAPACITY: 30,311
Me and away games are not a good mix. I haven’t seen my team win away in five years now (a record I’m praying will end someday soon) so heading to Portman Road for my second ever visit I was not in the most optimistic of moods. My fears were quickly confirmed as we stumbled to a lacklustre 2-0 defeat, lasting a whole three minutes before conceding. The games continue to go against my wishes, but we’re here for my view on the ground, not a breakdown. It may be about three months late, but ROT92 is back. Enjoy the review.
Based just a quarter of a mile away from Ipswich train station, it’ll take you about five minutes to walk to the ground (and a lot longer to get in if you end up walking the entire perimeter of the ground to find your stand …). However, with trains only running from London Liverpool Street and Peterborough, you’ll likely have to make a host of changes if you’re visiting from afar. For those of you who are driving, parking around the ground is very convenient, with several car-parks within a ten-minute walk of the ground and once you’re at the ground, getting through the turnstiles usually takes no time at all. In terms of accessibility, it’s hard to fault Portman Road at all. 9/10.
The second oldest ground in the Championship (after Deepdale of Preston), Portman Road is starting to show its age, despite recent renovations in 2002. The away fans are seated in the corner of the Cobbold Stand, which is one of the ground’s main stands. View from the away end is excellent in your half, although trying to tell what’s happening down the other end is a bit of a challenge. The scoreboard beside the away fans looks like it came with the stadium back in 1884 and sums up the overall state of most of the facilities. Portman Road has character in abundance although you have to question whether it’s suitable for the modern game. 4/10.
Inside of the ground, pies and pastries are available for a fairly modest £3, whilst outside of the ground, vendors sell bags containing a paper, drink and confectionary. There are both a Starbucks and Burger King within a 15-minute walk from the ground, although on my journey to the ground I saw few other options. Nothing to write home about here with catering once again. 5/10.
Unfortunately, my second visit to Portman Road was less pleasant than my first, although a large bulk of that was down to Reading’s performance on the day and not the ground. The stewards were refreshingly helpful and friendly, with away fans allowed to sit anywhere in the upper block due to the smaller away attendance (around 700 made the trip, although the block can hold up to 1,900 travelling fans). Despite a low-lying roof making a decent atmosphere possible, fleeting attendances restrict the atmosphere coming from the home stands. Overall the ground is a pleasant day out although in terms of entertainment in the surrounding area, your options are limited. 7/10.
At £15 for an under-23 ticket, I can’t complain about the pricing at Ipswich, although £30 for an adult ticket in the upper tier does seem a tad steep, especially considering views are restricted towards the back of the stand. I visited the ground by car, so the only expense there went on parking, which set me back £4 for the afternoon. Matchday programmes were a standard £3 each and my only other outgoings were on a hot chocolate, which I believe came in at £2.50 (or thereabouts). £24.50.
An enjoyable and affordable day out. Portman Road certainly isn’t the most memorable ground in the division, but it has charm and charachter in abundance and whilst attendances in recent times have been modest, with a full house Portman Road has the potential for a cracking atmosphere. 25/40.