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Ipswich supporter Phil Ham
"There is a split in the camp"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 19 December, 2000, 18:07 GMT
Tractor boys making noise
George Burley celebrates with the Ipswich fans
Ipswich fans had plenty to cheer about in May this year
The good times are back at Ipswich Town with the Suffolk team riding high in the Premiership - and the fans are loving it.

But as the players continue to bang in the goals and dreams of the Champions League come alive, the cries from the Portman Road faithful have recently become a little strange.

Football supporters are sometimes portrayed as lacking intelligence, but it now appears the self-proclaimed "Tractor Boys" are having the last laugh as they respond to rival fans.

"It's a long term thing that has developed over the years really," Phil Ham of the Ipswich fanzine 'Those were the days' explains.

Conflict in the camp

Ipswich's only real nickname has been Super Blues, but after years of abusive mockery concerning their so-called country ways, Ham describes how the fans have turned the joke around and adopted their new identity.

"Away fans have sung 'Ooo-arr, oooh-arrr' but it was two years ago at Birmingham that things changed," says Ham.

It's an irony by-pass on the parts of some players
  Phil Ham, fanzine writer
"We were being taunted, so we responded with 'one-nil to the Tractor Boys'.

"We may be rural country cousins but we were actually 1-0 up."

Ipswich sit pretty in third place in the Premiership, and, following an impressive victory over Liverpool at Anfield, George Burley's team will be full of confidence as they prepare themselves for an even bigger test against the champions at Old Trafford.

However, there are concerns the Ipswich team are at odds with each other over the issue of the supporters' new songs.

"There is a split in the camp which is a bit of a worry," Ham jokes.

Jim Magilton
Jim Magilton is image conscious

"It's an irony by-pass on the parts of some players.

"Jim Magilton hates it. He has this image of straw-chewing bumpkins coming out of the tunnel.

"But Matt Holland and John Scales like it."

With arch rivals Norwich City, or the Budgies as they are known to Ham, languishing in the First Division, fans of Ipswich have even more reason to gloat about their fine start to the season.

But if the improvements were to turn sour or they became bored of their new name, there is one thing that will not change - the ardent support at Portman Road will not lose their sense of humour.

"It will probably keep going until the end of the season when we give up and become the ex-Tractor fans," Ham enthuses.

"We've even got the ex-Tractor fan T-shirts for next season."

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Tractor boys making noise
See also:

29 Nov 00 |  Ipswich Town
Ipswich run coming at a cost
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