There is nothing written in stone but Town’s operations manager Lee O’Neill has not ruled out visiting the Netherlands too on the clubs pre-season tour. Speaking exclusively to the East Anglian Times sports journalist Andy Warren, he intimated that this trip might extend beyond just Germany. ” We are looking at the planning stages at the moment and what that might look like and what our time over there might look like?”
The feeling is that with the Netherlands being in such close proximity to Germany, they may play the odd game over the border, and given the fact that Ipswich Town will almost certainly be plying their trade in a lower division, some Jupiler League opposition could be their ideal sparring partners.
Back to Germany again, and the Blues Media Manager Steve Pearce said that although they are talking with Fortuna Dusseldorf, there is no guarantee that they will be part of this European excursion but this is still a project in development and manager Paul Lambert hasn’t overseen a pre-season tour since the start of 2014.
I sincerely hope that Town can arrange another game with top-flight Bundesliga side Fortuna, who are lying in twelfth place in the current standings and are well clear of the drop zone. Last time we played them in 2015 when they were a league below and this might influence the German sides thinking, as we are now further apart than ever. That said, there is a great bond of friendship between both clubs, and I thoroughly enjoyed my last visit there to watch the Tractor Boys lose narrowly 4-3 on a beautiful summers day, and in the company of some very hospitable hosts. A big group of them visit Portman Road every season and I could not have felt more welcome on my last visit to this vibrant city.
Having lived in the Netherlands for almost thirty years now, it is not just a visit from Ipswich that is uppermost on my mind. I still have my British passport because I intend later to continue doing some teaching in Thailand but as things stand, it is anyone’s guess as to what the final arrangement will be with the European Union and how it will affect my status over here?
I was not even allowed to vote in the referendum so my opinion is largely null and void I suppose. But to leave without a deal would be disastrous from my perspective – although it appears to be what most Breixiteers are now pinning their hopes on. How that would influence the decision-making processes, when it comes to recruiting foreign players and foreign managers, is another conundrum that needs to be addressed in the not too distant future.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich