Tuesday was a night when a new generation descended on Portman Road — in more ways than one.
While Gareth Southgate brought what we hope will be the next generation of England stars, there were swathes of young faces enjoying live football at Ipswich Town for the first time.
The early kick-off and free tickets available to schools and youth football teams in the area certainly did the trick, with more than 17,000 turning up.
When you consider only a shade over 5,000 were at Reading’s Madjeski Stadium to watch the first European Championship qualifier, on a night when the senior team weren’t playing, it shows there is a great appetite for watching top live football in the region.
The trick for the club now is to harness this on a more regular basis to secure the Ipswich Town fans of the future.
I remember the excitement my friends who hadn’t been to a professional stadium before had when we went on a school trip, at a heavily discounted price, to watch Ipswich take on Chelsea in the early days of the Premier League. And many of them have returned numerous times since.
With the cost of football pricing many families out of making regular trips, the club needs more of their ‘kids for a quid’ schemes, with one coming up for the visit of Leicester on November 23.
Almost half the ground is sitting empty every game, so why not ramp up the atmosphere more regularly and secure the future of the club?
Table-toppers Burnley are the visitors on Saturday and despite losing goal machine Charlie Austin, are only second to Watford in goals scored.
Danny Ings, who made his under-21s bow last Thursday, and Sam Vokes have ably taken on Austin’s mantle, while Sean Dyche’s side have the second meanest defence.
Town’s two recent draws on the road, when we should have got more, has put the pressure on the home form to continue.
But there is a freedom in our play on home soil right now which suggests the feelgood factor doesn’t have to stop.