Ipswich Town fan RUSSELL CLAYDON says supporters have been short-changed over the Middlesborough rematch

IT WAS supposed to be a PR exercise to bring the disenchanted back to Portman Road – but it may have only succeeded in alienating more.

Some 3,000 extra fans turned up for Saturday’s doomed visit of Middlesbrough on the promise of paying 25 per cent less.

But a frozen pitch abandonment after 37 minutes – why did it ever start hours after minus-14 degrees Celsius temperatures? – means the true cost of the game will be more than that.

You could hear jaws dropping as chief executive Simon Clegg said a refund or free game was out of their hands as regulations stated only a ‘50 per cent discount’.

Funny then, that after Middlesbrough revealed plans to cover travel and tickets for their fans on Tuesday, March 27, Ipswich were able to cut through those regulations with a £10 cap for the rematch, but could (or would) not follow their opponents or the likes of MK Dons (the home side) with no extra charge.

But, I can reveal any regular corporate visitors have been told they will be given another meal and drinks – so that’s two for the price of one – at the rematch.

If a cinema had to send people home during a film due to equipment failure, would consumer rights not be hurled at staff if they said you had to pay more, to watch it in full?

Dare I say the Blue Army should vote with their feet in the replay? Whoops, just said it.

I had two friends at the game, Darren (from Middlesbrough) and Rachael, who live just outside Bury. They spent £100 on their day in total by taking a friend, in the non-discounted away end, and will not recover a penny as Darren will be working away on the date of the replay.

Ipswich Town have scored a massive own goal, but referee Dean Whitestone should also hang his head in shame, having refused the public an explanation for their money and time being wasted.

A game did go ahead on Tuesday with the Tractor Boys making it three wins on the trot at administration-threatened Portsmouth.

Michael Chopra’s early strike puts us 12 points clear of the relegation zone and, despite a worrying lack of depth in defence, our League One fears thankfully look to have vanished.

Promotion chasers, and Carling Cup finalists, Cardiff City, a club I used to work for in the press office, travel to Portman Road on Saturday.

Our recent record against them is superb and I am confident of another upset with Chopra set to star against his old club.

n Paul Jewell didn’t even know what the Suffolk Premier Cup was until our story was read out to him at a press conference.

Roy Keane may have made many mistakes at Portman Road, but at least he appreciated the worth of the club’s relationship with non-League sides in a county where Ipswich are the only professional club...