Portman Road paints a picture of evolution. While it is a stadium that scrapes the sky, it also offers a time lapsed look at how the game has changed through decades. New stands are met with historic statues while pebble dash crosses over modern flash. Personifying just how beautifully interesting football stadiums can be in their unique stature, the home of Ipswich Town is our latest stopping point.
The home of the 'Tractor Boys', that's Portman Road. A stadium that first broke ground in 1884, it's very much part of the historic furniture as far as English and European football are concerned. The rural surroundings of Suffolk may not be the obvious place for for football to thrive but it does and has - just ask anyone at Ipswich Town and they'll tell you about huge European nights under the lights and Premier League finishes with an enviable atmosphere.
The beauty of this stadium is perhaps those quirks of time that sit pretty. Old remains of terraces gone by hold court in one corner while diagonally opposite the clubs 'control room' and accompanying tunnel looks more like a house partying on it's own while parts of the ground tower over. Cool, right?
The current capacity sits at just over 30,000 and the growth of the stadium can be earmarked by various eye-catching elements. From the way the first tier of boxes sit below the elevated tier of the 'Cobbold Stand' to the aged roofs that run along each sideline - it's like a fine wine of football, this. Curiously intoxicating. Just look at the font of that is dotted around various stands and it'll characterise the era in which this home was developed. It's block italics and a grainy 70s all over.
Not simply a vintage pilgrimage however, there's plenty of 'new' at Portman Road. The Sir Bobby Robson Stand as well as Sir Alf Ramsey Stand are named after two heroes that made huge impacts on the global game and by looking forward through historic foundations, they're the most modern parts of the stadium. Style and sophistication met with retro cool, it's another one that stands strong.
Photography by Steven Gardiner for SoccerBible