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It’s time for Christmas cheer .. but before that, BillytheBee touches base with Blair Ferguson (@BlairFerguson4) from the Ipswich blog TWTD –  a freelance sports journalist also covering Ipswich Town U21s for the official club website and the FA Women’s Super League as well as writer for the Football League Paper and The Telegraph – about Bernard Matthews, Herman Hreidarsson and Tyrone Mings to Arsenal.


Ipswich have had a great start to the season. How’s it been?

It couldn’t have gone much better to the point where it is actually difficult to remember the last time we lost! (Cardiff 21st October).

Second in the Championship at Christmas isn’t an all too familiar position for us but we’ve been playing some great stuff of late and deserve to be there.

You beat Boro at the weekend  … interesting to know if you outplayed them or if they had an off day???

Maybe a slight mixture of the two, but I think we put in a great performance in midfield and probably won the game from there.

Is it really true that your side cost £10k or is that an embellishment?

It’s been well documented that we are the £10k squad challenging for promotion. Most of the players Mick McCarthy have brought in were free transfers so that figure probably isn’t too far off the mark.

Does the Ipswich way of doing business prove that you don’t have to spend big bucks to achieve success in this league .. or have you also had the rub of the green?

I think it’s gone some way to proving that but a lot of credit has to go to McCarthy for picking the right players to fit the team. It’s often said that they are ‘Mick McCarthy’ type players, who are generally hard working and industrious.

Knowing what kind of player he wanted has probably helped the free transfer tactic work, but they haven’t all been successes. Jack Collison is set to be released and Balint Bajner is yet to make an impact at the club.

In short, it only works with the right man picking the right players.

Your most expensive player – £10k Tyrone Mings came from Southampton academy – same as Harlee Dean. Do you think he’s gonna a give Harlee a tough time?

He missed the last game against Middlesbrough through injury but provided he’s playing I think he will.

Mings is athletic and powerful and like most modern full-backs is good at getting forward, so he will be a handful for anyone at the moment considering how well he is playing and constantly improving.

 Is it true that Arsenal are looking to nab him for £8m in January?

It seems as though most of the Premier League are keeping an eye on him just now! Having sold Aaron Cresswell to West Ham in the summer it would be good to keep Mings at Town for a few more seasons.

Given that he has really improved here I think it would be good for him to stay and keep on playing in a team where he is settled rather than taking a big move and becoming a loan journeyman.

 Mick McCarthy doesn’t mince his words does he?

He certainly speaks his mind. He is particularly good at cutting through loaded questions and allowing expectations to get to high when being interviewed.

He’s really turned you guys around in two years hasn’t he?

I think the league position speaks for itself on that one. He’s got a squad together that have really gelled as a team and he’s getting the best out of them. Daryl Murphy is a great example of that with the season he is having.

Your worst manager in a long while has to be Roy Keane. You probably know Jordan Rhodes got his first proper break with Brentford in Division 2 – helping us win the league. He was brilliant. Scored a hat trick on his 2nd match and didnt look back after that – breaking his leg in process but still winning a champions medal. We knew he was too good for us but thought new manager Roy Keane would welcome him with open arms into his new set up. Instead, he rejected our offer for Rhodes, which was fair enough as we thought he would stay at Ipswich … and flogged him to Huddersfield. 

Jordan Rhodes is definitely the one that got away and needlessly so. It was obvious when he was at Ipswich that he was going to be at the least a decent striker, so to see him go and become a great one makes it harder to take. Especially when you consider we weren’t scoring for fun at the time.

Roy Keane really approached things wrong at Ipswich and…

The Roy Keane era brought a lot of negativity. There wasn’t many, if any, aspects of that time that worked but now we are out the other side its probably best to move on!

Thankfully things have changed now and the team spirit is back. When you don’t have a lot of money to spend team spirit can go a long way.

You have two big Brentford favourites in your team – Jay Tabb and Stephen Hunt. Whereas Tommy Smith also played for us too. How are they getting on?

Stephen Hunt has come back from injury fairly recently but is enjoying time back in the first team whilst Jay Tabb goes into Boxing Day off the back of a great performance against Middlesbrough, capped off with a headed goal!

Who should we be looking out for on Boxing Day?

Daryl Murphy is probably the obvious one to watch as the leagues top goal scorer. 18-year-old Teddy Bishop isn’t too far behind having broken into the first team at the start of the season and really playing his part in the Town midfield.

Here’s our made in Ipswich section

Radio 5 live’s Victoria Derbyshire or BT Sport’s Jake Humphrey?

Victoria Derbyshire (a tractor girl through and through – Ed)


Tim Westwood or Nick Kershaw?

I wasn’t about for (Ipswich born) Kershaw’s 62 week purple patch in the charts so it has to be Tim Westwood by default (despite his Norwich links? – ed).


ex-Bee Herman Hreidarsson or ex-Bee Tommy (Kiwi) Smith?

I’d imagine this is what its like to be asked what one on your children you prefer. I’ll go for Hreidarsson.


Deliah Smith pies or Bernard Matthews Norfolk chicken?

Is starving an option?


Brentford have only ever beaten you once – that was in 1955 in Division 3 South. Head to head, Ipswich are just steaming ahead winning 5 games to the Bees’ 1 with 3 games drawn. You must be confident.

We are on a strong run just now and whilst it has to come to an end at some point I don’t think it will be on Boxing Day.


Give us a score prediction

Brentford 1-2 Ipswich

Thanks for Blair for taking time out to give us the lowdown on Ipswich. You can catch his column ‘Ex-files’ on TWTD right here.

You can catch Blair discussing all things Ipswich on the pre-match podcast


Pubs in Brentford

For Ipswich fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match with four pubs around the ground plus many many more only slightly further afield.

Being Boxing Day, we cant be sure what time all the pubs will be opening.

However, we have it on good authority that The Globe will be open at 9.30 am for breakfast and beer … The Griffin will be open at 10am for beer (and no doubt a Smiffys burger a few hours later) and The Lord Nelson will be open at 10.30am.

The Griffin (Brook Road South) is closest to the away end and is very popular with away fans – but also gets very busy. The Globe (Windmill Rd .. junction Great West Road) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cozy away-friendly pubs .. frequented by away fans in the know. And are less than 10 mins walk from the ground.

Other than that, you can check out the other of the 4 corner pubs – The New Inn on the other side of the ground – also popular with away fans, The Princess Royal and The Royal Oak (normally home fans only).

The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields (which is a much better option than taking the overground from Waterloo/Vauxhall to Brentford main line as tube trains are every 2 or 3 mins as opposed to every ½ hr as they are on he overground) before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route).

There is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.

All pubs are incredibly away-friendly .. you can wear colours … and none of the Brentford pubs (except possibly the Royal Oak sometimes) do bouncers on the door ..

For ale head to the Magpie and Stump real ale pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap is a cosy boozer by the river and there is a new pub just opened by Kew Bridge called One Over the Ait which is another pub with lovely river views.  There are loads more too.

Parking – start at Windmill Road junction of Clifton Road and work your way up Windmill Rd … any of the roads off Windmill Rd as you head north and over the A4 Great West Road will do .. Many people park in the streets around The Globe and The Lord Nelson.

A quick google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have an early start (or all evening)