Ipswich Town - Reverse the Ban of Phil Ham, TWTD

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Ipswich Town Football Club have banned journalist Phil Ham from attending the press conferences of manager Paul Lambert. Phil runs the excellent fan site TWTD.co.uk, which presents the views of a massive spectrum and quantity of Ipswich Town fans, literally across the world, far older than the ownership of Marcus Evans and the management of Paul Lambert. As with the fans, it has been here long before Evans and Lambert arrived, and it will be here long after they are gone. This is no comment or critique of the work of either, but merely to state a fact. This goes far beyond any results on the pitch or points on the table. The fans are the club, and it is the fans.

For many months, the pandemic has prevented football fans from attending stadiums. It has prevented them cheering their team, supporting their club, and expressing their views to those who run it - good, bad or indifferent. In a time such as this, even putting aside the recent performances on the pitch, which only emphasis the need for scrutiny, it is vitally important that the fans have a voice. For so many, Phil Ham is that voice, a direct link between the fans and their club.

His ban was a result of a leaked team being posted on his site - not by him. Rather than find the source of the leak, within the club, the blame was instead placed on Phil. Rather than ask how or why this happened, a scapegoat was found.

When a manager of a football club can ban not only a journalist, but the most obvious representation of the club's fanbase, from scrutinising his performance, that football club can no longer consider itself a representation of the fans it claims to represent. And frankly, football without fans is nothing.

The fans of Ipswich Town strongly condem this decision, and urge the club to resolve this matter as swiftly and decisively as possible.