Pete Ahmad
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Peter Ahmad “Wearside Blue” – ITFC supporter since 1981

Born London (not many people know that you know!) April 1971 - a fine vintage. Moved to Sunderland, 1973, a week before the FA cup moved north to the Wear!

The often asked question - how the chuff does a “Makem” end up supporting the blue army?

1981 and all that…

The year was 1981 – the time of THE Royal Wedding. Whilst on holiday with my parents in East Anglia we house-sitted for friends of my parents who lived in Ipswich. I stayed in the young sons room which was a shrine to Robson’s team of the 80s. Photos, programmes the works! I was young, impressionable and just becoming interested in the great game. A gift that same period of an Ipswich sun hat was all it took to convince me that Blue and White was a sound choice and preferable to the hometown Red and White. It was a strange and at times costly decision!

We would return to Ipswich on an annual basis for a five or more years and I would clock up at least one home game a season during this period.

The Rave On – John Lyall years…

Whilst studying at Madchester between 1989 and 1993 I struck up some great friendships with other Ipswich locals and traveled extensively around the North West and back and forth to Ipswich watching the lads do the business. The year of the 2nd Division Championship was especially memorable and I saw a good number of those games home and away that year. 

A Rainbow Perspective…

When the South African Blue Army Alliance was launched here, I was interviewed by a journalist from BBC Radio Suffolk. Poor bloke must have thought he’d got his wires crossed – a Wearsider, living in South Africa and who’s blood is blue – I hope he understood me! I wonder if they ever used the interview.

We’ve even been in the EADT! This branch is dead famous and the lads and ladies amongst the best you’ll ever meet.

A Twist in the Tale…

As a postscript to this tale, you may find it interesting to note that the “young son” whose room corrupted me all those years ago turned out to be Chris “The Boy” Reeler’s cousin - Mark Whitehead. Mark’s family were in SA when and it was there house we were house sitting (our parents were close friends from their teaching days in London). Chris and I would only learn of this by a chance e-mail when Mark was traveling Europe with ITFC in 2001. Chris and I had already been mates for some four or so years! It’s a small world ladies and gents…

1st ITFC Match

Sunderland vs ITFC Roker Park 1983

1st ITFC Match @ FPR

ITFC vs Notts Forest – 2-2 draw 1984

Last match @ FPR

ITFC vs Spurs – 2-2 draw 1994

Live highlights:

Sunderland 2 Ipswich Town 3 1983 – Roker Park

Watched from the packed Fulwell End surrounded by my fellow Wearsiders, kitted out in best Ipswich Body Warmer (forgive me, it was the 80’s remember) Flat Cap and Scarf. No-one could work out why a “local” lad was shouting for the team in blue. ‘Twas the great team of the 80’s minus only Muhren – D’Avray even got a run-on as sub!

The Sh**te 0 Town 2 1985 – Canaryville

Just after the stand burned down and just after they had harmed us (grievously on the pitch and mentally off) in the Milk Cup semis. Goals from the great goalscoring colossus Butcher and D’Avray secured a magical three points. All watched from the wrong end after a ticketing mix up but nevertheless laughed myself sick when Asa Hartford was sent off for being too crap – first time I’d seen that happen. I was spat on by a man old enough to be my great grandfather for my efforts – nice people them yellow shirts…

Ipswich 2 Derby 1 1992 – FPR

“WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!! WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE – repeat to fade “LET’S ALL HAVE A DISCO, LET’S ALL HAVE A DISCO LALALALALALALALALALALALA…- repeat to fade. The Chelsea of their day Blackburn, blew a million points clear at the top advantage (a point per million spent on players), to allow the lads to surge to the top of the 2nd Division. The Premiership beckoned, Dozey and Kiwomya were in a class of their own on the day (and that season) and Neal Thompson secured a right hand seat next to God, in my humble opinion – best defensive player of the decade end of story.

Liverpool 0 Ipswich 0 1993 – Anfield

The game was appalling but a point is a point at Anfield! If you know football, you know Anfield and therefore you’ll know why this was a highlight for me. If you don’t know Anfield, HOW did you find this site?

Sunderland 1 Ipswich 0 2001 – Stadium of Light

Wrong result but WHAT a day out at the magnificent Stadium of Light – this also gets a mention in the worst Live read on for reasons.

Bafana Bafana 2 Tunisia 0 CAF Cup Final 1996

President Mandela, a passionate (those were the days) national team and 100,000 patriots packed into FNB. Unforgettable and from a spectacle point of view at least, more memorable than the World Cup qualification triumph a year later – I saw all those qualifying games too.

Sandton C 6 (1st Division) Ruimsig 1 (Premier League) Cup Quarters – George Lea Park

1-1 at full time. 6-1 within twenty additional minutes – you had to be there I guess…

Live lowlights:

Sunderland 1 Ipswich 0 1987 – Roker Park

Back in the Fulwell End AGAIN. Cooper goes off injured, Cranson replaces him in nets. Sunderland goal is disallowed within seconds of the switch and after that  he proceeds to play a blinder…seconds from time, referee awards spot kick to hometown team and the rest as they say is history…gutted I was.

Oldham 4 Ipswich 1 1990 Boundary Park

Soaked to and beneath the skin - Terrible ground, terrible plastic pitch, reasonable manager I seem to recall and top striker in the form of Ian Marshall. Marshall had scored three before half time and the only highlight was Mich D’Avray coming on as sub. John Wark scored as I recall.

Sunderland 1 Ipswich 0 2001 – Stadium of Light

This was the beginning of the end. Within weeks we would have beaten the Mighty Inter Milan @ FPR but anyone who witnessed the dawn of the age of the “grab the money while I can – get me out quick” brigade would have been equally dismayed – if not disgusted. Sereni, George, Sixto, millionaires every last one of them, every last one of them a DISGRACE to the shirt. All this in the name of UEFA glory! Lads like Scowcroft sacrificed for has beens and never could be’s. Stewart sacrificed for, well for whom exactly? How the chuff did it all go so wrong. Loved the day and the atmosphere but I won’t forget for either the good or bad reasons.

Best team seen live:

Champions 1991/2

Favourite Player of ALL Time:

Mickey Stockwell

 Best team – based on who I personally saw in the blue and white and players who on THEIR day did the business (hence Reuser’s inclusion) – not what the lads from the 60s/70s want me to say (hence no Beattie or Ray Crawford for that matter!)

 Goal: Forrest

Defence: Mills, Thompson, Butcher, Stockwell

Midfield: , Reuser, Muhren, Dyer, Brennan

Forwards: Mariner, Stewart

Sub: D’Avray – for sentimental and patriotic reasons (and to wind up Granite, Wilksey and Richard)