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That Was The Weekend That Was: Ipswich chant sows seeds of discontent

FEW PREMIERSHIP sides this season seem to operate more cohesively as a team than Ipswich - but success has revealed a split in the Portman Road dressing-room.

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It all concerns the chant that rises from the home end each time Town score the opening goal. Delivering an ironic riposte to being mocked as country cousins since their return to the top flight, Town fans hit back by singing "1-0 to the tractor boys."

They have had plenty of chance to practise it so far this season, although not, sadly, on Saturday. The Ipswich captain Matt Holland has given the chant his full endorsement, but it appears that not every member of the team is happy with the image it portrays.

Jim Magilton cannot wait for it to stop. "It conjures up images of carrot- crunching yokels coming out of the tunnel with straw stuck between their teeth," the Northern Ireland international said. "It drives us mad. The sooner we lose it the better."

Holland, however, thinks his team-mates should be a little less precious and rejoice in the club's rural roots. "It makes me smile every time I hear it," he said. "Mainly because it means we are in front and hopefully heading for three points. Apart from that, the `tractor boys' image is representative of this area and we should be proud of it. The more fans who join in the better, so far as I am concerned."

Such words will not go down well with Magilton, who might be advised not to look too closely at the away fans when Ipswich take on Chelsea in the capital next month. A significant number, it is rumoured, are planning to turn up dressed as farmers.

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