'The badge doesn’t mean anything to me anymore' - Matheson on his Norwich connections and excitement to play for Ipswich
- Credit: ITFC
New Ipswich Town signing Luke Matheson could not be more excited to pull on an Ipswich Town shirt despite his family ties to rivals Norwich City.
The 18-year-old signed for the Blues on deadline day and could potentially make his debut against Blackpool tomorrow, having previously revealed he grew up as a fan of the Canaries.
His link to Norfolk comes through his father, Rob, but Matheson was quick to stress he has never been a hardcore Norwich fan, has never watched a game at Carrow Road and is extremely proud to wear the Ipswich Town badge after joining from Wolves until the end of the season.
He said: “My dad’s born and raised in Norfolk and grew up a Norwich fan, so as a boy I grew up looking up to him in everything he’s ever done, be that in football, out of football or the little things like how he treats my mum.
“Him being a Norwich fan was just me being a young boy, wanting to be my dad, but since my football career started kicking on the whole Norwich fan thing started to deteriorate.
“I can’t remember the last time I turned my phone on to check a Norwich line-up or the Norwich score and the badge doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. That’s because of my career, I think.
“I’ve not watched a game at Carrow Road. I was there once for a ‘meet the players’ kind of thing when I was five or six but I’ve never watched a game there. I was never a super fan with a season ticket or anything like that.
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“I’m so happy to be here now and to wear the Ipswich badge on the front of my shirt and I want to give 100% effort in every game and every training session to this badge. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve got here.”
When asked what his dad made of the move, to his club’s local rivals, Matheson said: “He’s over the moon for me.
“I phoned him up to tell him I had the chance to go on loan and asked him to guess where. The first club he guessed was Rochdale, the second was Tranmere because that’s where my mum and her side of the family are from.
“Then I told him it was Ipswich and he literally just laughed and told me he was over the moon for me. His first words were ‘that’s a great move for you Luke because they’re pushing for promotion and will give you a difference experience to being at Rochdale and fighting to stay up’.
“I’m his son and I’m sure he’ll say that blood comes before any kind of fandom.”
Matheson drove through the night on Monday as he made the move from the Black Country to Suffolk and is settling in well ahead of what he hopes is a first appearance at Portman Road.
“I’ve absolutely loved it so far and there’s been some great help from players like Cole Skuse and Luke Chambers,” he said.
“I had some calls from some of the players the night I signed just checking how my journey was going at about 11.30pm, so little things like that can make you feel so at home and so welcome. Those things mean a lot to an 18-year-old coming into a new environment.
“I feel like I’m ready to play and I pride myself on not letting match fitness go, even in the off season.
“I can’t wait to play at Portman Road. It’s a beautiful stadium. Playing there without fans in a first-team game is going to be very weird.
“Normally you would thrive off the crowd so it will be weird not to have that.”
Matheson hopes his style of play will fit perfectly into the current Ipswich side, as he looks to get up and down the right flank.
“I’ve sat down with the gaffer and he’s told me about the Ipswich way and how we play, so I’m getting to grips with that,” he said.
“He told me that, first of all, it’s very similar to what I was doing at Rochdale. He asked me to give him the work ethic and enthusiasm then I will fit right in.
“We spoke about tactics and specifics as well and it’s about finding a balance of when to get forward and when to stay back. I’m more than happy to get running up and down that right side.”