Dear National Media - brilliant post by Town fan

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Dear National Media - brilliant post by Town fan

Post by hallamblue » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:48 pm

You are no doubt already in the process of finding the most fitting words for the imminent obituary of Ipswich Town.

An historic and wonderful football club, one that has tasted European and domestic glory, is amongst a handful of clubs that have been ever presents in the top half of the English league pyramid over the last half century.

Even the European powerhouse that is Manchester City were recently of the third tier, as were Nottingham Forest, a continental giant themselves once upon a time. Look at the list of those eight or so clubs that have failed to drop down into what is now League One over that time and you will see that we are by far and away the smallest club in there.

Instead of celebrating our achievements such as punching well above our weight consistently for so long, we will instead be taunted with the same five words that have lazily been bandied about by the media this season. Careful What You Wish For.

I’ve thought long and hard on these words and the thought of relegation that once scared the life out of me, now oddly excites me. I’m starting to think that relegation just might be the closest thing to what I actually wished for.

You see, the football that I grew up and loved is unrecognisable from the game nowadays, summed up poetically by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa refusing to be substituted in the Carabao Cup Final on Sunday. The thing about supporting a club whose greatest days are behind them is that you have a far greater affinity for days gone by than perhaps fans of clubs like Bournemouth, whose memories are filled with terrible players letting their team down at terrible stadiums, rather than the wonderful times they are currently enjoying.

Ipswich Town had some of the finest players in the world in the 1970’s, players that still tell stories about going into Bobby Robson’s office for a pay rise after being one of the standout players in a successful season, only to come out thinking they were lucky to remain on their current wage. We’ve gone from that to players paid ten times what the manager is, able to undermine their own managers with ease.

You see the thing that Ipswich fans are nostalgic about and the things we remember most fondly are the likes of George Burley, Kevin Beattie, John Wark and Alan Brazil developing from mere children at the club to world class performers. Passing football, goals, entertainment, trophies, dreams of success and developing our own. Those are the things of which we are rightly proud of and those are the things that we, well at least I anyway, dream of.

There is no doubt at all that Mick McCarthy did a phenomenal job in the first half of his near six year reign at Portman Road. It was never pretty, but we were hard to beat, had an incredible team spirit and rose from relegation certainties to Premier League hopefuls. In the space of a couple of years we had gone from staring into the abyss of the third tier to hammering promotion rivals Brentford away at Christmas to rise to the top of the table.

Anyone who suggests Mick did not work wonders in those early days is allowing the events that followed to corrupt the facts. But there can equally be no denying that in the second half of his time in charge of Town that many things deteriorated both on and off the pitch, a large proportion of which was his doing.

Almost every manager receives criticism from a small minority of fans, a lot of it unjustified. Almost every manager reacts with professionalism and dignity and gets on with the job in hand. During the most dire, turgid and uninspiring football that I have ever seen Mick continued to get let off very easy on the basis that we all understood that resources were few and far between and that we were operating on one of the smaller Championship budgets.

When results were arriving there were few that could argue with the style of play being something of ‘needs must’ given our inability to go out and pay the sort of big bucks that ‘bums off seats’ players command. But once the results started to dry up, the tension between the fans and Mick grew and this evolved into not only shutting up shop at home to the top teams in the division, but playing eight defence minded players at home to teams in the relegation zone, who had not picked up an away point all season.

With poor results and football that was almost unwatchable, including multiple runs of home matches without scoring and waiting until the 60th or 70th minute to have an effort on goal becoming a frequent occurrence, the patience of some supporters finally wore thin. This small fire that had started to burn was regularly exacerbated by McCarthy’s comments and snide digs at the fans. A man whose incredible man management had galvanised the entire club and caused us to fall in love with him, was telling supporters that if we sang for a player to come on he was less likely to involve them, frequently failing to recognise that it was a tiny percentage of supporters acting like ‘numbskulls’ or choosing to use an 87th minute goal at our deadly rivals, which put us in front, as an opportunity to tell his own fans to ‘f*** off’.

The marriage of Mick McCarthy and Ipswich Town can be split into the early years where every day was an adventure, we fell in love, we were constantly excited and hopeful for the future and the latter years, where we felt out of love, constantly fought with each other and stayed together a lot longer than should really have been the case.

Just because we entered into a new relationship, that ended badly and abruptly, doesn’t mean we made the wrong choice to part ways with Mick. The failure to get it right the next time around has no bearing on the validity of the earlier decision to part ways.

Which brings me back to what did I wish for?

The Premier League honestly doesn’t appeal to me. In 1993 Forest went up and finished 3rd and in 2000 we went up and finished 5th. I think that Wolves (in 8th) may become only the third or fourth team in 25 or so years to get promoted and finish in the top 8 – I have a feeling that Blackburn might have done something similar as well.

The most depressing time I had supporting Town was in 2002 when we got relegated with big name players who’d come in on big salaries, in some case double their team mates who got us promoted, helping to rip the soul of the club apart. Fast forward a decade and players like Michael Chopra, Jimmy Bullard (the permanent signing incarnation) and many others came in with big names, took a huge amount of money and added barely anything to the cause.

Everything I hate about modern football is summed up by the Premier League. The same six teams have a chance of winning things and that’s about it, bar a once in a million years occurrence like the Leicester City fairy-tale. I can honestly say that I’m not desperate to see an entire team of players most of us have never heard of come in on eye watering money with no consideration for whether it’s Ipswich, Huddersfield, Brighton or West Brom that they are playing for, as long as the wages are right.

Would I like to stay in the Championship? Absolutely, but you know what. After 18 successive seasons here, with three playoff failures, I am actually looking forward to something new.

Whilst not what I’d have thought I’d have wanted, League One represents a real chance for the club to move forward using its own young players, ridding the books of expensive flops, providing a realistic chance of being able to play attractive winning football, having players that can be real match winners in the division and visiting some new stadiums and teams.

The more I think about it the more I am excited. Of course, I could feel very different in 5 years’ time if the novelty has worn off, but somehow I don’t think I will.

In Mick’s final days we were a mid-table side getting 12,000 into the ground according to ticket sales, with no more than 8,000 being inside the stadium. Despite being on course to be one, if not the worst Championship side ever this season, we are getting 16,000 – 18,000 fans supporting the team now, singing for the entire 90 minutes. That should be what you are focusing on. How can a club almost double its support with the worst team most of its fans have ever witnessed?

Almost everything I value about being a supporter of this fine club seems like it really could happen next year. No guarantees, but for the first time in quite a while I am hopeful about the future of my club, when the lazy, uninformed journalist will assume it to be to complete opposite.

I’m realistic enough to know that Ipswich will likely never win another European title. Maybe we will never win another top flight title. But for me, whether it’s the Premier League, Championship or League One, I just want to turn up to watch players trying to win, giving everything for the shirt and if they are one of our own then even better.

After the darkness comes light. So before you run the usual piece about how we’d have never gone down with Mick, ask yourselves why only 8,000 people could be bothered to watch us when we had an outside chance of the playoffs last season and why 18,000 of us are singing our hearts out in the headlights of our lowest league status in near living memory.

What's the real story here? A plucky little club that has achieved success it had no right to, consistently, finally succumbing to what almost every other club not named Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham or Liverpool has, yet its magnificent supporters back the club superbly home and away.

Almost entirely the opposite of what you'll likely say that we hounded out Mick McCarthy. The truth is that never has a group of supporters been more patient with such poor football for so long and this season, never has a group of supporters defied belief in their support of such an awful team.

We may be going down. But we are a wonderful club, a wounded club, finally learning how to be great again.

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Re: Dear National Media - brilliant post by Town fan

Post by hallamblue » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:12 pm

As far as I’m concerned , Mick McCarthy lost the ( then huge) respect I once had for him.

Yes he kept us up when we were cut adrift ( 7 points) . He then drsgged us into the play offs. But in truth after the initial two seasons of his tenure , the remaining four were poor. His reign
essentially papered over the cracks at this Club. Cracks that has done been there for some years . Certainly since Evans has taken control financially, if not before.

But there is light at the end of this long dark tunnel. The man holding the torch is Paul Lambert, who in just a few months had done more to unite this Club with its fan base than Mr McCarthy could even dream of achieving. Paul Lambert will redirect this Great Club from the ashes of McCarthy’s reign , by installing the Clubs indentity again with its fan base, facilitating the development and progression of its academy talent into the senior sude( something that would NEVER have happened under McCarthy). ITFC will have its ethos if attractive football restored to ALL levels of the Club’s teams , providing a seamless transition for its Academy talent from junior to senior teams.

None of this would have happened under Mr Mick McCarthy .

ITFC, ARE careful what they wished for. We wished for a Manager that can communicate with the Owner, the staff, the players, the fans, & the media. A Manager that can install confidence in the owner, staff, players, fans & media. A Manager that can bring through the Clubs academy players, play attractive, attacking football. Bring the fans flocking back to Portman Road, and make that crowd vociferous - why? Because they “ believe”!
Yes Town are going down, but In so many ways we are in a far, far better place under Paul Lambert than we ever were under Mick McCarthy, and Ipswich Town FC WILL return , leaner, better, stronger than it ever was under Mr McCarthy.

#Paul Lambert is a Blue

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Re: Dear National Media - brilliant post by Town fan

Post by Quasar » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:08 am

Love It

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Re: Dear National Media - brilliant post by Town fan

Post by marko69 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:49 am

Certainly like to say “love it” but it takes me three months to read Stephen King-esque novels! Fk me, he’s got a lot to say.

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Re: Dear National Media - brilliant post by Town fan

Post by MasseyFerguson » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:27 pm

Interesting read. A lot of the commentary is very good and the love of the club and its traditions shines through.

Some of it though is self delusional. To suggest that the writer is, in effect, happier that we will be relegated than he would be if we got promoted is not credible. I agree with the sentiments about the malaise of the EPL but I don't believe for one minute that the writer wouldn't want us to be in it.

The writer is excited about League 1 next season. Really? I accept that he may be excited about the team potentially winning matches, but I'm sure he'd prefer we were doing it in the Championship!

I've opined before about the over the top adulation of PL for what, to all intents and purposes, has been a good PR job in my view. We are still not getting results even if the football has improved a little. We are further away from safety today than we were when PL took over. The writer has bought into the PR completely. That's fine... it's just not for me. I'll be converted to PL when we start getting results and only then.

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Re: Dear National Media - brilliant post by Town fan

Post by Ando » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:04 pm

Agree with everything they wrote however it was a long drawn piece that needed pictures to break it up a bit. :D
I no longer fear league 1 but it will hit us like a train when the moment finally arrives. There will be immense pressure on the club to start well, let's hope PL will deliver. I for one think he will.

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Re: Dear National Media - brilliant post by Town fan

Post by Bluemike » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:12 pm

I actually think we will start poorly in League One due to the culture shock effect and the levels of expectation being heavy, I do however think we will come good and take some stopping once in our stride.

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