|[Blog] Goodbye to the Noughties |
Written by TimS on Monday, 21st Dec 2009 11:27
<i>I cannot believe that it is nearly 10 years since I celebrated Christmas 1999 with a home game versus Stockport. In the build-up to Millennium Eve, it was difficult to persuade a good friend that a trip to Portman Road on a cold Bank Holiday Tuesday afternoon was worth the money. </i>
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Ten years have passed and I remain unsure whether that Nationwide Division One showdown between Town and Stockport was worth the effort of getting up from the sofa, away from the mince pies, turkey leftovers, the hell of the post-Christmas sales or an afternoon movie. I cannot remember much about the action but I blame the amnesia on a post-Christmas late teenage haze.
However, I do know that this game involved my first ever trip into the Churchmans Stand. Until that game, I had been a strict Pioneer Stand man but I wanted a change. The friend and myself were sitting directly behind the goal nets with the hope that there would be an <i>Evening Star</i> photograph of our emotional goal celebration in the Wednesday morning papers. In those days, we were obsessed with getting onto the Anglia TV sports round-up or in the local newspapers.
The history books talk about an open game with lots of exciting chances, but the action against Stockport did not seem to register with us. We were caught up in a mixture of play-off fever and breathless preparation for our trip to London for Millennium Eve. It was a game that came and went like many in the subsequent ten years.
The jury is surely out whether this decade was one of progress for Town and I am unsure whether there can be a celebratory DVD which can be cut from the off and on the pitch action. I would suggest that the first full season of this decade defined the next nine years in a positive and a negative way. There was the trip to Wembley in May 2000. A trip up the Wembley Way on that bright Bank Holiday Monday lunchtime made me feel that this was my time to have a moment in the sun.
For years, I had been forced to watch the 1978 FA Cup videos and orange-tinged footage of Town fans in brown flares, tank tops and big blue and white rosettes, and being told about the glory years from every relative who was there in the seventies. I felt that the 2000/01 season was my generation’s chance to enjoy a bit of success that our parents and grandparents enjoyed in the earlier decades. Whilst living up in the north-west of England during the 2000/01 season, I took advantage of catching Town at the great Premiership grounds across the Granada region.
My greatest game of the decade was at Anfield on Sunday 10th December 2000 when Marcus Stewart’s goal sent the Kop into deathly silence. I had never believed that Town would have got anything from Anfield, and I was hysterical at the final whistle. The world turned into a blur. Town had beaten one of the world’s legendary football teams on their own patch in Merseyside. I spent the return journey in a first class carriage continually screaming and haranguing a scared young train passenger about how my Town were going to break into the Champions League. My friends were corpsing with laughter.
Season two in the Premier League was less exciting and the consequences are still being felt at the club. Two home games against Derby and Sunderland stick in my mind for good reasons but the new North Stand opened in the winter rain against Bolton. Due to the lack of a roof for the new North Stand, I was clad in a special (and probably one-off) Ipswich Town poncho, which did not really do what it said on the packet.
The miserable action on that dank Sunday afternoon caused my mind to drift away to university study for the first ever time at Portman Road. The game stuttered to a 2-1 defeat and a miserable cameo by Ulrich Le Pen. For the first time throughout the season, I had to cope with this idea which was constantly trotted out in the local media that Town were just unlucky and it was just a case of luck to help Town up the table. Luck never came during that season and blame was apportioned to a range of people from the chairman down to the youngest youth player.
Luck was not the case in the return leg at the Reebok Stadium in April 2002. I opted to ‘enjoy’ a 4-1 defeat at the hands of a Bolton side and the artistry of Freddie Bobic, over the chance of tickets to the Grand National at Aintree. For not the first time in the decade, whilst standing on the windswept platforms of Horwich Parkway station, I realised that I chosen the wrong option to catch Town on a Saturday afternoon instead of another activity.
The Burley Years ended soon afterwards. After years of persuasion, I had managed to convince my sceptical sister that football was worth a try on a Saturday afternoon. She was going through a period when she wanted to align herself with Ipswich Town Football Club as a statement of her Suffolk identity. We chose the home game against Derby on 28th September 2002. It was Burley’s last home game as Ipswich manager, and it was insipid stuff. Seven years have passed and she is yet to return to another Ipswich game.
My relationship with Town began to change around 2002. Living away from Suffolk for long periods of time meant that regular trips to Portman Road were out of the question, and I was watching away action across the UK and especially in the Midlands. Being away from the region kept me away from the virtual financial meltdown of the club around 2003. I guess that no one will ever know how Ipswich Town Football Club came to ending up in the football club crematorium alongside the grave of Bradford Park Avenue.
History has looked more kindly on Joe Royle’s management of Town. Maybe some fans took our two play-off positions as the least expected for a team that was believed to be a Premiership outfit in all but name. However, these achievements were remarkable considering the state of the club on and off the pitch. There were some great games during those years and great trips across the UK to catch Town in action. Home games against Sunderland and West Brom around 2004 stick in my mind for atmosphere and action.
Low points came at Turf Moor against Burnley in February 2004 when I spent the first half of a 4-2 defeat in the toilets due to a dodgy meat and potato pie, and the 2005 play-off defeat. Whilst watching the game in a local Leicester pub, a vicious row broke out between a member of our party and the landlord, and one girl tried to cheer me up with that night’s episode of <i>Celebrity Love Island</I> which followed the game. I learnt that rubbish reality TV never works when your team has lost in the play-offs.
I began to recognise that the 2000 play-off final experience may not be repeated for a while during the summer of 2005 when the exodus of players seemed to shock even the most level-headed of supporters at Portman Road. It seemed that some of the best players were heading out of the team for the sake of financial reasons, and there was nothing that the fans could do about it.
The replacements tried their best but a depressing afternoon at Luton on April Fool’s Day in 2006, told me that the club was sinking into mid-table. Kenilworth Road was the most bizarre ground that I ever visited during the decade. The ground had some atmosphere and I appreciate that I am not the shortest of people, but it was uncomfortable to spend 90 minutes in a near foetal position with someone’s back virtually in my chest.
My own personal jury is out on the Jim Magilton years, and it is too early to comment on the Roy Keane tenure. The Marcus Evans money has taken the club into uncharted waters. Some fans are still psyched up for the journey that they hope will end in the Premiership, whilst some supporters are struggling to cope with the idea that Town are not the outfit on and off the pitch that was anything like the club in 1978, 1981, or even in 1999 when I was enjoying that game against Stockport.
On some days, I struggle to accept that the club has changed from the Bobby Robson years. On some days, I am excited for this new dawn that everyone has been promising since the Marcus Evans money rolled in and Keane became manager in April 2009.
2009 has been defined by the death of Sir Bobby in the summer. Watching from the vacuous warehouse of a Birmingham sports bar on the 26th September, my male pride just about managed the hold back the tears from my friends whilst fellow Town fans were singing <i>My Way</i> around Portman Road.
These conflicting emotions about the past and the present will probably continue for the next decade. However, it will be a brave man to guess what will be Ipswich Town Football Club on Saturday 28th December 2019. Will we be playing Stockport again as the 2020s begin?
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|Marshalls_Mullet added 11:42 - Dec 21|
Too much irrelevant detail.
"After years of persuasion, I had managed to convince my sceptical sister that football was worth a try on a Saturday afternoon. She was going through a period when she wanted to align herself with Ipswich Town Football Club as a statement of her Suffolk identity. "
These blogs seem to be getting more and more flowery.
|im_marcacus added 13:30 - Dec 21|
Thanks for that editorial input Mullet, but blogs are opinion pieces, not hard-hitting journalism...
|davray9 added 13:33 - Dec 21|
I think several points raised give this poor lad away. Even considering a trip to Aintree over the town...no contest. Then bemoaning the fact that as the team had lost that "I had chosen the wrong activity" indicates a !"fan" with little moral fibre, missing the whole point of belonging and support. Also "Corpsing with laughter" whilst behaving like a teenage brat in "first Class" on the train. Now don't get me wrong, as the West Stand lower started many a song for the North Stand...and Churchmans on their day could raise a tune or two. But I suspect TimS that you may have missed out on the REAL experiences and sacrifice that "the many" supporters have witnessed, and reside with "the Few" Pioneer old moaners complete with Blanket, flask and Daily Mail.
That said it's not Personal, it's a general observation.. so it includes you. No one can deny their heritage, and I think the style and content of the article gives an interesting depiction of you as a whole.
So to summarise...I would like to hear what situations, trials and tribulations fans have been through to get to games etc. A recent experience for me was the news that Bobby Robson had passed away on 31st July 2009..My Car was in the local gagrage being "fixed" and ther was also a train strike. Undaunted i caught four seperate buses (to Newmarket...where i DIDN'T consider stopping at the races!!. Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, and finaly, Ipswich) over a distance of 60 miles and four hours travel, I had to get to the friendly with Real Valladolid...I had to Pay my respects to the Boss.
That, and many more stories of triumph over adversity,(I had to spend the night stranded at Norwich Train station After the recent 0-0 against Peterborough) is why I feel more connected with the club than someone who would be more dissapointed at missing the boat race!!
Keep Supporting in your own way TimS...but be aware that the vast majority of us may not relate to your seemingly comfortable lifestyle. Therefore you may experience a fair ammount of criticism. Stories please everyone! on how you follow the Boys...UP THE TOWN!
|olimar added 14:05 - Dec 21|
Being delighted at marcus stewarts goal at Liverpool, or dissapointed about our 4-1 loss at Bolton, or the selling of players during admin, arent really adding anything.
From memory, that game v Stockport was a 1-0 win (scowcroft), but was memorable for the outstanding double save from a Stockport penalty which Wright made. I remember Nationwide ran a competition for all-time greatest town save not long afterwards. It was the winner. Seems strange such an item was missed.
|ITFC1985 added 14:07 - Dec 21|
that save was awesome!!! infact i remeber that more than the 1-0 victory lol!!!
|Marshalls_Mullet added 15:43 - Dec 21|
That was my point exactly.
|tractordamage added 15:44 - Dec 21|
Hopefully it would be you who receives the criticism due to being such a class bigot. Your discrimination and stereotyping is very offensive. Do you enjoy victimising law-abiding sections of society?
As you victimise people with no choice over their background, your mindset is that of a racist. Do have tendencies towards that too?
You seem to have adopted the 'half set' of morals....Daily Mirror-style. Try to adopt the full set. It'll make you look mentally-developed and intelligent.
You may be right...there may be fellow bigots out there like you, with an inferiority complex to satisfy...But let's hope not!
Up The Town....Down with the backward bigots.
|EastKentBlue added 15:44 - Dec 21|
Olimar - I maybe wrong but I'm sure the double save was against Grimsby first game of the season not sure which season...
In regards to the blog I guess the hardest thing for Town fans is we waited patiently and excitedly as Burley moulded a team that gave us 3-4 brilliant and exciting seasons. Then with relegation the team disbanded so quickly but the expectation has remained - the current team is a very long way off in style and substance from the 00/01 squad and I believe one of the reasons why the atmosphere has struggled at PR of late.
Hopefully under Keane we can recapture the 'glory' season!!
|davray9 added 16:25 - Dec 21|
dear oh dear..tractor damage + tar + brush.
|fransfison added 16:49 - Dec 21|
"thought we would never win at anfield"??
We won 8 years earlier when a coke addled withamite cracked a left footer in the top corner.
Adam tanner-now leans on a shovel doing tarmacing!
|tractorlowrie added 17:19 - Dec 21|
Daveray9... You pompous prick. What is it with fans thinking they are better than any other fan just because they did this to get to a game or have been to this many blah blah blah. Fair play to TimS and any other bloggers for putting the effort in to try and entertain the rest of us.
Oh and Daveray9, are you going to point to the fact that youve posted more times than me on this site, making your judgement morally superior to mine, thus justifying your bigotted opinions in your own small mind?
|tractordamage added 17:22 - Dec 21|
You usually have to justify the use of rent-a-quotes....making sense is an important aspect of conversation.
Did you really just try to stereotype me...without ever knowing me?!
Bigotry is definitely your main talent.
|tractordamage added 18:09 - Dec 21|
It would be useful to know the precise rules you're setting for Ipswich fans.
1) If you get old.....you're not allowed to support them (as you'll probably be in the Pioneer: the natural ageing-process means too much noise is less and less pleasant and the Pioneer is a quieter stand). [sigh] Even my seven-year-old nephew can grasp this issue about ageing and environment. My family has supported Town for 80 years. How do I tell the elderly diehard fans in my family about your new ageist rules? ("Hey grandad, there's this bigot with a fraction of your time as a Town supporter who's got something to say to you"...over to you then Davray) When are we all required to retire as a fan...so you can have the segregated society you promote so aggressively?
2) If you've earnt money - or achieved a better future for your family - by working hard.....you're not allowed to support Ipswich Town: Davray will be unable to cope with his own character deficiencies and victimise you. To avoid such unjustified bigotry, it's best to give up supporting the team, yep?
Have you had that epiphany as to who you really are yet? Of course not: You'll be defending your backwardness till the end with childish insults and rent-a-quotes. Realisation of your bigotry would be too brave and mature, delicate pride gets in the way, yes?.....or shall we assume your mindset has no powers of self-analysis.
|peterleeblue added 21:41 - Dec 21|
tractor damage - Your family have supported the Town for 80 years- Thats a worry for me. I started the trend in 1976 and my kids are Sunderland fans as I now live 8 miles from said City (support your local club and all that). So it looks like my families ITFC connection will start and end with me. Unless of course my kids move away and I can indoctrinate their children. Pointless post from me I suppose but I simply had never thought of it that way!!
|moomoosereni added 23:12 - Dec 21|
Fair play for writing a blog worth putting up.
The convo on what makes you a true fan or not? Simply not answerable in some ways. Everyones opinion differs from the next.
I always have and always will be a Town Fan. Over the recent years due to my job I have seen far fewer games then when in college and boring office jobs etc! But any chance I get, I go. As far as I am concerned I am still a good Town fan.
I sometimes feel that the people who have the harsh opinions (davray perhaps) just sometimes lose touch with their fellow supporters. They think that their value of opinion is higher because they get to every game and see every minute. Not true.
My great Uncle was a season ticket holder at Pompey for over 50 years before passing away. He sat with different fans week in week out. He never once complained at the casual fan who may only attend a certain amount of games a season. The fact there was a bum on the seat at his beloved club was all he wanted to see. He preferred a full crowd, even if 10,000 were "casual" fans, than sitting in a half empty stadium with a bunch of misery guts!
Since he and my grandad (also a huge pompey fan) passed away not so long ago, me and the family said we would always follow Pompey and keep it in the family so to speak. If me following one club and supporting my boyhood club too means I'm less of a Town fan, so be it.
But Davray remember this, those old men you are so negative about being at your perfect football games, are the ones who kept our club alive in some respects. They know more history of our club than any modern day fan, and they watched football when it was at it's truest and purest. They passed on to their sons, grandsons etc that Ipswich was the club to support. How did you become a Town fan? How old were you when you first went to a game and who took you?
COYB, merry xmas to all you town fans out there, including you Davray, your still a town fan none the less!
Oh and just in case anyone asks, whenever Town play Pompey, I will always be a Tractor Boy! No question!
|davray9 added 00:26 - Dec 22|
moomoosereni... good post.Yes I remember. Happy xmas.
|StavangerBlue added 10:06 - Dec 22|
Haven't read all the comments but I was under the impression that Town had only won once at Anfield.
The only goal of the game coming from Adam Tanner's left foot.
|reusersfreekicks added 10:06 - Dec 22|
Good blog. Tedious and pointless criticisms.
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|tractordamage added 18:54 - Dec 22|
peterleeblue - Not a pointless post at all! My brother and I have finally won the battle to convert my nephews from tedious Man Utd fans to solely Ipswich. It wasn't too difficult...we explained how Man U fans are treated socially (the always correct assumption that they know nothing, live miles away and thinking latching onto to others success will make up for their insecurities). Fortunately they're talented kids anyway, so they won't need Man U to mask their their own flaws. Sunderland is a 'proper' club though, and they live there so they're not doing anything wrong! Damn. We need 'em.
Davray - You delivered that predictable cowardice of....'avoiding justifying ignorant opinions by pretending it never happened, then replying to the most merciful reaction'...has self pity kicked in? A form of denial. All we wanted is for you to show the same fairness. How ironic.
Won a fiver from the girlfriend though for predicting it: you're more of a stereotype than you think. Disappointing. Not such the 'big man' now, eh?
If you cannot justify or answer for your bigotries, why maintain them? Try to discard embarrassing inherited attitudes like this. Try to move up a level in your biased morals. You said everyone would criticise Tim's article because of his background. Who actually got criticised in the end? You or him?
As the saying goes - "Don't let your mouth write cheques........that your butt can't cash"
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