|0-0 Not the End of the World?|
Written by TimS on Sunday, 24th Feb 2013 10:52
I cannot believe that it is just over four months since I whinged on a dark cold Monday night about the direction of this football club.
OK, I was feeling a bit depressed. The cold, dank and dark weather down in Devon did not help. No one in the South West of England, apart from the odd Town fan down in these parts, seems to particularly care about this Town season. Work colleagues showed some muted tea and sympathy, but I was secretly further angry by a web comment to my November article that Town’s dreary and wretched season was 'not the end of the world'.
Based so far away from Ipswich, watching my club tread quick sand on the other side of the UK is not easy. OK, we are not talking about a credit downgrading, the war on terror, or the Eurozone crisis, but if you have a passion for a football club, and for Ipswich as a town, you do want to see the club do well rather than being choked in a gag of relegation and stagnation.
Maybe I was not around in the Robson years, and I remain totally jealous that my parents' generation could park up on Hawthorn Drive and go to an actual game against Real Madrid at Portman Road rather than via a computer game.
You will be pleased to know that it is still cold in Devon this Saturday night and I can imagine how life would have been like this afternoon in the cold winds of the Huddersfield’s Galpharm/John Smith's/Alfred McAlpine stadium. I have friends in the local area and life can be bleak on so many different levels when the winds are blowing across the Yorkshire Dales.
The trip back along the M62, M1 and A14 will probably be long and boring, whilst you wonder whether an afternoon of sofa hunting in one of those shops’ seemingly never-ending sales would have been a better use of your time.
I used to often wonder whether you can really be an Ipswich Town fan until you have gone to an East Anglian Derby. I now believe that you can only be a Town fan after you have endured a 0-0 on a cold afternoon, when it is obvious that the game will be 0-0 after one minute of action, or the first tackle.
Town v Leicester in February 2007, Town v Burnley in December 2008, Wolves v Town in March 2009 and Leeds v Town in March 2011 spring to mind. Those sorts of games become a chance to be cleaning up your mobile, changing your screensaver, getting rid of texts and clearing your call history.
You also know that it has been a bad 0-0 game when you have read the matchday programme after 10 minutes, and start to count the rivets in the stadium roof opposite your plastic bucket seat. You play cloud patterns in the sky and you want to ‘sing up for the lads,’ but your voice has gone to sleep.
I may be reading too much into one point and I suppose that one point is better than nothing. That one point gained in the Yorkshire winds may be very important come high noon at Burnley in May, but could it have been three.
Are Town now at the desperate stage where 0-0 v Huddersfield is seen as something positive? I then read that our manager is happy with a point, and if he is happy than I should be happy. Maybe I should be happy! Away from Suffolk, I am reading the local media websites to be told of a ‘dogs of war’ approach, the captain tells me that Town must be ruthless, someone called ‘Chops’ (formally known as Chopra) is praised for conquering his demons with his one goal against Blackpool and being a ‘character’ in the dressing room.
The high command of Town are talking about improving the matchday experience and catering ‘offering’ at Portman Road which I should be happy about because the chance to potentially watch Bournemouth, Carlisle United or Scunthorpe in the league will be made much more pleasurable with a better meat pie and more fizz in my Coca Cola. There is also a youngster coming from Manchester United on loan (but have we not been here before with United loanees?)
I appreciate that not everyone is a football fan in Suffolk, and Town potentially dropping to League One does not mean that the Ipswich Town will be wiped off the face of the earth. However, think back to those crazy times nearly 13 years (yes, 13 years ago) when Town were knocking on the Premiership door and I was in the Buttermarket in the days when there was sun and temperatures above four degrees Celsius. There was a buzz whether you were a football fan or not.
In 2000, you walked around the town in your tangerine away strip with a certain swagger and pride, making knowing nods to other Town fans, who smiled back. In 2013, you can walk around the town in your Town shirt, and you will probably get an offer of street based therapy or get arrested for nodding at strangers.
The non-football fans of Suffolk will probably not care about the 0-0 against Huddersfield, and they will probably not even read this article, but I want Town to stay in the Championship. However, I still want a bit more honesty from the club in terms of strategy for the short term and the long term, not just PR fluff, dogs of ‘war,’ a catering review and talk about ‘characters’ in the dressing room. Then I will have less to worry about.
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Most Town fans who have seen the EFL Team of the Year will be scratching their heads wondering how the brilliant Bart was overlooked, but spare a thought for Mick McCarthy who probably had someone else in mind for the top honour.