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[Blog] Good Ideas But Will They Last?: Plus A Word On Ticket Prices
Written by TimS on Sunday, 4th Dec 2011 20:23

I suppose that Town are in another crisis. The first time that I wrote for TWTD was in the post-play-off crisis of 2005. I was so incensed by the sale of Town’s then-best players that I wasted a university afternoon writing an essay about what I thought had gone wrong at Portman Road.

Crises seem to happen about twice a season during the last ten years. I guess that some people would believe that the club has been in permanent crisis since that May 2002 day when we fell out of the Premiership.

When you are away from Suffolk, in the BBC Spotlight area of the UK, you rely on your Town news via the net, and the odd snatched TV or radio game. You make the effort to get to the away games near to your local area (which is difficult in the South-West - is Southampton local?) and the odd home game when you are ‘back in the patch.’

However, in times like this, you are quite pleased to be away from Suffolk so you do not have to listen to the moans and groans on the local phone-ins and the streets. There is a limit to what you can take.

When Town are on one of their losing runs, the misery is in your face all the while. Walk down Princes Street, turning to your left, and you will see the stage where the latest defeat had taken place last Saturday. Delivery vans move in and out of the ground. People are in the shop, and you start to wonder whether you are over-reacting and does anyone really care.

Reading the very latest blogs on this site gives me heart that people are thinking further about this club, other than why we are not knocking on the door of automatic promotion to the Premiership. Formations on the park are one thing, and the name of the manager is another thing, but there are big issues at Ipswich Town Football Club on and off the pitch. Here are a few thoughts and reactions to what people are saying.

Off the pitch, I can not argue with the fact that prices are too expensive at Portman Road whether you are a season ticket holder of a casual visitor. I appreciate that going to the football is not a cheap activity but to expect someone to pay £34 to sit in a semi-empty stadium with the feeling that the club regards you as a gullible guest at a dull dinner party, which has been hyped up beyond all belief by the local media? Surely the club are having a laugh.

There are not remotely enough ticket deals or offers. I lived in the West Midlands for four years, and football seemed to be unbelievably cheap at the local Premiership grounds. It felt a bit embarrassing when you would be watching Aston Villa, in the Martin O’Neill years, at virtually half the price of the ticket on that same Saturday to watch Town versus some random Championship team.

Most of the Midlands teams would be holding some deal each weekend. They seemed to want you to spent your Saturday afternoon at their club. I have never felt remotely wanted by my club in recent years. I know season ticket holders who feel the same.

Being away from Suffolk, it is difficult to gauge the mood leading up to the game. You can read the feel good pieces from the Town website or from local media outlets. It is probable that I will come across a carefully positioned piece that suggests that fans are fantastic, everyone is pulling in the right direction, Paul Jewell has landed his dream job in Suffolk and Marcus Evans can not believe his luck in having the privilege in bank-rolling Ipswich Town Football Club.

There may be a player who talks about how playing for Ipswich has made his life complete. This is all very feel good stuff but I would suggest that supporters want a bit more meat than this, preferably on the pitch; particularly after 10 years of weekly false dawns in the Championship.

After paying my £34 for a ticket, and apologetically entering the ground at 2.30 or 2.45pm on a Saturday afternoon, in the warm glow that Lee Bowyer can not think of anything better than playing for Town, I will sit down and watch the game.

Unless you are probably forty years-plus, you will not remember the Robson years, but you will probably be told about them. Any football club should be proud of their history, and I like to have a bit of a sense of pride that Town did win the FA Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1981.

I guess that the idea of the Ipswich way stems from those days, and I have no problem with whatever that way means. However, I also remember the same comments from fellow Town fans ‘ back in the day’ that expressed frustration that the passing game was not bringing many results and creating endless frustration that no one would take a shot on goal, unless they were virtually touching the goal line.

Like the greatest Town sides, the passing game was great on the eye when the team played well. If whoever future Town manager, is schooled in the Ipswich way, I would hope that fans would still be supportive of their team even in times of trouble, when results or ‘luck’ is not going their way.

Then there is the youth issue. I agree that there is nothing better to see a youth team player breaking into the first team. We have seen a few down the years. Some of them move away from Portman Road to bigger things. Back in the hills of South West of England, it seems that many of the local sides have an ex-Town youngster in their squad.

Whilst I reflect on why so few of the victorious 2005 FA Youth Cup squad did not really do that much following that cup win, which seems ages ago, I also hope that Town fans give the youth players a chance when they break into the first team squad, if the club suddenly taken a view to focus on the development and nurturing of youth players.

If that was ever possible, football is now becoming a case of total dependence on what happens on a Saturday afternoon. One defeat equals total despair. Two defeats equal utter misery. Three defeats equal pointed and searching questions linked to the survival of the manager and the chairman. Six or seven defeats equal club meltdown.

Being a Championship team in a league that, despite the hype, is desperately ordinary on too many occasions can sap most people’s emotions. If the answer to everyone’s problems is for Town to return to be a team focusing on youth playing a passing game, I would be happy, but I would hope that fans would stay with that philosophy. There are also more fundamental problems at the club that need to be resolved.

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

olimar added 09:11 - Dec 5
Good blog generally about the way the club is being viewed these days.

I agree that ticketing, both matchday and season tickets, are becoming unsustainable for many fans these days.

But Im not sure about the suggestions that you could buy a Villa ticket for virtually half the price of an ITFC ticket?

As I understand it, the club are only allowed to hold a ticket promotion on a couple of occasions every season. Not sure if thats different in the premier league or not.
Certainly, not sure a comparison with a £34 ITFC ticket is really fair- I just looked up and tickets for the game with Derby in a fortnight are from £26. I bet any cheap tickets at Aston Villa are in their cheap areas too.

llewej_tuo added 14:12 - Dec 5

Facefacts added 15:21 - Dec 5
I sympathise. I think your view is shared by quite a few people on TWTD, but sites like this are not always representative of all supporters. When I feel down about this football club it sometimes has something to do with the way I feel about myself. I was at the Forest game recently and really got back into things, even though we threw away the 3 points. My local away game is Peterborough, but fortunately I gave that one a miss. So get along to your nearest away game, if you are exiled away from Suffolk, and sing your heart out for the lads. You will probably be first to post a real match report, even though I will have to skim through about 7 pages of 'Jewell out' and 'it sounded on the commentary as ifs' before I get to read it.

I saw a reminder that it was 17 years since we lost 7 in a row. At the time I was going to every game and I never regretted it, although it hurt, of course it did. Ticket prices were more affordable although still not cheap, and I think that was the season we first beat Liverpool at Anfield, 1-0, with a superb goal by Adam Tanner. I can still remember the local Liverpool radio station on the way out of Liverpool moaning their lot and not a word about any of our players, and they certainly did not know who scored our goal - I think 'our own former no. 9' David Johnson was commentating with some other ex boot roomer like Ian Rush. You just have to search harder for the crumbs of comfort. If you support this club, you support it for life.

Listening to the cup draw on Sunday, I was still hoping as I do every season we would get Norwich at Carrow Road, memories of Hospital Cup and when there was a proper edge to the atmosphere of derbies. Just stay positive. I think Paul Jewell should go, but he probably won't. He has no idea how to turn things round. There are no ideas left. Assuming he is staying, we need the combination of a good performance and some good luck to get us back to winning ways. Stick to the first eleven, stop making 3 subs at half time. No one in their right mind does that, except a clown playing to the crowd.

I would go to Hull if I could afford it, as the train is good from Peterborough, but times are hard, financially speaking. Will just have to see the 20 seconds of highlights on ITV and hope for the best. Don't give up. I get your point about the atmosphere and half empty stadia, but were you at the Arsenal semi final first leg, less than one season ago? For Fabregas moaning about defensive England 1-0 Spain, remember Ipswich 1-0 Arsenal.

tractorboy2434 added 16:50 - Dec 5
Its not just results is it, we are a boring, ordinary team to watch and there is no excitement, no entertainment, together with the fact that there is no plan, these are all old players on short deals, they are not red wine, they will not get better with time, and time is starting to slip away, we are almost half way through the season and things are not getting better, if he is staying and I think he is then he has to do something different and quickly, he is the manager, he is handsomely rewarded, well start earning your money and quickly !!!
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