|Same Old, Same Old, Nothing New, Everything Borrowed, Feeling Blue|
Written by wkj on Thursday, 20th Sep 2012 17:40
Being 29 years of age, I can not claim witness to some of Town's best moments in football, however that has never stopped me from researching intensely since attending my first Town game (a home game vs Birmingham in 1999 or 2000 I do believe) and immediately becoming a proud season ticket holder the following year.
It was a tough yet rewarding job as the following years we firmly asserted ourselves in the play-offs and repeatedly fell just short, until the fateful day in Wembley when Richard Naylor became Pele for the day and many of our blue boys followed the victory with an amazing season there after. The year we were relegated, although I forget who, I remember one of the Sky Sports pundits said confidently, "They'll be back". Sadly for all of us, this wasn't to be
I moved to the USA for eight years the following season where my passion was limited to buying every home shirt and catching radio broadcasts for my results. Though my passion was still in impeccable working order. I recently have returned home to the UK, and it really saddens me to say I am feeling happy to not have bought my season ticket this year following the comedy of errors we have faced as Town supporters.
Like many of us I will always support ITFC no matter what, however, my level of investment to ITFC will only be as good as the level of investment the administration and management of the club show, and right now, spending £10 on a ticket when they run offers for season ticket holders is dubious, and that hurts to admit. Why would such a devoted fan such as myself (and a seemingly growing populous of Town fans) be coming to this conclusion?
Same Old, Same Old
The owner of the club has seemingly impressive business acumen as does his chief executive. They aren't stupid people to have achieved the level of life and business success, it's just clear they seem to be such grand misfits in the general fabric of what our once great club used to boast, local passion.
While the owner, Marcus Evans, wishes not to be in the public eye, I can respect his decision especially if he wants to invest in the club, so for the time being let us take him out of the picture.
Simon Clegg is the voice of the owner and largely agreed to handle many of the roles a director of football would fill. Contracts, sanctioning of transfers, general off the field club management. So this fella, a proven advocate of sport has little understanding of football, little understanding of the club's heritage and as many of the fans feel, little understanding of being a competitive football professional.
Our current gaffer, Paul Jewell, every press story he releases is blandly generic. It is the same old, same old. Excuse after excuse, calls of patience, calls to support the club and very very occasionally, announcements about painting the turnstiles - (those look great by the way Simon, thank you for that).
Lacking though are their roots in Ipswich and passion for the club's heritage. Every press release sounds like a painfully boring business address which isn't the way to win fans and drum up support. Gone are the days when the whole of Portman Road signing "Sheepshanks, get your chequebook out" when Jim Magilton showed us his magic followed by an animated, passionate and thrilled David Sheepshanks waving his chequebook. Instead we have the same boring generic excuses for poor results, lack of transfers and calls for patience.
We are passionate fans who remember our past glories, and many of us feel we are capable of coming close again. We have a strong desire to be in the top flight, and a strong belief we belong there. However, we see nothing new, at all. Except the once HUGE heartbeat of Portman Road getting quieter, and quieter, and resigned to be divided supporter base.
You have the group of fans who do not support the management, and the group of fans who try very hard to fully back the club and its management (until the Wolves game I was one of those). However it seemed that the division was narrowed last night where a growing number of us are starting to voice our concerns about Marcus, Simon and Paul.
Nothing new will come however, with a new manager - not by itself at least. Everything needs to be new, we need a club figurehead who knows football very well indeed and the passion of the community and heritage of the club. One who knows what success means to us, instead of being treated like the collective group of money bags I swear Clegg seems to see us as.
Do we need a new manager though? Or is PJ a victim of Evans/Clegg's new found policy of extreme frugality? Until recently I would have shown sympathy for Paul, however, whether or not he is as big a victim as we are, his media comments and public addresses are quite frankly becoming hard to take seriously, so yes, in the unlikely event Clegg gets out of Town, the manager and his crew has to go to. We need a brand new start top to toe.
As for Marcus Evans, I am not really sure what to say on him, maybe Clegg is as big a victim of Marcus Evans's policies as I claimed Jewell to be a victim of Clegg's. We will never know this as the owner is not going to come out and address us any time soon, and ultimately he is the one who saved us from becoming Portsmouth, which I think many of us can be thankful for.
We have becoming renowned for relying on loan players, and to be fair, George Burley used to do a fair share of this himself, although usually his loans were players he was looking to buy.
However, it's not just loan players which makes me feel we are a career hotel for football players. Jimmy Bullard, Lee Bowyer, Grant Leadbitter, David Norris and Damien Delaney, all players that feel borrowed to me, because they came in, and left for nothing. Clegg and Evans, praised for their business acumen, have squandered so much money it's unreal.
How did stalwarts of business allow this to happen? It is quite macabre to admit this, but entertaining to say the least. And the more it happens the more we will see mercenaries of the game think ITFC is a plum ripe for the picking, or as many of us feel, a pair of plums. So we have to stop this pathetic mentality of borrowing players in their droves.
Yeah, I am sad. Our hated rivals are having the time of their lives in the promised land. While the highlight of our supporting Town has become the fact we skulk about week after week posting out thoughts and feelings, up voting and down voting on comments on the state of affairs at Portman Road.
The feelings of becoming a club anywhere close to what we were, are fading more and more into a pipe dream. However, I could and WOULD still happily attend games, shell out hundreds on season tickets and merchandise, and fiercely support the club through defeat after defeat after defeat, if we had passion and honest hard-talking from the men up top. However, that is not how it is.
The reclusive owner, the strict emotionless 'dad' (Clegg) and the cheeky chappy manager who can't get results (Jewell), none of them can speak straight to us fans, none of us can outline what the long-term plan is, and more worryingly of all, none of them can actually tell us what they realistically think we are capable of, and what they plan to do to get that little bit better.
Until that happens, I will support ITFC accordingly. I will listen to the games on the radio, I will read TWTD and comment, and I will be happy when we win, however, until the men up top treat us fans with honesty, integrity and respect, until the men up top publicly show the passion and desire to improve, until the men up top treat us like a football club who wants to do well instead of a potential tax break and cash cow, I will continue to be reserved in my support for the club, not giving them what they want, money, until they give me what I want, entertainment and passion.
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