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Comparing Three Ipswich Squads - 2007, 2010 and Present
Written by Ole_Pablo_Ole on Saturday, 22nd Sep 2012 01:18

After reading through many of the topics on the site I found myself thinking; how has the Ipswich squad changed over the last five years? Have we really made no progress or even become weaker as a side?

So here is my evaluation of three very different Ipswich squads. The first thing I should make clear is that I used the line-ups from September 2007 and September 2010 to give a fair representation of how each squad was at the start of the season. It wouldn’t be fair to compare the current team to ones from say January 2007 because more loan signings usually become available around that time etc.

Secondly, I will be analysing each squad and the players in terms of their ability at the time, so how good/bad each player has done since that point won’t be considered. The main idea is to directly compare each squad in terms of their prospects that season.

I won’t be going into too much depth, mostly just summarising my opinion of each player. Feel free to just ignore my thoughts, skim through the three squads yourself and make your own judgement.

Here is a list of most of the main players in the squad from September 2007: Neil Alexander, Alex Bruce, Fabian Wilnis, Richard Naylor, Jason De Vos, Dan Harding, Owen Garvan, Slyvan Legwinski, Tommy Miller, Gary Roberts, Jon Walters, Alan Lee, Pablo Couñago.

Alexander was a good goalkeeper and he was in great form for Ipswich in what turned out to be a short spell at the club. Bruce was developing as a centre-back and showed some signs of immaturity by giving away far too many fouls.

Naylor and De Vos were in the decline as footballers and lacking pace but their experience formed a stable centre-back pairing. We didn’t see the best of Dan Harding as he always looked very average at left-back and Wilnis was obviously struggling with his age too.

Garvan looked like a decent prospect at the time but never really bossed the midfield or contributed too much. Tommy Miller was often criticised for going missing during games and didn’t add much to the team apart from when a penalty needed to be taken.

Gary Roberts was a good player at times but much like the rest of the team lacked the consistency to play well for a whole season. Legwinski was a touch of class in midfield, he was getting on a bit but you could tell that he had the brain of a Premier League footballer.

The real highlight of this team was Jonathan Walters, he was by far the best player in the team and at times he was forced to carry the team to wins in certain games. Alan Lee was a crude but effective striker; he always got the job done to a half decent standard.

Couñago almost summarised the team as a whole in the way that he was horribly inconsistent. The Spaniard clearly had the ability to score beautiful goals but not the drive or composure to score enough.

Overall, we had the occasional touch of class in Legwinski and Walters but the rest were average footballers.

Moving onto the squad from 2010: Márton Fülöp, Gareth McAuley, Damian Delaney, Mark Kennedy, Darren O’Dea, Jaime Peters, Carlos Edwards, David Norris, Grant Leadbitter, Colin Healy, Andros Townsend, Jason Scotland, Tamas Priskin, Connor Wickham.

Fülöp was a goalkeeper who in my opinion was always a bit harshly treated. His distribution was poor but apart from that he was a solid choice for the Championship at the time. Perhaps the opposite was the case with McAuley as I felt he was rarely above average in the Championship, but he had a few good runs of form.

Delaney performed at around the same level that McAuley did but was probably more prone to making errors that resulted in silly goals. Kennedy had the heart but not the legs and he was hardly ever good enough to hold his own against most Championship players.

O’Dea seemed like a bit of a panic buy (or loan to be precise) and he was a disaster in defence. Peters had some fantastic games at right-back but his height and lack of physical presence meant he could never secure a long term role in the team.

Leadbitter at the time put in some decent performances and initially impressed everyone but he was only just above average on the whole. Norris always worked hard and occasionally scored some good goals, he was a useful player even though he wasn’t overly creative.

Colin Healy was pretty useless and was always out of his depth in the Championship, only ever good enough as back-up. Townsend was too far away from the finished product and probably could have done with more time in league one rather than trying the Championship.

Scotland and Priskin never really worked as a forward pairing and struggled for large parts of the season. Scotland was the better of the two and was another average player for the Championship. Wickham was a useful player to have on the bench and looked lively whenever he was brought on but wasn’t capable of starting every game.

Overall, this team seemed like a group of individuals hoping to move on to better things rather than the close knit unit we were hoping for. The main players that summarised this squad were Delaney, Leadbitter, Norris and Priskin. You could tell that none of them cared in the slightest about Ipswich Town and the squad had a mercenary feel to it.

Now on to our current squad: Scott Loach, Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith, Aaron Cresswell, Carlos Edwards, Danny Higginbotham, Guirane N’Daw, Lee Martin, Darryl Murphy, Massimo Luongo, Luke Hyam, Andy Drury, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Paul Taylor, Michael Chopra, Jason Scotland.

Obviously it is too early to judge a lot of the new players but Loach seems like a solid goalkeeper so far. Chambers should be an improvement on Delaney and needs a good centre-back alongside him before we can really judge him.

Tommy Smith has struggled this season despite impressing at the end of last season, the New Zealand international doesn’t seem to be able to handle the pressure of consistent first team football. Cresswell has been unsettled by recent speculation but I still rate him as one of the better left backs we have had in recent seasons.

Edwards is a bit past his best and has made a few defensive errors already this season. Higginbotham has yet to play a game as I write this but I am going to stick my neck out there and say he will be solid without being spectacular. He won’t be the quickest but he will give forwards a rough time and always be safe rather than sorry.

N’Daw seems to be your average holding midfielder, he won’t set the Championship alight but he will be useful in the squad. Martin obviously has the potential to be good but you have to question his attitude and composure at times.

Emmanuel-Thomas has made a terrible start to the season and whilst he has the speed, strength and trickery required he lacks the composure to get results. Luongo seems like he will do a solid job and Hyam will do the same, both players need another season before they can be expected to play consistently well.

Paul Taylor was rated highly by Peterborough but I get the feeling that he won’t be as useful to us as he was to them. Although it is early days, I cannot see what his redeeming feature as a forward is and he seems average at best.

You generally know what you are going to get with Chopra as he will always get between 10 and 15 goals every season, he should probably convert more but he is useful nevertheless. Scotland is very much on the decline but is still a good back-up player.

Overall, I’d say the best squad out of the three would be the 2007 squad just because Walters had the ability to change games. Even though we may have a more rounded midfield now I don’t think we have anyone near the quality that Walters had. The squad of 2010 in my opinion is the weakest purely because the main core of the side was a group of individuals rather than a team.

Feel free to give your own opinion of each squad, the main idea of this piece was to highlight each squad for everyone so that they can make up their own mind on whether we have improved.

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

M4rkyboy1 added 10:03 - Sep 22
Liked this read, really summed up my thought too.
Dos Santos was the best loan signing for us (apart from Bullards LOAN spell) in a while.

Dog added 10:19 - Sep 22
All three of these squads are "average" at best, with a couple of decent players thrown in. We are an average championship side and suspect we will finish in our average position this season (15th). Too much money has been wasted on signing individuals rather than creating a team.

Reading PJ's latest statement, i do get the feeling he is expecting a rough ride today. I fully understand the wage bill and making sure the club is run sensibly, but we need to have cover (and decent cover that is) for all positions - it doesn't mean we need 22 good players, it means we need signings who can deputise in a position should they need to. It also means that if a player is signed as a Defensive midfielder, Centre Back or Left Back then the manager should not be afraid to play him there if the first choice player gets injured or loses form.

Putting my neck on the line - the best team was 2007 but i think 2010 had better individuals but managed by a complete twunt.


Nthsuffolkblue added 04:22 - Sep 23
You are quite right that all these squads are mid-table championship squads. The current squad is a little younger so might have a future but is too thin on the ground and needs time to improve.

The real problem is a lack of tactics and overall direction to the club and has been under successive managers.

NickITFC added 07:09 - Sep 23
This makes a very good read this article. I am in a similar boat, 2007 was the best TEAM. BUT probably the weakest in terms of individual ability. The 2010 team was probably the strongest in terms of individual ability along with our current team.

We have just had too many players that have never lived up to their name/price tag. I think this team has the ability to gel and become a strong championship team but we need a good motivational manager, PJ does not have the managerial ability to change a game or give the team a lift.

Facefacts added 20:45 - Sep 23
Paul Taylor is a lone striker in a 4-5-1, has a background in European football, Anderlecht I think it was.

IamSpartacus added 18:39 - Sep 24
The irony is that, although it is the worst team in my opinion, the current team probably has the best potential.

In Cresswell, JET, Martin, Hewitt, Hyam, Carson & at a push Smith- although he needs to quickly show it- we have younger players with potential. My annoyance with Jewell is that he would prefer to lose with the loanees rather than give, in particular, Hyam and Carson consistant runs (even JET needs to be given a good run to find the consistancy he desperately needs to be effective for us).

The 2007 team was the end of the 'half-decent' era & 2010, as you say, a team of cash-chasers (not that, all footballers aren't driven by cash, but these were obviously so).

Until we get a manager that has the intent to nurture youth players, enthuse team spirit and find the lower league bargains, we are set adrift (for me, the manager to fit these requisites is Darren Ferguson).

To Facefacts, Paul Taylor never played for Anderlect but did play and score 13 in 18 games for Montegnee... though that is in the 4th tier of the Belgium league, so a pretty poor standard. In fact, and I hope he proves me wrong, Taylor has never scored many at ANY decent level before (even 12 in 48 for Peterborough is under-whelming). It seems Jewell has been keen to get strikers reflecting his own 'try hard, but score few goals' image.

So, in short, I'm hopeful of the current team having the best potential, but league games over the last year dictate that they are the worst currently.

warkway added 09:52 - Sep 26
Interesting, if rather depressing. Just shows how over 5 years we have failed to buld a consistent squad. The entire first team squad chnaged 2007-2010 and again (apart from Edwards and Scotland) in the next three years. Says it all really.

What is consitent is the lack of two good CBs at any one time, the lack of a midfielder who can use the ball creatively, like a Magilton and a high scoring midfiileder (Tommy Millar had lost it by 2007).

warkway added 10:02 - Sep 26
and another thing

out of th efirst two squads only two went on to the Prem as first team players (CW not yet there) and none of those came from the youth team. Pass the hemlock.
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