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Another Crisis at Ipswich
Written by TimS on Tuesday, 20th Nov 2012 08:53

It is just over seven years ago when I was so fed up with Town that I decided to write some random words about why I thought that the club was going to the dogs.

It was Saturday 18th June 2005 and precisely a month after the play-off defeat against West Ham (ahh - the play-offs! Remember them?). It was a sunny Saturday. No football but I was fed up.

I sat in a halls of residence room reflecting on the fire sale of players that had taken place at Portman Road. Bent had gone. Kuqi had gone. Life had gone. It is easy to say now but there was a slow dull feeling in my mind that maybe, just maybe, Town would never quite be back to the heights that we had all enjoyed for a decade. Play-offs used to be a rite of passage with the door usually slamming just before Premiership dreams could become a reality.

Now it is Monday 19th November 2012. It is has been a dull and grimy Monday in the South-West of England where there has been little prospect of any hint of sunshine. I have been reading all the articles from Saturday like someone reading the deaths column in the local paper checking that he did not known anyone.

That 2005 Halls of Residence room was in Leicester. I have watched a fair amount of games at whatever the Walkers Stadium is called now. (It always seemed to be 0-0 between Leicester and Ipswich! Remember those days?). It always feels as if you are watching football in a library at Leicester and watching your team lose 6-0 and having to trudge past more soulless car showrooms and getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle of Freemen's Commons with only Morrisons for company is not the greatest way to cope with a drubbing.

Being away from Ipswich means that you can only sense the mood of the club via websites, newspapers, the odd radio article and your 30 seconds of Saturday night coverage to marvel at Portman Road’s beautiful empty blue seats or how Town’s defence can create a minus 25-goal difference by the middle of November.

You want to get to an away game, but you have few options in the South-West of England. You have Bristol City and maybe Cardiff this year. You start wondering whether it would be fun to watch Town at Huish Park next season. You just want some clarity. You would want to feel proud about your team. There are not many Town fans in Exeter, so you want to tell them about your club, more than just giving directions to Portman Road if Exeter City gets promoted next season.

So you are left in the dark, watching jungle reality TV and wondering what is the strategy? Where are Town going this season? How many loan players have worn the Town shirt so far this season? Am I right in thinking that considering how many loan players have played since 18th August 2012, the first team squad photo was full of totally inadequate players which should never have been anywhere near the first team? What has happened to Town’s scouting network? Do we only scout for loan players?

However, the loan players continue to come. Even this Monday saw some random player from Peterborough coming down to Portman Road, and I am left wondering whether this player is to replace another loan player, or is this player going to replace a more established star.

Is this player going to spend his stay in the reserves? Is this player going to do commentary on Radio Suffolk? How can someone on loan to Town have any understanding about the club, or make a name for himself before being packed back to his ‘home’ club on Saturday 26th January 2013 which is only really in two months’ time?

This is no way to run a club. This is no way to inspire anyone to really believe that Town are going anywhere other than arranging the deckchairs on the good ship Portman Road whilst the iceberg comes up the River Orwell.

OK, the previous manager has gone, but am I right in thinking that it is the case of muddling through to 1st January 2013, with the hope that the whole useless squad can be shipped off to MK Dons, Wycombe, Watford or somewhere near the M25, and a group of hungry and skilful players can find their way to Portman Road to help Town get to mid-table position?

No one, apart from the new manager, and some of the more ‘established’ loan players seems to admit that there is anything wrong. Running Town at the present time seems to be the case of trying to construct a Christmas dinner but not quite knowing what to put on the plate. Shall we have some turkey? Couple of slices. Shall we have some nut roast? Yeah, go for it. Shall we have some roast potatoes? Fantastic. More carrots? Then we don’t like what we have got on the plate, so we add some gravy, to try and get a better taste, then we add more veg, meat, then maybe some more veg, some bread sauce, some cranberry sauce, maybe horse radish sauce. You end up with a plate of too much food swimming in a load of gungy sauces making you feel bloated and violently sick.

Maybe the team will limp on to January. The goal difference will stay below -35 and some of the many loan players will excel at their temporary home. The team may play like a team rather than like a collection of loan players. When I watch Town play Bristol City on 26th January, the club may not be in the relegation spaces but I would want some more long-term strategy at the club rather than wondering how we can get to the Premiership in the shortest time as possible, with the coffee dregs of what other teams want to chuck our way.

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RFATOWNFAN added 09:10 - Nov 20
I agree totally with you, unfortunately the people at the top don't understand what OUR club means to US, the humble supporters who in reality pay their wages. I'm currently away with work for 4 months, in a much warmer climate, but I still shiver when I get the chance to listen to the games on player. I hardly recognise the names that pull on our beloved blue shirt. Roll on the end of January when I get the chance to use my season ticket again so I can sit in peace at Portman Road looking at the sqad on the back 3 pages of the programme.....

algarvefan added 09:27 - Nov 20
I honestly think that playing our football in Division One next season is the answer for us. Strip out all the crap and the deadwood and give the team to the young guns with a few old dogs in there to give a bit of leadership. Trouble is you cannot....or should that be will this mid season, because if it backfires the manager would be 'hung drawn and quartered.!!

At the moment with the players we have I can only see us in the bottom 3 or nearby as the club is run by a man with no interest in the football at all

Pessimistic added 10:00 - Nov 20
I am a bit Pessimsitic too - well it stands to reason I guess. That said, although I had my doubts about Mick McCarthy taking over, I really do think he has the wherewithall to turn things around - not just in the short term and avoid the drop but in the long term when he gets the players in that he really wants. Nothing in life stays the same. Even the bad times have to end sometime.

alliedaz added 10:07 - Nov 20
as a massive ipswich town fan the pain goes on,there is no passion in our team and the days of being called a friendly club have gone as football is a money making scheme,the difference between premier and championship is massive and players on £150000 aweek is a joke,we are on a budget with a debt on the side and clearly this is a massive issue on players we can attract on small wages,but then again if marcus evans can afford to give the boss a £1mill bonus to stay up wouldnt you agree that cash could have gone on the team instead.the 5 year plan is up and we havent even come close,i do believe a wake up call is needed even if we drop down or a team we can say has passion and wants to wear the shirt

Daleyitfc added 10:20 - Nov 20
Excellent blog, and the plate of Christmas Dinner analogy works well for me : except we don't have any turkey ; we have a few slices of Bernard Matthews rolled reconstituted "reclaimed off the machine if you boil it well" meat. And we all know how satisfying that is.

BillBlue added 11:01 - Nov 20
Yes, that is exactly how I feel too. A good blog and well said. I have been saying for some time that I think our problems go far deeper than needing a new Manager and, unfortunately, I have yet to be proven wrong. I was thinking just last week when we won that first match that hope springs eternal but then went on to think a bit further and realised what has disappeared from so many of us is that deep down belief when even 'hope' is no longer there. What has happened to our once great club?

Edmunds5 added 11:04 - Nov 20
Brilliant blog, creative and well written.

I felt you summed up how it has felt to be an Ipswich fan, all news seems bad news from looking at the paper and seeing our players get 4 out of 10 to watching the football league show and shipping six. I spoke to my dad about how he feels about Mick being new manager, and he said we're a mess. I thought he would be more positive but he was right,players just walk through the door at all different times and just jump into the side, maybe we will try 10 more strikers before January and see if anyone can score a few goals. It was the same in pre-season when we tried all these trialists. one week there was 2, they were sent back , then there was three the next week, no structure or realisation that this direction just isn't working. Its as if there is no genuine concern for the actual state of the club and that we are aimlessly searching for a couple of results to help us out, so we can breathe easily for a few minutes before we get drubbed again and then get in another loanee, never actually thinking about what we are actually trying to do at the club, just turning it into a 24/7 open day for any footballers who have been neglected by other clubs.

BLUEEXILE added 12:36 - Nov 20
What a superb blog TimS. I agree with the general feeling of depression, I sit here on a wet and damp November day in Norfolk having just suffered a bad day at work yesterday, (with the local results), there was great joyhere in making mention of the fact that the local team beat Man U and to make it an even greater day for the locals, Town managed to makr laughing stock of themselves and therefore us, (come on guys, give us a break).

I applaud the 'principle' that 'We all should stick together', difficult times and all that but it does seem a bit like this current government using similar sounds bits, that' we are all in this together', we all know how that works, some of us are more in this together than others, I do not have several 000's on the on my weekly wage for not putting in a good shift..

So being in this together, I travel to see Town, when I can, work and family commintments allowing, but it is not cheap, never-the-less, having paid, I look forward to being entertained!, but er no, I am not, I want to see effort then?, er no, am I going to see SOMETHING! that will keep my spirits up and that I will be able to defend myself to my wife and work mates when I get back, er no............

I want to be supportive, I want to see what good management can do, I want to see a 'game', I want to see more than anything else effort!!!!!!!!! any chance? I want to see Town where they should be, but I am not sure where really is

So, another loan player comes in and there is now the issue of who goes, likley most of them, (it was interesting that I mispelt loan just now and it came out 'load' , a slip, or is my computer saying, NO, anyway a 'load of what.....?.).

I look forward to MM and his team, offering me commitment, effort, honesty, value for money! maybe even hope? lets see what happens against P'Boro.

Forgive me for this drivel, it is a glum day in Norfolk and tomorrows another day and all that, but unfortunately there have been a number of them in recent years, (football wise). I will get my sense of worth and humour back tomorrow, I would however be gratful if the Town managment could let me in on the joke .............. perhaps we could all share it Saturday and all have a good time.

I will find a real joke for next time, sorry guys, no more depression....please!!!!!!!!!!!

Blue041273 added 13:04 - Nov 20
Like the Christmas Dinner analogy; reminded me of a few Christmas Pasts.

Bottom line is that there is a core of this team who, individually might be decent players, but are not the long term future for this club. The competitive underbelly has been allowed to get too soft and these players must be allowed/persuaded to move on. For years now we have needed leaders, players to drive on the rest of the squad, players that lead by example and let the others know in no uncertain terms what is required of them to achieve the targets which everybody expects.

Successive managers have recognised the problem but have chosen/only been allowed to try to resolve the problem by recruiting loanees. History shows that this is not the answer. MM must be allowed to dismantle the rabble of a squad we currently have in January and start to lay the cornerstones of a competitive squad to serve us in the years ahead. These 'cornerstones' must be long term signings with long term futures not just casuals with little or no commitment. Loanees must only be a tool to enhance the squad on a temporary basis not to be key features in a failing team.

Until the Executive recognise that successful football has a long term view in which evolution, rather than revolution, is key, we will continue to flounder. At the moment this may result in a continuation of failure, even possibly relegation, but the essential foundations of our future MUST be laid now.

Bananaman added 13:14 - Nov 20
For heaven sake, it is a football team doing badly. I am sure things will improve. In the meantime there are far more important things in life to be worried about

AndrewPC added 13:45 - Nov 20

Your sentiment catches our mood very well.

BLUEEXILE I like your observations too. If we can't win games let's at least COMPETE not CAPITULATE

I hope that in private MM reads these guys the riot act. I want to see 110% effort and team work ethic on the pitch until the final whistle.

exeterblue10 added 17:24 - Nov 20
There are more Town fans in Exeter than you think -me for one! Being an old fogey my memory is even longer than yours and consequently I've seen the Town slide even further than you. My first game at Portman Road was in 1977, 1-0 against Arsenal, with 30,000 crammed in. Ah, those truly were the days! Back then clubs had such tight squads and loans were very unusual. Now I struggle to remember who's on the payroll and who's borrowed from elsewhere. I can't help thinking the unthinkable - maybe we need to go down a division to regain a bit of stability and to re-build. I completely agree with your blog and hate the short-termism that's becoming the norm at the club.

whitesark added 17:35 - Nov 20
young players might well be the way forward but scary what happened with previous managers...old loan for a young talent brouhgt through...
imagine that midfield from the ranks garvan trotter with hyam feeding sure i ve overlooked one or two that seem to be playing well since they have left

Greybritain added 16:36 - Nov 21
If only ITFC was like the jungle and we could vote people in & out of the team. At least we could have the pleasure of watching Clegg in the bedbugs trial, pressing the red button for more rats to be added to the cage (there are plenty about, jumping off this sinking ship) and completely ignoring his pleas that he is a qualified football CEO who should be let out of here.

Good blog BTW.

GeorgiDoundarov added 19:28 - Nov 21
Good blog in terms of how it brings memories and feelings back. I remember that feeling you are describing back in 2005. The year we had by far the best site in the whole Championship but only because of bad luck missed direct promotion and then that West Ham play-off... and then watching everybody leaving... and then seeing Nicky Forster and Sam Parkin coming... I was thinking "it will be a while until we get that good team again". But when Marcus Evans came and during his first year I was all happy again! Remember following the summer transfer gossip on who are we buying - Angelos Charisteas, Molije Novacovic, Emile Mpenza, David Nugent... I was feeling we are getting there. But then all this became just gossip and rumors and it is going down ever since. To the extent I feel may be Marcus Evans wants us down for his own reasons - tax purposes, money laundry, whatever… Now I am happy to see a manager like Mick McCarthy in Town but I just don't know what his "real" mandate is. Really hope I am wrong and everything comes brighter again and we get promoted and we keep up! I hope... This is all that’s left – hope!

bluefeast added 20:40 - Nov 21
Dear oh dear, we have a brilliant owner ,who has supported managers who have been inept in their recruitment of players. Now we pay the price. However that price may just end up being 4th from bottom and safety. Whether you finish 7th or 21st in this league means you play another season guaranteed in the championship. This season will be exciting because we have something to play for , to survive. Sp lets support the club and stop thinking we are better than we are.

Michael11 added 00:36 - Nov 22
Brilliant blog. Being 22 years old obviously my best memories are from the 2000/01 season in the premier league, but for excitement and pride of having such a good team this has to be my 2nd favourite era.

I'd give both my legs to have the spine of that team back! Kelvin Davis, Jason De Vos, Tommy Miller, Darrent Bent, Shefki Kuqi. Brilliant players, not even including players like Currie, Westlake and Counago.

I thought Evans coming in was the best thing since sliced bread. Fond memories of waving £10 notes at the Naaarwich fans singing 'We're F*****g loaded!'

Obviously, for now it has been a disaster, but if Mick can just finish 21st this season then i have a real good feeling about the next 2 or 3 years that he will turn us around! COYB!!!

MVBlue added 02:56 - Nov 22
Its the failure of Simon Clegg to agree terms with manager targets that means we sign loan players. There were at least 4 players over the summer that this occured with. The players don't sit down with Marcus Evans they sit with Simon Clegg. Marcus Evans must be worried that his name is written on Ipswich shirts we're doing that badly. Mick McCarthy will attempt to get the best out of the resources he has. But the players are misbehaving also. At least the bad patch is before Christmas, we need positivity January - May.

Kitman added 10:53 - Nov 22
at least the turnstiles are newly painted...

TractorRoyNo1 added 01:27 - Nov 23
last one to leave please turn off the lights

itsonlyme added 09:33 - Nov 23
Excellent blog which sums up most fans feelings at the moment. I have followed the town since 1959, so am very old and remember a lot more dark days than most of you. However, we must try and stay positive. Dropping down to league 1 is not an option! We must avoid the drop at all costs. If you think things are bad now, dropping down will be a lot worse.
We have to believe that MM will drag us to safety. Yes, the loan market is desperate, but we are in desperate times. We have to question why Marcus Evans has let this happen - is there a hidden reason why he has sanctioned so many loans? But the most important question is what happens in the January transfer market? Are we going to offload many of the loans and/or current players and if so will we be able to buy or get in more loans? How quickly will they settle in and are they able to help us escape relegation? After all, we are seeing what happens to a club when they bring in a dozen or more players in quick succession - QPR!

petom added 22:22 - Nov 23
The Christmas dinner analogy I found quite amusing,no turkey on the plate??surely we have a whole team of top class turkeys to chose from,MM must feel like Bernard Mathews.
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