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Post-Derby Blues
Written by TimS on Tuesday, 26th Aug 2014 10:05

For the first time for a while, I had the chance to go to last Saturday’s derby. I had been at home for the week and it would have been natural to head to Portman Road for a fixture that has given so many memories down the years. I did not go. I could not quite bring myself to buy the ticket, and I felt awful. Things had changed.

I found myself a Woodbridge pub to watch the game. It had taken a while to find a pub that was prepared to show the match. My Dad and I had been forced to cross the town streets full of Saturday lunchtime shoppers, oblivious to the fact that the local derby was about to start.

In the pub, a few sturdy souls had gathered around the two TVs. After an initial period of anticipation, the dangerously excited Sky commentator voice bounced off the walls as the drinking public sat comatose for 90 minutes. There was an odd sigh of frustration. There were no cheers. Ninety minutes elapsed and everyone then left. That was that. A wedding party took over.

To be honest, I was glad that I did not spend the money on a ticket. I still felt guilty about not being at the game in person. I do believe that football is best watched in the ground rather than via a TV screen, but at least, I still had 30 quid still in my back pocket. It had been a derby match that had failed to stir much emotion.

Later that evening, I was watching Tipping Point on ITV1, and found that game show to be much more exciting as comedian Jo Brand tried to win the money for charity. Discs falling through an amusement machine caught my attention more than a Town attack? Something must be wrong somewhere.

The local paper calls it apathy and Groundhog Day. My birthday is actually Groundhog Day in the celebrated Bill Murray film so I would not complain about the latter description, but I despair about the apathy surrounding this fine football club at the moment.

Managers may come and go. Players may kiss the badge after one game and then wangle a move after two more matches. Chairmen might open their pockets one moment and then sell up. However, apathy is difficult to shift. Like algae or Japanese knot weed, apathy could strangle the life out of Ipswich Town unlike any transfer or managerial sacking could.

Apathy could be tackled on the pitch. There is so much that I would change on the pitch from formation, tactics to players. My grumbles about the lack of any coherent passing game from Town lit up a post-match stroll along Woodbridge quay. The defensive lapse for Norwich’s goal was embarrassing.

As I talked to my father, a veteran of the Bobby Robson era, I wondered whether the games that he saw at Portman Road in the seventies, ever took place. He had been to many rumbustious derbies. How would the August 2014 game compare? I did not bother to ask the question.

However, apathy could be tackled off the pitch too. 25,245 fans attended the Norwich game, 17,218 fans attended the Fulham game. The derby attracted a group of Town fans that bumped up the attendance to a level, surely not seen for many a year.

These extra fans were served with tepid and dreary trash, so how will the Town hierarchy ensure that they come back for Millwall on Saturday 13th September? Any special deals at the time of writing, available on the website? No.

How will Town ensure that the fans might jump at the chance of coming to Portman Road for a Tuesday night game against Brighton and Hove Albion on 16th September? Any special deals at the time of writing, available on the website? No. And if I make a last minute decision and decide that I fancy coming to Portman Road, on the day of the game? I pay a higher price. What other leisure activity has such a pricing system?

I appreciate that 48 hours have only elapsed since the match. A Bank Holiday weekend has gone, but there seems to be no attempt, from my perspective, to try and get fans, who may have taken a cursory glance at Town last weekend, to come to another game. There seems to be not a lot of effort to fill up Portman Road with any off the pitch work.

If nothing changes, I would love to know how many people will turn up to the home game against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday 10th February. It is often cold around that time of the year. If it is a cold and snowy Tuesday night, will it be the case of the last person leaving the building, turning off the lights?

I used to think that attending a football game, which did not involve a Town side, was morally wrong. I got over that. Not attending last weekend’s derby match, has also made me feel that I have let down the club that has been supported by family for the last 40 years. I may get over that, and look back at this article, as the ultimate low point in my relationship with this club. After all, supporting Ipswich Town Football Club has never been easy.

However, I am concerned that apathy could cause Town to turn into a shell of a club. This disease needs to be tackled throughout the club.

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BillBlue added 10:40 - Aug 26
Of course you are right. There is a malaise which one can feel from afar and yes, it needs tackling now but I think it needs to start at the top then progress on to the field. A nice, well written blog.

Quayside_Blue added 11:27 - Aug 26
A good read and sums up how I have felt about the club at times ever since ME took over. I can think of a few factors - mid table for the last 10 years, season over by Christmas every year, poor to watch and as you mentioned the cost with little being done by the club.

I used to be thankful we were not a Coventry or Sheffield Wednesday whose very reason for existing the last 15 years was to just hang around Championship/League One to make up the numbers. I am not going to call the samaritans yet but I fear nothing good will ever happen again to the club as we drift around the abyss of mediocrity.


RegencyBlue added 11:31 - Aug 26
Unfortunately what you describe is the way many people feel about Town these days. Looking around me at home matches I see a hard core fan base getting older and older with fewer and fewer youngsters coming along who will ultimately replace them.

Success on the field would help but we are light years away from that.


IamSpartacus added 20:21 - Aug 26
Agree totally. I can't afford to go to many games a season now, and too many of the hardcore that are fortunate enough to have the cash seem to think they have the moral highground when discussing games.

The games I have been to in the last few seasons- over the Jewell and McCarthy eras- have been dismal, dull and dreary- even to the point of seriously considering leaving at HT because it was so cold (fortunately stayed to see the win, but never felt that bored during a game before).

I hate the grading of games- I go to see Ipswich, not some other team as a by-product. All I ask is 'some' entertainment and effort- and I NEVER want to come away thinking I could have put more effort in, particularly in the 'I wish we would have attacked a little bit more' sense.

I like MM- he is MILES better than Keane and hundreds of miles better than Jewell the car cleaner- but no-one should be surprised at the attendances if the entertainment is minimal and the prices so high.


IamSpartacus added 20:22 - Aug 26
The freezing game was the Bolton game last season when DG scored the penalty for us to win 1-0..... just in case it needed narrowing down :-)

jonnysuave added 11:42 - Aug 27
I fell asleep at one game under Keane. That was when I realised that I was wasting time and no little money coming up from London to watch Ipswich. I keep an eye on the chatroom during match days but everyone sounds bored sh1tless there too.

So we've had a lot of fans (both hardcore and part time) making extremely valid points about the state we are in. The thing that has to be worked out now is how do we start the step by step process of getting us out of this hole.


MVBlue added 17:11 - Aug 27
jonnysuave, were you HighburyBlue in the '90's on here?

essexblue72 added 20:26 - Aug 27
I've only missed one or two derby games in the last 25 years, and I hate them up the road as much as anyone else, but walking away from Portman road on Saturday I really wasn't that upset and that is what bothers me. I normally wouldn't talk to anyone for the rest of the weekend but I just thought oh well and went home.

jonnysuave added 10:00 - Aug 28
MV Blue. Always been JonnySuave and never lived north of the river.


Geoff added 10:46 - Aug 28
Agree with Tim s One of the worst derbies ever players show no passion we lack quality all over the pitch why can,t we play a recognized right back.Why no money to spend i blame M E Appointed bad managers a chief executive who did not have a clue wasted money on average players.Now have a half decent manager but either do not trust him to buy or will not put money up any more,All we want is entertaining football not the boring dross. Need to look at improving the squad play maker striker goalkeeper.Fan base is there proved that on Saturday We need this club back in the premier league but feel i will have to wait a long time.

hancockingoal added 20:40 - Aug 31
I cannot disagree with this blog at all and it saddens me to say so! I came away from the game not really too sad as deep down I didn't have any great pre-match expectations. As I am now 61 and qualify for a concession of almost 50% of the cost of my season ticket in C block of the upper Cobbold I don't feel too upset about the cost. Had I had to pay the match day price of £45 I am sure I would have been pi**ed off to say the least. This would have certainly added insult to the fact that I was forced to take, in my view, an unnecessary detour around the Princess St/Portman Rd area just to reach my turnstile. I then had to join a much longer than usual queue to enter the ground and then if I really wanted to buy an extortionately overpriced plastic bottle of warm beer at half item I would have to leave my seat at least 10 minutes before the end of the half! Why do I and thousands of others subject ourselves to this crass treatment every 2 weeks or when Mr Murdoch tells us too? It must be something in the jeans? However how long will we put up with this complacency by the club. What should worry Mr Evans is that a supporter of 52 years was not distraught at the result when not too long ago it would have totally ruined his weekend, maybe I might just find something better to do with my time and money? I might not be the only one!

hancockingoal added 20:49 - Aug 31
I meant 'genes' not my Levi's!
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