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What Do We Expect of Our Club?
Written by DurhamTownFan on Monday, 19th Oct 2015 10:56

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on the subject of Town’s playing style under Mick McCarthy. Having been humbled at Old Trafford, I wanted to see how everyone felt about what I perceived to be a rather attritional and outdated brand of football seen here and in pretty much every other Ipswich game since McCarthy arrived.

Judging by the feedback on my blog on our playing style, I think that on the whole most people agreed that, 1: We do play rather ugly football, but 2: The ends were justifying the means when you bear in mind our small transfer budget.

Plenty of people seemed happy to watch the way we play when remembering the mess experienced under Paul Jewell, Roy Keane, etc, and with a certain sense of optimism that our football would gradually evolve over the next year or two.

If you go back through the supporters' comments underneath the stories featured on this website over the season, it seems to me that there has been more than a slight rise in unrest with the way McCarthy has been running the team lately.

Mick’s post-match press conference (in which he confessed to being annoyed with supporters chanting the names of certain players left out of his team) suggests that the dissatisfaction can work both ways, and that McCarthy sometimes gets fed up by fans in return.

Most supporters I speak to seem reluctant to criticise the manager, mainly out of a sense of gratitude for saving us from the abyss of League One and then having an amazing season last year. However, are these achievements enough to please fans of Ipswich Town?

We are experiencing a tough run, but we’re still within touching distance of the play-offs come May: nothing that can’t be put right with a little unbeaten run of a few games.

But what happens if our recent inconsistency continues throughout the season? Would you be happy if we finished mid-table this season? Before you answer that, bear in mind that such a finish would involve runs of poor or boring form, and potentially some humbling defeats, mixed up with some scrappy wins and the occasional glimpse of dominance for one or two games at most.

People want opinions in blogs, so here is mine. I believe that Mick McCarthy has done a wonderful job, but that where we are now is about our natural position while he is our manager.

It is clear that McCarthy will not change the skeleton of his side, no matter how many fans on this website or in the ground beg for Bart back in goal, Luke Chambers to be moved to centre-back and Kevin Bru to start (honestly, we all agree, so you’re wasting your time even writing it).

I believe that the defeat at Reading scared McCarthy away from trying to play free-flowing football with Ipswich ever again. I really enjoyed Pickersblue22’s last blog on this topic, and I wish Mick would read it!

So, I think it is time for us to ask ourselves what we want. The truth is that we do have a good squad, probably the best we’ve seen since Marcus Evans took over. But when you judge the manager, I don’t think you should judge him on what HAS happened, but what you WANT to happen next.

We can all sit here being grateful to McCarthy for getting us where we are now for the next five years, but I believe that now we ARE there, we absolutely have to be thinking optimistically about continuing that progress rather than stagnating and being stuck in this godforsaken second division for another 12 years.

Southampton fans were in uproar when Nigel Adkins got fired in 2013 after two impressive promotions, but they brought in Mauricio Pocchetino and moved to the next level and nearly qualified for Europe. When he then left, the club were able to attract a big European name in Ronald Koeman, who again made further (I think astounding) progress last season.

Changing a manager is a highly risky business. For every Pocchetino at Southampton you might cite what happened at Charlton after Alan Curbishley left to see what happens when a gamble doesn’t pay off.

So then, the end of this rather rambling blog boils down to the essential question: are you happy with where the team is and where we’re going, or are we starting to slip into a long and dangerous decline?

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

TR11BLU added 12:47 - Oct 19
Good Blog.

Im in the 'time for a change' camp'

I believe MM has taken us as far as he can and would love to see a younger up and coming man given the reigns. His post match interview was unbelievable and comical in equal measure and was the nail in the coffin for me.
Alas, I dont think this will happen, since getting rid of Jim, ME has gone for a name. The first two occassions backfired big time, this time was more succesful but I feel he lacks the vision/ambition/football brain to make the next step. Unfortunately MM will not walk, history shows this.

Mick out Please...

CalneBlue added 12:56 - Oct 19
I agree with a lot of what you write and great to see opinions. But I'm struggling a little with

'But when you judge the manager, I don’t think you should judge him on what HAS happened, but what you WANT to happen next'

Surely it is absolutely the right thing to do to judge a manager by what has happened, i.e what has been achieved? The Club needs to move forward, particularly with a 'stronger' squad so if we were to comfortably make the play-offs or even better get automatic promotion this season then that would certainly be progress (of course progress might also be a more exciting, attractive footballing philosophy). But surely you need to view that over a full season to allow for bedding in of new players, system, etc. Unless we get to the stage where it's obvious that's not going to happen then judgement of the manager needs to wait until then.

But I agree that if you don't see progress in the long term or worse things start going backwards then it's perfectly valid to question whether we need a new manager. We should be ambitious and settling for mid-table mediocrity isn't good enough.

essex57 added 15:17 - Oct 19
Micks done a great job on a nothing budget i believe hes in the last year of his contract even if we only make the playoffs and dont get promoted i think he would give him a chance to complete what he started.

HARRY10 added 17:58 - Oct 19
' The truth is that we do have a good squad, probably the best we’ve seen since Marcus Evans took over. '

What ?

With the likes of Douglas, Chambers, Coke, Knudson, the 18 year old Maitland-Niles, plus two very indifferent keepers you are having a laugh.

We are where we are (slowly sliding down the Championship) because we have failed to bring in decent players. The money was there (Mings sale) but as with the others, the intent is not. To think we will compete and challenge is deluding yourself.

What MM has done is to keep us out of the relegation battle and hopefully continue to do so. That is all, and that's why the crowd numbers will also slowly slip away. We have been here for 14 (not 12) years come May, and there is nothing to suggest any change will be in an upwardly direction either.

The change we neeed is not the manager, or playing style. But somene who thinks we belong in the PL and is going to do something about it. That is not ME.


deano85 added 19:04 - Oct 19
I always think MM would make a great interim manager...
Comes in, saves a club, rebuilds it, installs stability, builds for the future... All on a very low budget...
But then maybe he dhould let someone use what he builds???

Personally i think he has earnt the right to do what he likes until we find ourselves rock bottom at christmas...

Pickersblue22 added 19:42 - Oct 19
Thank you for your nice comments about my blog- I personally think that Mick would hunt me down if he read my blog, but hey! I just think that while Mick remains stubborn in his team selection, we simply cannot progress. Mick has to choose between his own principles and the good of the club and its fans.

DurhamTownFan added 20:53 - Oct 19
Thanks for some interesting responses so far.

Harry10: I stand by my point: we've got three great strikers, plus Murphy when he eventually finds form (I think he will) plus six decent defenders, plus Frazer and M-Niles who I think are a cut above what we've had in recent years (when fit and on form).

Deano85 and Essex57: completely agree with both of you. If we're bottom half at christmas then I think Mick will walk away (mainly because he'll be fed up of us lot moaning!) and I also think that unless we very narrowly miss out or win promotion (unlikely) he will move on after this season ends.

Who else is out there and who could do better is another blog altogether!

HARRY10 added 21:41 - Oct 19
Tthta's not a squad. Not even a team, that you are trying to talk up.

The reality is that out of the defenders Knudsen is way out of his depth and Chambers is just not up to it either. Murphy has been found out. Or more significantly we have been found out. The long hoof ball has been understood and grasped.

Maitland-Niles might appear a cut above other loanees (to you) but he is not up to Championship requirements. That has been seen.

We are not slipping into long and dangerous decline. We have been in decline since a year before administration. Look at the attendance figures. Ask yourself when we last saw a goalkeeper coming through from the youth system. Do you really think that the target of 'half the 2017/18 season squad are home grown players' as Ian Milne claimed previously, is likely to happen ?

The problem is higher up that the players and the manager. Until we have diection and, perhaps, investment we will continue to struggle. Whether that is a few places above the relegation places or a few places below the play off places matters little.

By forcussing on the effects not the cause not only lets those responsible off the hook, but provides a useful distraction as well. We need change.

md_blue added 23:51 - Oct 19
A well written blog and raises a very good question. Are we, as a club, THAT close to the Premier League or was last year a flash in the pan? I agree with Harry10--our tactics from last year have been found out, Murphy's form has returned to previous levels, and Mick keeps believing last year's magic will return. Dissatisfaction has been intensified by the bright start this year, raising hopes that last year was not an aberration. When Chaplow scored v Watford with the last kick of the game, I thought it was a sign that we'd better grasp our chance to go up because the Force was with us. For the time being it is not. And with the current lineup in current form, it is hard to see the Force returning. The creativity so excitingly glimpsed in August is, by all accounts, gone. Bart is rooted to the bench. Our two central midfielders are ponderous (play one or the other but not both). The midfielders who could actually beat men with a dribble are not selected. The style seems to be straight out of Charles FC Hughes with high top boots! What do I want from my club? To play attractive football. The game is entertainment and with the wide variety of options available on a Saturday in this day and age, if we cannot consistently win then let us at least play in a manner that is pleasing to the eye. At the moment neither style nor substance is being delivered. Is Mick the right man? If he is serious about wanting another crack at a Premier League job this is his best chance at it. Can't imagine someone already in the League hiring him now. We are only four points out of the playoffs so all is not lost but the recent, utter lack of scoring is troublesome. There is talent in the squad, perhaps not at Derby or Boro levels but certainly enough to beat Bristol City or Huddersfield. I also agree with Harry10 that unless a serious committment comes from above (Where did the Mings money go? Wages for loanees?), we will struggle against better funded clubs currently in the division and those with parachute money who eventually will get it right. We can do better than we are doing but to lay the blame solely at Mick's door is a bit unfair. COYB!

rickw added 12:06 - Oct 20
I thought we'd made some excellent signings in the summer, I don't care what we did or didn't spend...

I agree with Pickersblue, Mick is just stubborn, everyone can see the changes needed Mick just makes them way way too late.
It's like last season we got to top (briefly) mainly playing 433 the first half the season. Just before that Mick had reverted back to 442, and then he stuck with it even when we were playing poorly. The second half the season we played at mid table form, but managed to get into the play-offs at which time Mick finally switched back to 433 and we gave a good account of ourselves.

At the moment the football is poor, too many long balls. I don't think Knudsen is a bad player he's just not discouraged from hitting aimless long balls to nobody. For most of the first half of last season I didn't see us as a long ball team, I thought we were a more high pressing hardworking team - and that was really entertaining! Most of our goals then were not from hoofs, but from forcing the opposition into mistakes, if we can get that back again we'll be alright (as well as the changes we all know are needed!!) ;-)

AndrewPC added 17:26 - Oct 20
I may be wrong , but I thought that McCarthy's own contract is up at the end of this season ?

Anyway, in the interests of continuity and giving the benefit of the doubt, I think fans and supporters should wait till the end of the season. If we do not make the top 6, then I think it is time to say to Mick: "many thanks for your hard work and honest commitment to ITFC,and good luck in your future career"


MVBlue added 21:30 - Oct 20
Im thinking you're right about the Reading result. The chance has been there to push on this season using wingers but its not working. We're jn a bad patch but i'm starting to understand that our brand of football is not getting better at all. Many fans are not enjoying games and if it never improves its bad news. We do have a very good squad a Manager can work with. He has 2 more weeks after Hull defeat I'd say. Good luck Mick.

Lightningboy added 12:16 - Oct 21
If I had some sort of Tardis i'd love to see what would've happened if we'd given Magilton a few more seasons because in the 6 years since he was sacked we are no further forward and playing far less attractive football to boot.

I think McCarthy has probably taken us as far as he can..he obviously doesn't have the brain power to change anything tactically and just relies on hard work and effort to get his teams up the table..this is obviously not even working now so maybe it's time for ME to really look at himself and what he wants out of football..surely he can't be happy with what we're churning out every week?

What we did under Burley seems a distant dream..oh for those times again!

brittaniaman added 10:03 - Oct 22
Has got to pull us out of this Slump !!! Because the crowds have started to dwindle already
We the fans try to help, but the stubborn McCarthy will not listen, his way or no way is his motto
He does not want the audience to participate ?????? I AM THE MANAGER !!!!!!!!

20,000 Down to 17,500 the last 2 home games ?? if no result at Forest ! what will the home crowd be for Cardiff ???

battyblue added 13:53 - Oct 22
Time for a change Micks on the slide ,no excitement or expectation in his team

BeattiesBeerGut added 19:42 - Oct 22
I agree, we do have a pretty good squad with some excellent youngsters coming through as well.
Also feel that MM lacks the flexibility and forward thinking we might get from a younger manager (dare I say it, asthe Budgies found with Alex wotshisface, plucked from Scottish obscurity but holding his own in the Premier League (a recent Toon pasting notwithstanding))

dannyrr added 21:56 - Oct 22
An article in the paper today by Harry Redknapp admitting that it's not just the manager - if Jurgen Klopp came to Ipswich they may not win the championship. I feel it is a combination of either the players fed up with the lack of tactics knowing that if no changes are made at half time at 77 minutes the two most influential players will be substituted. Are these players now giving up in the knowledge they are not going to get a full game. If it's not happening then sticking with it isn't going to change things. It's getting to the same point as it was with PJ changes having no impact.

I'm not advocating MM to go but if we don't make any headway this season with arguably a better squad on paper do we settle for another period of mediocrity and more championship football. We lack a quality keeper capable of saving us points - look at Leicester with Schmeichel quality keeper that stuck with Leicester when one might have already expected him to be taken by a premier league team and he is capable of fulfilling his role in that league. Is that going to make the difference for us. The back four seem to have lost their confidence and midfield have way less creativity than last season.

DurhamTownFan added 09:58 - Oct 24
I agree with you, AndrewPC: in fact an earlier draft of this blog had that point on the end but I wanted this to ask people's opinions rather than lay my own thoughts down too strongly.

Interesting to see that other people have also criticised Evans. Equally interesting to see that nobody is really criticising the players at the moment. I think we've all spent enough energy having a go at Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Douglas et al and because they continue to get picked, there's one an who is easy to blame.

I think we will arrest this slide, but I also think we'll finish around mid table. Last year was pretty much down to an outstanding second quarter of the season, which then tailed of badly after the Derby County game. Mick has tried to inject a bit more flair, but had his fingers burned at Reading and won't go back to that.

hello66 added 09:25 - Oct 25
I have not posted on here for many, many months, I gave up my season ticket after Mick had been with us for a year, ( two years of Roy had taken its toll) just couldn’t put up with the long ball game every week!
Over the last few seasons I get to about 6 - 8 games year (1 or 2 away), I know this is a tough league and people say a win is a win, well I have to disagree, it’s a sport after all, it’s about entertaining the public too, as just to win...... well I can get that result on my phone and save a small fortune !
Well right now we are not getting either winning or being entertained from the reports and what I've seen from 2 home games. The long ball is fine while you’re winning but take that away and what are you left with?
As Mick is a stubborn man like my dear mother, always right and you can’t see their point of view, my mother did a wonderful job bringing the family up and kept us from falling into dark places, but in a modern world she knew she knew her skills would only take us so far.
Well I’ve not taken to Mick style of play and I voted with my feet but I respect him for saving our club from a dark place and I now ask him kindly to look in the mirror and honestly ask himself has he got the skills to do more than just tread water for 2 years?
I look forward to jumping out of my seat more frequently in 90mins someday .............

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