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The Fruits of Stability
Written by SpiritOfJohn on Thursday, 15th Sep 2016 21:44

Another busy midweek of Championship football has gone by and once more we start to look forward to Saturday with a mixture of hope and trepidation in one of the most ‘bonkers’ leagues in the world.

A topsy-turvy league where we are often told that anyone can beat anyone. A league that is less predictable than the British summer. Or is it?

Which teams were promoted last season? Parachute-assisted Burnley and Hull City and big-spending Middlesbrough. Who are likely to be promoted this season? Parachute-assisted Newcastle and Norwich City and one other from the big-spending chasing pack that includes Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday. Or maybe someone like Huddersfield or Barnsley will ‘do a Leicester’. So much for Financial Fair Play.

That leaves clubs like Ipswich aiming for the play-offs and scrambling to pick up enough points to squeak into the top six.

We cannot compete financially. Despite having one of the wealthier owners in the league we adhere to FFP like an insect stuck to flypaper. Mick has proudly built a team of uncompromising battlers that has taken us to the periphery of the promotion race, but now we find ourselves wanting more.

We took all three points at Derby but that wasn’t good enough, the stats showed we had less than 40 per cent of the possession. In the ‘unpredictable’ Championship, when a team plays against Ipswich they know exactly what they are going to get - a war of attrition.

Being a Town supporter these days is like being an extra in Groundhog Day - we know what is coming but we can’t affect it. Mick has done brilliantly on the proverbial shoestring but where is the free-flowing football we truly deserve? Is it delusional to think we should be completing more passes, enjoying more possession and scoring more goals?

Ipswich have some attributes that should weigh heavily in our favour. Marcus Evans has been in charge since 2007. He is obviously no patrician Cobbold but he has stabilised the club.

Manager Mick McCarthy is the longest-serving boss in the Championship! Mick has sorted out the mess that he inherited and built up a competitive squad. The team itself is the model of consistency.

Whether you love or hate the individual selections most Town fans would be able to confidently name 10 of the starting 11 for any given match. Despite the loss of Daryl Murphy and the additions of Adam Webster and Grant Ward, the other players have been together for over a year.

My contention is that few, if any, other Championship clubs have the bedrock of stability that we have at Ipswich. We have a solid group with a good team spirit who can battle away for 95 minutes away from home.

It is unusual nowadays to support a team where we can readily identify most of the players from one season to the next. But we should also be seeing the fruits of that stability - not just in terms of battling performances - but also in the overall quality of the play.

Team-mates should know where each other will be so that we can pass and move and keep the ball instead of resorting to the hoof up the park where Murphy used to be.

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jabberjackson added 23:08 - Sep 15
As Mick says
It's a good point

The sudden ending left me wanting more


jabberjackson added 23:08 - Sep 15
As Mick says
It's a good point

The sudden ending left me wanting more


cromwellblue added 08:55 - Sep 16
We could argue about FFP for a long time but for me it the last paragraph of your blog that makes clear our problem.

Few of our teams are comfortable in possession of the ball.

A passing game relies on movement and in our team their simply is none.

At Derby possession was 39%, I'd be interested to see where that 39% breaks down. My expectation would be in the defensive 3rd.

There is plenty of running when we do not have the ball but how would you describe us when in possession? The word that comes to my mind is Static.

DurhamTownFan added 18:41 - Sep 16
Panicked? Rushed? Clueless? Certainly the back 4 anyway.

The blog does read like there should be another couple of paragraphs on the end!

However, the basic point is a decent one, IF we are improving year on year. Last year we went ever so slightly backwards (so say we broadly stayed the same) but for me there's too little progress in our game when we have the ball. We never seem to take the game to teams bar when MM throws all his strikers on at once but even then we're still lumping it and hoping for the best!
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