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The Need For a Great Summer at Ipswich
Written by BaltachaFanClub on Wednesday, 26th Apr 2017 09:51

Let's be honest, this season has been one to forget for us Ipswich fans.

Many would profess to a claim on the much mentioned 'season ended when Murphy left' pearl of wisdom, and indeed to a degree they were right, no natural replacement purchased, and the remaining attackers in an array of forms, and fitness.

David McGoldrick having his usual fitness issues all season, Freddie Sears being out of form/position, Brett Pitman being , well... we shall get to him in a bit.

The bright light of signing Tom Lawrence has been one of few highlights sadly, and with our commanders telling us constantly that we can’t keep him, it feels like being toddlers in Toys R Us, being allowed to look at the big box of Lego, but not buying it (younger fans think Playstations and similar).

As I sat at Rotherham, for reasons we won’t go into in my suit and tie and amongst the home crowd, I began to ponder the future of Ipswich Town and the current squad, and whilst a particularly blunt local yelled, “Go on ya ******* get back on t’tractors and **** ***” (yes the locals really did put extra “T” on everything), I wondered what we can expect of the current Tractor Boys and their own futures, especially as it has been mentioned more than once that over half our playing staff have weeks left on their deals.

Mick McCarthy may well be with us on August's first weekend, but if that's the case he needs quite the summer if he is to have a good season, and win the support back to his side. And so, here is my dissection of our 40 or so players, and where I see them in the future.

We already know the future of some has been decided, Giles Coke, Leon Best and Jonathan Douglas all being told they are free to leave. Although I have no time for the first two, I did always feel that Douglas became an easy scapegoat, and I wish him well in his future endeavours.

I also expect the usual fringe fall out, several of the youngsters out of contract will probably pack up and depart as will I am sure the loaned (as Mick so often put it) “bodies” who have sat in the dugouts and also consumed the physio's time. So goodbye Jonny Williams (we hardly saw thee) and probably Toumani Diagouraga, who began so positively but has just become what he was supposedly replacing, 'Dougie'.

Dominic Samuel and Emyr Huws I am less certain about, to me it feels like they are done deals. Huws especially can’t wait to tell every microphone how much he wants to be here, Samuel too will possibly be without club if Reading extend their season and succeed. I like both, but feel if we sign Samuel McCarthy will bill it as a marquee signing as a fee will have changed hands. As for Lawrence, we know.

Now, the core, the three keepers Bart, Gerks and Michael Crowe, I think we have been set up to lose Bart with the recent talk, I hope not but it reads that way. I have no reason to think the others will move if that is the case, indeed Dean Gerken's new deal suggests that he is either an unambitious man and willing to bench warm or he has inside knowledge.

The defence will almost certainly see the departure of former Player of the Year Christophe Berra, who has been a shadow of his previous colossus, and “Good to have about the place”, as McCarthy would say, Steven Taylor has to prove he is worth a deal.

Tommy Smith is a stayer and unless something daft happens I expect him and Adam Webster to be our regulars. The Luke Chambers contract saga is worse than an Eastenders storyline but it in itself seems to suggest he is going to be let go, shame if so.

You can expect to see Josh Emmanuel, Myles Kenlock and Jonas Knudsen all here, and probably Jordan Spence too, but 'Diggers' must be fringe enough to trim?

The midfield general that is Cole Skuse is often vilified, but will be here, and I see no reason why not, without him at Rotherham we looked muddled. He may not score screamers but he tackles and blocks, works hard and controls us.

I do however fear for the future of three quite popular members of the squad. Luke Hyam seems to be destined for Colchester, Teddy Bishop for an Instagram modelling contract and fans' favourite Kevin Bru seems, well... asleep.

The bright spark that is Dozzell Jr looks likely to capitalise on the demise of these three, as for Adam McDonnell I don’t know but the boy Kundai Benyu must be in the thoughts. Wing-wise Grant Ward and Danny Rowe could both be entertainment maestros in the new term.

Big Kieffer Moore is an ace in the deck, but as yet we don’t know if we are playing aces high or low, he is both sides of the coin with a fanbase unsure how to deal with a Groot-proportioned target man, who seems to throw in all variations of performances. He could be a £20,000 gem, but he could be Sam Parkin too.

Sears and McGoldrick will both be of interest to suitors, but I can’t see either being moved on without an offer to make your eyes bulge, neither has had a season to make you sit up and pay attention.

As for Pitman, after this weekend I can only imagine he is wanting out, I have seen growbags more lively, and he has developed an attitude which can be spotted by the most short-sighted of spectators, calling his own team mates 'D********' loud enough to be heard over 14,000 ahem sorry 16,000 sold tickets can only escalate when the crowd has 4,000 less noises in it.

I would not care if we failed to spend money. As it's probably going to be another summer without much of a budget, we are going to go for frees and loans, Danny Ward's hamstring possibly preventing his signature early doors. But we are going to have gaps to fill all over the park and with no finances flowing it may be a new 'young' Ipswich we see in August, the likes of Tristan Nydam, Ben Morris, Joe Robinson and Corrie Ndaba getting a chance to make the step up.

Like I said though, if that is the case I would not care if we don’t spend, but that's not for everyone, I just wish the common fan realised that not every club is Barcelona, not every player can be Ronaldo and not every result is like it panned out on Fifa the night before.

For the record though, if I was lucky enough to be controlling me beloved Ipswich, and I was asked where to shop, I do believe I know where a few gems are hidden. As a follower of non league I would happily point to a couple of players at my second team Tranmere. Andy Mangan is handy, Ben Tollitt too, James Wallace promised much in the same team as Max Power a few years ago as well. The latter would also do a job if we could prise him from Wigan.

I may also ask Rotherham about Will Vaulks too as he reminds me of a young Mick Stockwell in his versatility, having played in six different roles for the Millers this term.

In short I guess what I am saying is, keep the faith, we are Ipswich fans because we belong here, it’s easy to support Chelsea, it takes pride, passion, belief and patience to support your real local team.

Sorry for rambling, see you all at both home and away fixtures next year.

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bluelodgeblue added 10:09 - Apr 26
An interesting piece and thank you. However, if we do almost nothing as you say I think Division 1 will be a dead cert! It will just compound what has been happening in the last 3 years....decline.

Radlett_blue added 10:13 - Apr 26
Much good sense there. I'm assuming that as long as Evans doesn't sell the club, Mick will be here next season. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Evans was looking to sell & that's why so many things are unresolved e.g. Chambers' future. If Evans is to remain Town's owner, I don't think he will loosen the purse strings & Bart will be sold to help fund annual losses. However, please don't simply let Mick run down his contract. I can see the worst of all worlds, where we add a few cut price signings e.g. Samuel (Huws will be too expensive) & struggle in lowed mid table.

King_of_Portman_Rd added 11:08 - Apr 26
A good read. A couple of points stick out as being incredibly well put

On Keiffer Moore: "[he] is an ace in the deck, but as yet we don’t know if we are playing aces high or low"

Also "we are Ipswich fans because we belong here, it’s easy to support Chelsea, it takes pride, passion, belief and patience to support your real local team."

And how our patience is being tested season after season..


Ferguson added 11:22 - Apr 26
Very good piece, and totally realistic.
I just hope we keep Bart. SO important that our keeper is a class above the rest of our current side. We need a rock to build a new Fortress Portman Rd on.
Could somebody tell Mick if he's staying and we're looking at mid-table in 17/18, that he has to entertain us with more Newcastle performances in the mix. And if we're doomed to mid table at least have a go in the cup ties that MM dismisses. Remember we were supposed to lose in 78 weren't we.

Keep t he Faith boys and girls.

Ferguson added 11:24 - Apr 26

PortmanTerrorist added 11:34 - Apr 26
A nice piece underpinned by a clear resignation that promotion next season is not even on the agenda. That may be OK for you, and I have still time on my 20 year debenture, but it is why attendances will continue to fall as will our standing in football....and quite possibly the leagues.

Yes we will be there next season, but very much more in hope than expectation......of Championship survival.

terryf added 11:53 - Apr 26
Nice blog...loved the comment about Bru.
Hope you are right about introducing one or two of the younger players into the Team, but if we are not to stagnate Evans needs to splash the cash. I would imagine Huws will be a major priority but doubt Pitman, Williams, Chambers or Berra will be with us.
At the moment I have not renewed my season ticket which after 57 years was a big decision. I love my Club but after watching so much mundane football under McCarthy enough is enough. Sadly if he stays I will not renew because I just cannot see him changing his safety first ways. McCarthy doesn't seem to understand that unless you have a gameplan and create chances you will not score goals and win matches. Looking at the stats for Rotherham, Wigan and Birmingham proves the point.

StowTractorBoy added 11:59 - Apr 26
An excellent piece much of which I agree with. I personally will be sad if Berra leaves as yes he has made mistakes but watch the work rate of the bloke and the battering ram that he is. Although one of our own Tommy Smith always has a mistake in him and is not the answer for me. It will be folly to sell Bart although I think Crowe will eventually be our number one if we don't sell him. Pitmans body language tells us everything and when called upon has rarely impressed so not bothered if he goes as is a Division One player at best. I think last Saturday proved that the youngsters are not as good as we think although 9 changes were absolutely ludicrous when 3/4 would have been sufficient. Bishop looks shot to bits and needs to look at himself but Dozzell is a prospect. We must try and secure Huws, and McGoldrick the classiest player we have must not be allowed to go. A crucial summer in transfer activity lays ahead and we have to hope Evans loosens the purse strings and MM's recruitment is better than has been in the past. If Chambo is to leave then good luck to the bloke. Not the nest player we have had but gave his all for us and is a great Captain. I doubt we will find another Lawrence but Danny Rowe will give his all I'm sure. Lets hope come August we have strengthened wisely and agree with others pay some respect to the Cup competitions for goodness sake.

itsonlyme added 15:35 - Apr 26
Well thought out piece Baltacha. I want to be positive, I really do but I have deep reservations about next season. I bought a three year season ticket, two years ago, so will still be there. I always will! But, like you say, ME will do exactly what he has done in the last few seasons, spend as little as possible! MMc will still be in charge, he was never going to leave, which is very worrying considering all aspects of our play. Can a leopard change his spots and actually entertain all season, or will he continue his obsession of worrying about and matching the opposition. I think we all know the answer to that... I just hope I am wrong. So, I believe, taking all things into account- we will finish no higher than where we are today and probably nearer to 20th than is comfortable!

Slambo added 15:53 - Apr 26
Nice blog, thanks for this..! Agree with everything. Accept that McCarthy's here, get behind him and let's see if we can make a fist of it next season. Crazier things have happened at sea...

One thing's for sure, Teddy Bishop needs a rocket. I've heard from several different sources he's out in clubs all the time, if not necessarily on the sauce, then certainly out til the wee hours. I just don't believe he has really had that many injuries this season. Don't think his heart's in it. Send him out on loan til January and tell him he's got one season left to really start showing what he can do...

Loved the final sentiment about supporting your local team. Absolutely spot on. UPPA TOWEN!!

KiwiBlue2 added 01:50 - Apr 27
Very interesting blog that pretty much sums things up.
I think that we need a spine of experience surrounded by the young and enthusiastic who will give their all. I see the core as being:
Bart (Gerken and Crowe again as back up)
Spence, Emmanuel, Webster, Chambers, Smith, Knudsen, Kenlock, (Digger or Taylor 4th CB - assuming that Berra will go)
Ward, Skuse, Huws (hopefully) Dozzel, Bishop, Benyu, Rowe (plus addition from U23s or outside). Expect Hyam, Bru, Douglas, Coke to go. Williams might be a possibility if cheap enough
McGoldrick, Sears, Pitman (if motivated) plus maybe Moore with Morris added to squad and a new addition from outside e.g. Watkins, Danny Ward
I think that there is some potential there if players are played in their best positions and an open style of football is played. Not all doom and gloom.

Oldsmoker added 09:36 - Apr 27
Every season, 6 games in I do a reccy of the teams in order to spot the 3 that are worse than us. My 3 this season was Rotherham, Burton and Wolves. I was wrong of course but I'm still confident that there will be 3 worse teams than Town next season. I used to look at which teams were better than us that might deny us a play-off place.
Its not a happy state of affairs to see a successful season as not being relegated but that is probably my expectations for next season.

Kitman added 14:00 - Apr 28
Well written, good knowledge of the overall squad but must admit to trying to find a positive message in there for next season. Perhaps I should take time out to read it again? As for "my second team, Tranmere." 'friad you've lost me there...

BaltachaFanClub added 21:36 - May 4
Thanks for all your comments, I do hope we have a cracking season next year and all enjoy it..

oh, and Kitman, I have an affinity for the mighty Superwhite Army, based on so many coincidences it had to be (second) love..... but I only really support one team.
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