|This Might Rub You Up the Wrong Way, it Might Not!|
Written by delias_cheesy_flaps on Tuesday, 20th Feb 2018 16:22
“What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes. It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city. It’s a small boy clambering up the stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him, and without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”
Wise words from Sir Bobby indeed. Like all fans and followers of any football club you want your team to win every game, I still want us to win every game, but I’m also realistic that would never be possible, so you settle for the next best thing which is to be entertained when you watch a game of football on that 'hallowed stretch of turf', not difficult you would hope.
I recall my first game at Portman Road on 25th September 1976, I attended that game as an Arsenal fan to watch my heroes take on a local team called Ipswich Town, a team I had given little or no thought too previously being 11 years of age and brainwashed into following BIG clubs.
However, I ended up coming out of that game an Ipswich fan forever more, we not only beat an Arsenal side full of international players 3-1 we played them of the park and took Arsenal to pieces with an attacking, entertaining brand of football I’d not seen before.
From that day on, for the most part (1976 to 2006) following Ipswich Town overland and overseas (as the old chant goes) was for the most part entertaining week in, week out but you did have the frustrating and depressing periods which is all part and parcel of football’s ups and downs. But we always had a chink of light at the end of the tunnel, be it the Cobbolds, Sheepshanks or one of the many decent managers to fall back on, to make us fans think yeah it might be bad at present, but these guys will turn it around and for the most part they did.
Granted we had the occasional blip with the derided John Duncan at the helm or so we thought at the time, but looking at his win ratio of 45.3 per cent compared to our last three incumbents who can only muster 34 per cent (both Roy Keane and Paul Jewell) and 38 per cent (Mick McCarthy) respectively perhaps Duncan wasn’t as bad as we thought or still think, albeit the football was not great it was still a damn site better than the last few years we as fans have had to endure.
Unfortunately, with our current owner and manager I don’t see a glimmer of hope let alone a chink of light. We have an owner who makes Howard Hughes look like a hogger of the limelight and whose choice of manager has been shall we say less than impressive.
Current manager McCarthy to his credit has had little in way of funds to work with has done an admirable job when compared against the millions squandered by his predecessors, but that is where my adulation for McCarthy stops.
Unfortunately, I like many other Ipswich supporters find myself totally disenchanted with the direction (or lack of) that our football club and team has taken during the tenure of Marcus Evans and current manager McCarthy, with that disenchantment I have found that my enthusiasm for our once renowned club diminished to the point where many fans like myself no longer go to Portman Road.
My last game at Portman Road was an abysmal Tuesday night almost two years ago against Hull. There were six of us that night all Town fans of 40 years or more all stalwarts of the North or Churchman's stands. We'd been out all afternoon celebrating my 51st birthday and had a great day in Ipswich up to the point the whistle blew for the start of the match.
From 7.45 until the final whistle (apart from half-time beers) it was another abysmal, unentertaining, turgid non-event, with the only team trying to pass the ball being the opposition and Ipswich yet again not registering a single shot on target during the match. Yet another bore-fest, a regular occurrence and the final nail in the coffin as far as wasting our time and money physically supporting Ipswich Town.
Football is for all intents and purposes an entertainment business with hard working people (fans) devoting their time and in most cases hard-earned money to a cause they believe in, however there must come a point when that cause you support consistently fails to deliver any tangible benefit to you, you then have to ask yourself do I really want to continue to donate my time and money?
That night on the 23rd February 2016 was the tipping point for six long-standing Ipswich supporters (with more than 250 years of watching and following Ipswich Town) who all vowed after that match not to go back until McCarthy was gone as we could not stomach paying to watch football with little or no entertainment or attacking intent.
Since that fateful night not one of us has returned to Portman Road, however even I must admit I thought we would have been back by now as I was confident McCarthy would have been long gone, surely our supporters wouldn’t put up with the lack of entertainment or footballing prowess for much longer, I know us Suffolk folk are a polite bunch but even I’m surprised he’s still here!
The money all six of us missing fans would have spent in supporting our club now goes to supporting local non-league teams, we still have a good day out and the standard of football isn’t much lower than what our current squad plays, with the odd exception of a gifted loanee or homegrown talent (when given a chance).
I know we’re not alone in our decision as the gates at Portman Road have continually fallen at a cost not only in gate receipts or season ticket sales, but this also then impacts sales at the ground an extra source of revenue the club could well do without losing.
I have previously purchased corporate boxes with the club for my business, however they have also lost this income and the possibility of receiving new business from my guests and any future purchases from my company until a change is made.
Following on from Sunday's foul-mouthed expletive, which in my opinion WAS definitely aimed at our own supporters by McCarthy, things have now hit an all-time low between supporters and manager IMHO.
Evans needs to act quickly to stop this club haemorrhaging more supporters and lost revenue, I really do fear that the option of another two years of McCarthy will drive the current attendance figures, season ticket sales and fan division to unparalleled depths which we as a football club may never recover from.
McCarthy is not the sole problem at Ipswich Town Football Club, he just happens to be the current ill-judged incumbent of a post that our illustrious recluse of an owner has mismanaged in his decade since taking power, the culmination of which has been coming to a head one ill-fated appointment after another. Couple this year on year with the ever-decreasing decline in entertaining football and it’s no wonder our club is in turmoil.
The fans have had enough of each other’s opinions on what’s best for our club, you never will have 100 per cent agreement that’s just the way life is. But the majority I believe want shot of McCarthy and are heading that way on Evans. Fans have already voted with their feet.
As at any club you will have your diehard fans who will support the club through thick or thin no matter how bad things get, that’s a good thing. However, blind faith doesn’t make it right, but couple that faith with a degree of common sense and to not fear change and perhaps things might get better not worse?
This is the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to offer an opinion (if you’ve read this all the way through, then well done) but enough is enough, it’s time to get this once envied club of ours back on its feet and the divisive element needs to be removed from our club. Thanks for your efforts Mick but your time, like your footballing ethos has had its day.
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Blogs by delias_cheesy_flaps
Blogs 252 bloggers
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In 2012 I purchased a three-bedroom house just outside Ipswich town centre.