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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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ronnyd added 17:30 - Feb 20
Good read, can,t really disagree with any of your points.

carlisleaway added 18:09 - Feb 20
Fantastic read and spot on in so many ways.

Kuqicoo added 18:42 - Feb 20
That article is spot on. Change is badly needed. It's sad so many have stayed away...But I can't blame them at all.

Slambo added 20:02 - Feb 20
Firstly, your name and profile pic is the best i've ever seen on this website, and expect to ever see...

Sadly, your viewpoint is one i'm gradually starting to share. The club is being hollowed out and I have a horrible, horrible feeling that it's going to get worse before it gets better. That said, I am one of the diehards and we could drop to the bloody Ryman Premier and i'd still be turning up. I have a firm belief that the more suffering I put myself through now, the sweeter it will be when the good times return. I watched Sunday's game wearing a pair of horsehair underpants, for example...

If you want a rainbow, you have to put up with the rain. D'you know what 'philosopher' said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she's just a big pair of t*ts...

liam88 added 20:21 - Feb 20
Great read, agree with everything. Change now!

Northstandveteran added 20:44 - Feb 20
I am in total agreement with this post.
As well I suspect, several thousand town fans that can no longer find the will or enthusiasm to attend.
It costs a lot of money to watch football these days, it should be an enjoyable experience not one of abject misery as it has been for me the few times I have been to Portman road over the last 10 years.

stevieiriswattii added 20:56 - Feb 20
Well written & sums up my thoughts over the past couple of years. Interesting that you mention John Duncan. At the time it seemed a reasonable time (particularly as I was an impressionable teenager) and with the emergence of Dalian Atkinson. Now with hindsight the football was rather agricultural. However it was like watching Brazil, compared to the unbearable dross served up now. It isn't all McCarthy's fault, but he continually burns his bridges with the fans and I won't return until he has gone. The concern is, will I return after that? The club itself seems lost and out of touch, with little interest in considering the supporters. For the first time in my life, I am not excited, nervous or really that interested In my beloved Ipswich (apart from Nodge games). With McCarthy gone, well, at least there may be a glimmer of hope.


Daleyitfc added 22:43 - Feb 20
Spot on.

BigscarfAl added 10:36 - Feb 21
Excellent blog, summed up my thoughts as well. Up to the QPR away game just over a year ago I was in the "undecided camp" on Mick, however that game was just too much. He must go! Mr Evans please act now.

shaunmahony added 11:51 - Feb 21
Excellent very logical and rational summary of where we are and why change is essential. I live in the north west and am still undecided as to whether to go to Preston Saturday - it looks like the action will be livelier off the pitch than on it!

MedwayTractor added 13:50 - Feb 21
I couldn't put it any better. The last game I attended was the home defeat by Rotherham the following month. I've just checked the Pride of Anglia report on that match, three interesting facts for you: the attendance on a cold march evening was over 20,000 (that's if attendance figures are to be believed); Liam Feeney made his loan debut at half time, started tearing Rotherham apart from the right wing, then was switched to the left wing & virtually disappeared (guess who he plays for now); the opposition manager was Neil Warnock.

I'm just hoping that Cardiff don't do a similar job on us tonight.

That Rotherham match wasn't the first under McCarthy which I left feeling utterly deflated by the poor quality football (let alone the result), but I knew that enough was enough. I know that others spend more time and money following Town than I do, but we all make choices in our lives. I resolved then stay away until McCarthy has gone. Let's hope there'e no more than another 14 matches to go, maybe fewer.

FrankBrogan added 14:29 - Feb 21
In August 1967 I was that small boy mentioned above in your blog. I have totally lived and breathed Ipswich Town since that day. Sang, shouted , cheered and cried. All emotions but now like you i am engulfed in apathy and sadness. I wont go to games anymore its far too painful and I dont need that stress in my life. I follow the results and instead of being upset and angry when we lose. I now just shrug my shoulders. and get on with life. I still love ITFC but I dont love my football club anymore. I doublt I everwill until there is change in a positive manner. I have said goodbye to the passion I used to feel. I wish McCarthy and Evans would say goodbyre too!!! Excellent Blog and so very true. Thank You.

Orraman added 18:10 - Feb 21
Absolutely excellent and spot on blog - one of the best I have ever read on here. For me, the tipping point was the 0-0 draw against Burton. I have struggled on against my better judgement for the past 18 months, but tonight I will not be attending the Cardiff game.
This will be the first game I have voluntarily missed in 36 years. The only others, and there are only a few, were due to work commitments or illness, and as I write I do not feel any pangs of regret. I will be back as soon as MM has gone and hope that many more current absentees will return as well as the Club begins its long journey back to what we all recognise as Ipswich Town FC.

SickParrot added 19:38 - Feb 21
Great blog which echoes my own feelings. I did not renew my season ticket for 2016/17 and I too vowed that I would not go to another game whilst the arrogant, beligerant old dinosaur was still the manager. I relented once last season and that game was awful. I can't even bear to watch when we are on TV anymore!

bressinghamblue added 23:15 - Feb 21
Brilliant post. Echoes my sentiments. I just took a year longer to fall out of love. In my most painful email ever, I informed ITFC Ticket Office of the sole reason for my season ticket cancellation (MM) and requested that they add me to their ‘call me when Mick leaves’ list. I got a lovely reply saying that they fully understood, and would do so!

If only the arrogant one and the scarlet pimpernel would realise how simple it would be to get many thousand true blue fans back onside.

BaaBaaBlue added 23:37 - Feb 21
Whole heartedly agree with this blog.. but how do we go about changing things?
As we're so polite, do we just wait around.. perhaps a season or two until the attendance is below 10k?

I am totally at a loss with Marcus Evans, forget McCarthy for a minute.. I cannot for the life of me understand what his plan for our club might possibly be..
Who on earth runs any kind of business this way?

I genuinely would rather drop a division and have an owner that attempts to engage with the fans (I know most would disagree with that notion though)

If someone comes up with a brainwave on how we can start to get our club back to being the happy place of my community then please tell me..

DurhamTownFan added 12:35 - Feb 22
Brilliant blog. So sad that I agree with it all. Judging by last nights attendance, it seems plenty of fans agree too.

So sad to watch our club slowly die without being able to do anything except leave :-(

tractorboybig added 15:10 - Feb 22
A true blog, but surely the reality of all this is that sheepshank and his cronies killed us and you could argue that the only reason we exist is because of evans, His choice of managers and sacking of jim were all disasters, and is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

BlueArrow added 16:39 - Feb 22
Well said that man. If only the powers that be could read and take immediate action. I stopped going after the three nil home defeat to Derby. I'm up for a plan of action too if anyone has some ideas.

Felstow1978 added 23:15 - Feb 23
Well written blog. Sadly, very sadly, it sums up to a T how I feel. I too have not renewed my two season tickets with a vow to stay away as long as MM remains in charge. And my Saturdays are likewise spent enjoyably watching non-league football. Keep the faith, all things in life run in cycles ...

MathieandMarshall added 12:57 - Mar 1
I love that Bobby Robson quote and as a father of two young boys I cannot wait for the day that I get to walk one of them into the ground and share that first moment with them.

Like you, I had my first as a Non Ipswich Town supporter having been raised as a West Ham fan by my Hammers mad Dad. It was a Tuesday night under the floodlights in 1993 vs QPR and finished 1-1. From that moment I was hooked! I broke the news to my Dad the following day that I was to become an Ipswich Town supporter. He barely spoke to me for 24 hours but eventually came round to the idea and we went to many games together (i'd even join him at Upton Park occasionally to return the favour)

I am fortunate enough to have experienced the George Burley years and that incredible first season in the Premiership where I travelled to the majority of the away games too. I now however find myself stood in the Lower SPR bored and wondering why I am not somewhere else. Even a goal these days is met with a half hearted celebration. I wonder if my boys will even want to watch Ipswich Town and I cant say i'd blame them if they chose another team. We face a lost generation of future supporters if nothing changes. The stadium is as lifeless as the performance the majority of the time.

Good read! and agree... great name and profile pic

phil_itfc_brown added 09:29 - Mar 2
a great blog which i totally agree with, you are not alone with deciding not to watch the games anymore, i used to go with my dad to most home games he was a season ticket holder, we would always meet up with 5 or 6 of his mates who were long term season ticket holders... all of them gave them up and dont watch ITFC anymore, i did manage to drag my dad and kids to the recent Burton game... wish i hadnt... I just want to see different brand of football - the passing game the attacking game.. to be honest if a new manager came in and we were playing good football but got relegated i actually think i would prefer it!! also why not give all these very good youngsters some game time now? our season is pretty much over so give them a go!!
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