|Sleep is the Cousin of Life|
Written by Hullblue on Tuesday, 19th Feb 2019 18:44
A friend of mine can only drift off with the vacuum on. Old wives recommend counting sheep. And people who are unkind to themselves wrestle with tiny embarrassments from ten years ago.
But personally, when I’m trying to reach the promised land of Sleep City, I name Ipswich Town starting XIs from back to front.
You can imagine this tactic working well under Mick McCarthy. I’d start with Bart, with his safe hands and his stock model beard.
I’d roll through our low-brow back four as my heartbeat started to slow, relaxing in the knowledge that when the time came, they’d stick it in row Z.
Jay Tabb settled on the left hand side of midfield, like the most diligent of all oompa loompas. Won’t let us down, Ol’ Tabby. Couldn’t open my eyes if I tried.
I only paused when I got to David McGoldrick. I’d think about that time he made two Norwich defenders collide, like trolleys dashed into each other by hoodies in a multi-story car park. I’d think about that assist at Millwall where it seemed like he’d predicted the future. Sometimes I’d pray he wouldn’t get injured. More often, I’d hope he recovered from his current injury faster than expected.
I rarely got as far as Daryl Murphy before it was mission accomplished. And that’s probably for the best, as his less subtle talents are hardly sleep inspiring. They’re the kind of thing you think about when you’re knocking a wall down, calling your phone company’s complaints line, or psyching yourself up to confront your rowdy neighbours. What would Daryl do? Leap above them in slow motion, crash through their back, and stick Mr Matthews from no.43 in the top corner probably.
It would be restating the obvious to say that he and McGoldrick were necessary sparks in what was a functional team. Which ultimately, is why Mick is no longer with us – cast out to Ireland like a king who told the tax-paying public they knew nothing about invading France, they’d never whittled their own arrows, and they should eff off back to whatever mead-filled watering hole they came from.
It would probably also be obvious to state that Paul Hurst’s team didn’t have the same sleepy effect on me. Partly because I struggled to remember the names of the four thousand signings we’d made, and partly because my heartbeat shot up again whenever I thought of Janoi Donacien fighting the natural inclinations of his own legs against Blackburn at home.
Paul Lambert’s team hasn’t quite lulled me off yet either. There has been a renewed sense of togetherness, and an attractive style of play.
Teddy Bishop just played two full games in a row, which actually makes me suspect that my whole life might be a dream. But none of these things are calming enough in themselves – and if I were to dwell on Jonas Knudsen’s mistake against Stoke, I fear the rest of my life would be spent awake and red-eyed, whispering to myself about communication, and getting rid of it, and couldn’t he have just... anyway.
So instead, I name a team of all the young players I know of. It goes like this: Wright, Emmanuel, Woolfenden, another centre back, Kenlock; Dozzell (at the base of a diamond), Nydam, Downes, Bishop (at the tip); Lankester, Morris.
And that team, ladies and gentlemen, does the trick. At least from the midfield onwards it does. It’s partly the thought of them all playing together one day, but it’s also just the value they represent.
Whether they all stick together for the next ten years, half of them forget how to play football, or they’re all swiped away from us by Premier League clubs, this group is a sign that we’ve done one thing right in the last decade. We’re still Ipswich Town. And one day, we’ll be back at the top of the… zzzzzz.
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