|It is a Question of Caring and Camps|
Written by TimS on Sunday, 10th Mar 2019 23:24
I accept that it is very different following Town away from Suffolk. You do not pick up on the mood on the street in Suffolk and there is something very different thinking about your club through the media whether Town are playing in Suffolk or throughout the UK.
When I am back in Ipswich, all stuff to do with ITFC is always in the background as you travel around our town or across Suffolk, even though the club still makes Portman Road have the same atmosphere as a derelict shop outside match days. So, without anyone telling you that everything is alright, little dramas turn into a major crisis.
As I tried to clear up paperwork in the flat on Saturday afternoon, I anxiously turned on a post-match phone in on a local BBC radio station. It felt like a parallel universe as someone wondered who would be player of the season this year.
Then a fan from Braintree engaged in light banter with Mick Mills about whether he was born and raised in Dorset. Local radio can be a comforting duvet covering you from the worries of the world (and there is so much to worry about in the world at the moment) but this bit of radio felt utterly surreal.
I have always been a bit of a worrier and I can let the ups and downs of Ipswich Town Football Club get to me in a way which is probably not worth it. I have come out of recent games utterly outraged by the state of the club but as I walk up West End Road watching Town fans stroll up to their parked cars without seeming a care in the world, I wonder whether I should care.
After listening to a slice of local radio life, I am starting to bother whether I should worry about the club in 2019. Calls home to Suffolk have been made in despair this season but it is not clear to me whether any other fan feels the same.
For a club that at 9.30pm on Sunday 10 March 2019 (10 MARCH!!!) has won three games all season, that is a shameful return; an embarrasing return, but maybe everything is OK. Again I start to wonder again why I should care and maybe I should just carrying on training for my next half marathon.
It seems that we are moving into a number of different camps:
- We are falling back into remembering the good times that for many fans under the age of 45 are just folklore passed down by parents and grandparents. I notice that the club does not seem to waste any opportunity crowbaring another reference to the 1978 FA Cup or 1981 UEFA Cup triumph into the season, and we lap it up like puppy dogs forgeting the miserable state of our club around forty years on.
- We just accept that we had a not very good season and slump sadly with a heavy Suffolk sigh into League One but with a happy heart that we will still have a club to be an entertaining venue for a Saturday afternoon social. There is no questioning about the season. There is no questioning about how we have only won three games all season. We just accept our fate and look forward to starting our FA Cup run in November.
- We accept that modern football has changed and we just have to accept that we will never progress from the miserable abject position where we are at the moment. We bemoan the 'crazy' money in the game and how things are so different compared to 1978 (there is that year again), and we pay thanks to Marcus Evans for being our financial saviour without any question about his chairmanship of the club.
- We bang on about the 'Ipswich way' talking about how our youngsters will take League One by storm, and take us back to the Championship because we are a "massive" club who deserve to be back in the Championship or maybe the Premier League. I was 39 last month. I still do not know hat the 'Ipswich way' is and I still do not really know whether there was an 'Ipswich way' at Portman Road even 40 years ago.
- We rant about previous managers and current club captains personally blaming them for the club's ills. We ignore the current return of the current manager because he sounds good on television and radio and tells us fans that we are "unbelievable."
- We rant about luck and the failure of Town to enjoy the 'rub of the green' in too many games this season and it is just bad luck that Town are crashing to a tier of football that was last seen when my dad was 11, my uncle was 23, colour TV was nothing more than sci-fi, steam trains ran through Ipswich to London and Anglia Television did not exist. We blame the referees, blame the last-minute goals on divine intervention and forget football is about training and practice; something meant to happen at Playford Road this season.
What would pain me is that debate is totally shut down whether amongst fans, the media or by the club and we move onto the 2019/20 campaign as if nothing has remotely gone wrong in fortress Portman Road this season.
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