|Rise and Fall|
Written by NormEmerges on Sunday, 21st Apr 2019 14:39
Like my father, I was born and bred in Suffolk. He was a lifetime Ipswich Town supporter. But when I was a boy, back in the 1950s, like many small boys I followed clubs at the top of the old First Division.
At the time, I recall, I was particularly fond of Burnley and then Wolves – things were a bit different at the top of the league in those days.
Wolves attracted my attention because I liked the colour of the shirt and because I liked animals. Such is the way with small boys.
Then Ipswich got promoted to the Second Division and in the first season there my father took me to see my first league match. I think it was against Blackburn and we won 2-1. I was completely hooked and have been an avid supporter ever since.
I was enthralled by our promotion and then our stunning success under Alf Ramsey, as the only team to win the old First Division on their first ever season in it, and then disappointed at our relegation again almost straight away. And then delighted when we got back into the top flight, and began to flourish under Bobby Robson.
I had to watch Match of the Day on my honeymoon night as the featured match involved Ipswich Town. I was riveted watching us on the telly win the FA Cup and then the UEFA Cup.
Amazingly, we never lost at home in any of the European competitions, having beaten at Portman Road the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and both Milan clubs.
Then we lost Bobby Robson and the big money started to sideline smaller clubs. We sank back into the Championship and there we’ve largely stayed ever since. Until now.
Being a football supporter is a strange thing. Unless you support one of the top clubs, which most of us don’t, you have to be used to disappointment.
A friend of mine has been a lifelong supporter of Manchester United, despite never having been to Manchester. Like me, as a small boy, he followed one of the top teams, but unlike me never grew out of it.
He is now disgruntled at the lack of success of his club – this for a team still vying for the top places in the league and still regularly playing in Europe. He should be so lucky.
The rest of us learn to accept that our teams’ fortunes ebb and flow from year to year. We learn to accept disasters, even ones like getting relegated, and keep looking to the future with undimmed optimism, even when unsupported by realistic assessments of the facts.
That's how come I’m now already looking forward to next season. Perhaps we’ll be winning regularly again and Saturday afternoons will be less dampened by disappointment.
We do after all have some very promising youngsters who should be improving year on year. We have some decent quality Championship players who have spent far too much of this season in the treatment room. We have the facilities, the stadium, and, I trust, a canny manager.
We may be in a lower position than at any time for the past 60-odd years, but I feel the opportunity for success is better than for at least the last 20 or so!
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Blogs by NormEmerges
Blogs 269 bloggers
The Beat One Year On by ElephantintheRoom
Kevin Beattie died in September last year. He is by some distance the most popular player in the club’s history. Any poll on Town’s greatest player will be won at a canter by Beattie. He’s destined to be the first player to have a statue in his honour (if the somewhat radical design doesn’t make it look like he’s slipped off his pedestal).
Does the NFL Point to Football’s Future? by ElephantintheRoom
We live in strange times. Town’s embarrassing embarrassment of recent Premier League and Championship play-off bogeymen Bolton Wanderers highlighted the massive financial and ethical problems now facing football, eloquently discussed in the recent blog by Stowmarket.
Hello Old Friend - AFC Wimbledon Home Preview by portmantales
AFC Wimbledon make their first ever trip down to Portman Road in their current guise tonight on the back of the greatest escape in their club’s short history.
Football's Financial Crisis by Stowmarket
I have been watching English football for over 40 years, from top-tier to non-league. In that time it has faced many low points, including mass hooliganism and stadium deaths in tragedies such as Hillsborough and Valley Parade.
Green’Un With Envy by ElephantintheRoom
I guess you have to be of a certain age to remember the Green’Un. Those brought up in the era of the Internet might struggle to understand the excitement of hearing a possibly still-damp newspaper of greenish hue drop through the letter box on a Saturday evening.