Written by Moggasknockdown on Wednesday, 25th Nov 2020 18:08
It is a bitterly disheartening experience supporting Ipswich. At every sliding doors moment in our recent history we have taken the wrong path, at every opportunity for schadenfreude an ex-player will decisively score, or create or generally remind us all that they are happier now, away from the depressing, soul-destroying experience that was their Ipswich career.
The media spite has tailed off- we are now becoming an increasing irrelevance in the messy boglands of League One.
The truth is, we have been led blindly by an owner whose ambivalence to the club has seen a succession of awful appointments (Mick McCarthy aside), and an inevitable slide into the third tier.
Whilst clearly not in the league of some awful owners, Marcus Evans is also not the great altruistic saviour of our club that some seem intent on peddling. He is now wed in a marriage of utter inconvenience with his asset draining profits year on year, and little hope of a buyer to take the burden away from him.
We have had five-point plans, five-year deals and new eras. It is all spin and deflection - there is no plan; the club is not fit for purpose. The Emperor is naked.
Paul Lambert is clearly floundering and has been for a while. It is the mercy of circumstance that he still finds himself gainfully employed- perhaps though, this is just another sliding door moment in the sad story of Ipswich Town.
It is clear, that if this owner was engaged and motivated for success, he would not tolerate the slumps in form that saw us exit the Championship with a whimper or drop like a stone to 11th last year.
He would look at the models of football clubs with modicums of relative success and seek counsel in their methods and structure and seek to put something in place at Ipswich that is becoming of a football club that matters to so many people.
Instead he has listened to the wrong people and tried to exist on the cheap, relying on his managers to operate the whole club whilst he runs it from afar. It worked with McCarthy, it has not with the others. The death by a thousand cuts analogy is well used, but the most accurate and stinging portrayal of a club in terminal decline.
Evans has overseen a dismantling of expectations and ambition over his tenure of the club. He bought the club in 2009 and all of its debt. He presumably did due diligence prior to his purchase. He has chosen this model; he has chosen not to change it. Previous circumstances are off the table, like a Government that like to blame the previous one: he owns this mess; both our current predicament and trajectory.
The club is now at an existential crossroads with a post-covid salary cap on the horizon and many of the squad out of contract, who can bet on the club getting it right and rebuilding effectively with effective player recruitment?
Lambert's lurching from constant tinkering last season to a rigid possession-based team has borne the same poor result. He surely must go - he has been afforded time, but any sane individual can see that it is not working.
He tapped into something unique with the fans, an obscure connection that seemed to galvanise the club at its lowest ebb, but he has shown himself incapable of arresting the decline.
His comments post-match are increasingly irritable with ill-conceived verbal attacks on our younger players which are damaging and irresponsible with little ire directed at his senior players, most of whom continue to flatter to deceive.
There have been patches of positivity, but the same problems remain that have haunted the Lambert tenure for two years remain - bad in both boxes.
Injuries have played their part - we have a wretched record in that department (which points to more to fundamental issues with our sports science and rehabilitation rather than just blind bad luck), but the lack of pattern and consistent failure to step up and beat a supposed rival is ingrained.
A final ‘Hail Mary’ needs to be thrown by Evans if we are to stand any chance of success this year. A new manager is needed - someone on the up with something to prove, for whom managing Ipswich Town would be a logical stepping stone to bigger and better things. I fear, however, that his next move is to promote from within, a cheap option and fraught with danger.
This all hurts and frustrates so many of us so deeply. I, like many others, am afflicted by a terrible compulsion that means I simply have to sit and watch us fall apart on a Tuesday night, like some sort of act of self-harm that I am incapable of stopping.
In short, I am hopelessly devoted to something that of late has given me nothing but misery. We are all desperate for a modicum of success, even if it takes a few years to realise, but we need to see something tangible on the pitch, building something meaningful that provides genuine hope that we can be be moderately successful and give the fans something to be proud of.
The Wembley 2000 documentary brought this to the fore - the tears shed watching that were really a realisation of the five-year journey than the day itself. All we can all do is hope that Marcus has watched this too or at the very least has some people in his ear that want the best for this great club, and he finally listens.
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