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Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative and Don’t Mess with Mr Inbetween
Written by dusth on Monday, 2nd Aug 2021 17:50

Tracking through the forums and reading the comments on TWTD is a weird rollercoaster these days, more extremely polarised and more vitriolic than I can remember. We’ve never fallen so far and regretted it so much.

I am in my early seventies and have supported Ipswich from when they won the Second Division in 1961. I was at school in Wakefield, Yorkshire where my dad was a teacher, but we spent all our summer holidays since I was five camping on an old farm by the river Deben.

Back home all my school mates in Wakefield were Leeds United supporters and pretty much obnoxious, though some were Barnsley fans, though they kept fairly quiet.

Sometime in autumn 1961, I shyly let slip I supported Ipswich. Frankly my reason to support them was random – to have a Football Team. Though when my parents moved to Suffolk in the late sixties I could at last claim them by right.

It wasn’t that long before my Wakefield mates, who followed the soccer scores more closely than I did, haughtily informed me that Ipswich had drawn one and lost two of their first four games and were being tipped for instant relegation.

I went negative and kept my head down but in late September ‘61 my mate Richard Carter, a renegade Barnsleyite, asked me if I wanted to come and see Ipswich at Hillsborough. I’d actually never seen Town. I had no idea what to expect and negatively hadn’t been keeping up with the league table.

Ipswich spanked Wednesday 4-1. In memory now it’s a blur, Jimmy Leadbetter’s thinning sandy hair and spindly legs, Roy Stephenson bombing down the right and Ipswich passing in triangles, toying with them.

The goals when they came in the first half were explosive but I was at the wrong end. Town were emphatically not lightweights. After the game Carter’s dad turned to him and said, “Well at least we’ve seen one footballing side this year.”

I couldn’t see another game all season. But in the balmy late summer of ’62 I went to Portman Road with my Suffolk mate Nick Mason to see the Charity Shield where we got clinically taken apart by Spurs - 5-1! The negativity was so intense from this supporter who had only been to two games, I have actually come to believe that I was personally responsible for the force field that dragged Town immediately back to Division Two.

Now it’s clear that the new manager and administrators have latched onto the negativity. They want us to get behind the team when we return. Understandable but given the history of town supporters, a bit of a cheek.

The despised 'negatives' are just rational people with broken hearts and those of us who have tried to stay cheerful have increasingly had to lie to ourselves that things would turn around or even that the new managers tactics have been flawless.

Yet, unsurprisingly, for the third year, as autumn approaches the 'positives' spring out from where they were hiding in the warmer months - “Can’t wait for this season to begin”, “promotion is nailed on” while the other lot, the Eeyores, try to spray everyone with ice cold soda, “I am unimpressed!” And don’t mention the 'budget rolls' as I call them (say it quickly and you’ll get it).

Some of them are clearly negatives that have become so twisted by shame and frustration that they actually sound like Norwich supporters. Winning obviously makes happy boys and girls but do some teams have less positive supporters than others?

If so I wouldn’t put Ipswich in the negative box. I remember when Alex Ferguson came to town in the inaugural Premier League season and I swear Portman Road blew up a little hell for Man United and Ferguson admitted we were all in his face. And it’s true of many many games I can remember.

Most of us saw plenty of Town in the last year courtesy of <i>iFollow</i> so maybe shouting at the computer wasn’t enough. Cynics are after all just disappointed romantics. If we’d been able to get to Portman Road maybe the extra dose of bile and frankly twittishly dim abuse of the players would have been diluted. Everything is hyper online where comments hang in the air like rank smells.

So are people born one side or the other side of the positivity graph or do they just get that way? Will fans prove Paul Cook wrong in the Big Return and give Ipswich an extra player even when we’re losing?

There’s a story about a posh London psychiatrist who was treating two 11-year-old twins. One of them was a pessimist who never enjoyed anything, while the other was a dangerously over-confident optimist who was always on the edge of disaster.

The old shrink believed extreme measures would make both children happier. When Xmas approached he told the parents to give the pessimist who was never satisfied, everything on that long, long present list, but give the optimist crap.

The day came and the psychiatrist was invited round for drinks. He asked the pessimist what kind of a Xmas it was. Had to be the best, yeah?. “No,” said the pessimist, “I ate all my sweets and I threw up. I can’t stand the colour of my new bike and my Playstation will be out of date in a year or two. I HATE XMAS!”.

The shrink was seriously worried until the optimist entered, dragging a huge sack of what whiffed like manure. “So how’s it going, not so great, eh?” “You’re joking,“ says the optimist kid “my Mum and Dad have bought me a PONY, but I haven’t found it yet!”




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Edmundo added 14:20 - Aug 5
Good to know polarised opinions aren't just a product of the internet age. This book https://www.waterstones.com/book/outraged/ashley-dotty-charles/9781526605078 tries to illustrate why we are all so sensitive to it nowadays though.
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dusth added 17:48 - Aug 6
Pre the Net, Outraged of Tunbridge Wells just wrote a letter to the Times and was quickly forgotten. Nowadays he'd have an army in 24 hours.
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Ipswichbusiness added 11:00 - Aug 12
Unfortunately, some posters on this site seem to believe that if they disagree with someone then that gives them the right to insult them. Fair enough to disagree, but let’s try to do so without being rude.

Incidentally, someone once said that “pessimist” is a word used by optimists to describe realists!
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dude added 12:29 - Sep 12
Thoughtful and intelligent read. Thanks forking the time.
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