To have grown weary of football by the age of 22 is a sign of how much Supple was struggling with attitudes within professional football, as team-mates complained of their holidays being cut short by being in the play-offs and played for themselves rather than the team. It wasn’t just Ipswich that had problems but also Falkirk and Oldham, where Supple enjoyed loan spells.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing around the first-team dressing room. I couldn’t believe the attitude towards the game; I was young and naive coming from Ireland, we’ve got gaelic football and hurling here, you play for your one club for your whole life and you do everything for the club.
“In football, a lot of the lads move around so much, they don’t really have an attachment to the club, so it was difficult for me to understand, and I started to get doubts around then, but I tried to put it out of my head as I enjoyed the playing the game. I was then starting to get games and I was taking it one at a time but things started to develop from there, the manager left, new management came in and I wasn’t playing as much.
“I was loaned out and I was still seeing the same things, I just couldn’t get my head around it, about how much people look after themselves. They didn’t care about their team-mates or even staff, they were just watching their own back, which wouldn’t be my way of doing things.”
Supple had made his first-team debut aged just 18 and kept the No.1 shirt for half the season, an impressive feat for a teenager in the Championship. But even at that age he didn’t feel like his dreams had come true.
“A lot of it would be the coaching staff saying one thing to your face and another behind your back, so it was hard to trust anyone, players as well. There were a lot of lads looking after themselves making sure they got the next contract, not working together as a team a lot of the time.
“There was a lot of individualism in the game and it was hard to create that team spirit, something I had in the different teams I played in when I was growing up. You need that camaraderie to be successful. You need to fight for each other and I couldn’t see that in England and I didn’t want to be part of it going forward.”