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Skuse: Hugely Disappointing, We Can Only Apologise
Friday, 5th Jun 2020 11:01

Vice-captain Cole Skuse admits the Blues’ season will have been “hugely disappointing” if the League One campaign is curtailed and they finish 11th on unweighted points per game, as appears likely, and issued an apology for what would be the club’s lowest position for 67 years.

The EFL clubs will hold an EGM on Tuesday where League One clubs are set to vote on the way forward for the division with it anticipated that 2019/20 will be curtailed and settled on unweighted points per game.

Town were 10th in the table when the season was halted on March 13th but would drop a place under the EFL's preferred formula for deciding placings, promotion and relegation. Eleventh would be the Blues' lowest finish since they ended the 1952/53 campaign 16th in Division Three South back in Scott Duncan's time as manager.

“If they’re going to finish the season on this unweighted points per game and we finish 11th, it’s outrageous really considering we were top of the league for some spell at the beginning of the season and as a group it’s hugely disappointing to see that, to finish the season, to finish where we were,” Skuse said in a lengthy interview with BBC Radio Suffolk (1hr 7mins 25secs).

“To not even be in with a chance of reaching the play-offs is hugely disappointing from our standpoint and we can only apologise to everyone for that.

“If the season restarts, it restarts [but if not] we’ll be having a good go to finish far better next season.”

The 34-year-old admits it’s been a frustrating period not knowing when or whether the campaign might resume.

“It’s like anything in the world, as much as we want the football season back there are greater things that need deciding first,” he reflected.

“But from a football standpoint, it’s just the prolonging of it, it’s the unknown. I know they can’t just come out and say ‘This is the date, this when we’re starting, this is when the fixtures [will be played]’ because you can’t do that with this uncertainty.

“It’s just the prolonging of it. You get your head around that it’s stopped but you’d like a date or a timeline to work to if it is going to continue. Like everything in the world it’s just the uncertainty at the minute that’s a bit frustrating.”

In terms of fitness, Skuse disagrees that it might take players several weeks of pre-season type training to get up to speed.

“I’ve heard some people saying that for injury prevention, but with the athletes the players are today and the stuff you do at home yourself to maintain your fitness levels [I’m not so sure],” he said.

“Pre-season when I first started years ago you’d come back and use pre-season as getting fit because back in the day the lads would have six or seven weeks off and you’d have six or seven weeks of doing nothing, you’d be drinking, you’d be eating what you want and you’d come back overweight and unfit and you’d use your pre-season to get fit.

“But nowadays you’re given programmes from the day the season finishes to maintain your fitness levels and your eating habits throughout the off-season, so you come back in pre-season and you’re almost at your peak position from the start.

“If we’re told to come back in for training next Monday, the lads would be in unbelievable condition.

“If you’re asking me whether we need three or four weeks, I’d probably say no. But sports scientists and other people might say different because of injury prevention.

“I understand that you can run around roads on go on bike rides for as long as you want but football fitness is completely different. When you get the balls involved, it’s a completely different fitness.”

Skuse recently spoke about his wife Louisa being among those more at risk during the coronavirus crisis as a type one diabetic, however, he says he’ll play if the season does restart as long the right measures are put in place.

“I’ve stated before, it would have to be safe and the EFL and the world in general are making sure that that is the case. They’re taking the right steps to make sure that everything is safe for people to return,” the Bristolian added.

“It’s not myself I’m considering, my wife’s obviously got a high risk illness as a type 1 diabetic and my little girl was recently in hospital with respiratory issues, so I’m looking at the bigger picture.

“But if everything was safe and it was all in line and ready for me to do so, of course I’d want to go back and continue work.”

Skuse recently put pen to paper on a new contract which will keep him at Portman Road for 2020/21 with the club having an option for a further campaign, while he will also start to make the transition into coaching during that time.

The midfielder says it was good to get his future settled given the likelihood that many players will be out of work as a result of the financial crisis in the game.

“It had been ongoing for a little while but [it is a relief] due to this current pandemic and seeing the reports on Sky Sports News or on the radio about the number of people that are going to be out of work this summer in the football world, it’s quite staggering really.

“So to get the deal done is a relief for all of us, our whole family. We’re over the moon to be staying in Ipswich for at least another season, we love the town itself, the club’s been fantastic, the supporters have been fantastic for us. There’s a sense of relief and it was brilliant to get it done.”

Skuse, who has been helping home educate his children and also project managing the renovation of his home during the time away from football, has been in close contact with his team-mates.

“We obviously have a Whatsapp group and I’ve made a conscious effort to ring around the boys and make sure they’re all OK, especially lads that are on their own at this time, it can’t be nice, so I’ve made a conscious effort to ring round and make sure everyone’s doing alright,” he said.

“I’m in contact with some of the lads more than others. I speak to Chambo a lot, James Wilson, Jordan Roberts, I speak to them an awful lot.

“We’ve had Zoom calls with the staff just to keep us update on the situation and for them just to touch base on how we’re doing. I’ve been on contact with most people, to be fair.”

Photo: TWTD

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ArnieM added 11:23 - Jun 5
It’s a MASSIVE FAILURE by Paul Lambert, and it’s down to his management of the squad. There can be no excuse for finishing mid table in the third their of English football with the squad he’s had at his disposal. He’s cocked up big time. Question is will Evans pull that trigger?

MickMillsTash added 11:56 - Jun 5
Why apologise- A lot of the team is not good enough and nor is the manager
Some early season unconvincing performances, wins and hype gave hope but we've not been good enough
I think the statement disrespects other teams and players in the Division who are experienced, organised and play to a system.
Deluded !

Bluearmy_81 added 12:17 - Jun 5
Lambert and Evans both to blame. Evans for not investing properly over the last 7-8 years and for giving Lambert 5 years at a time it was complete madness to do so. Shambles

ArnieM added 12:20 - Jun 5
…..if you think Evans has tied himself to a 5 year deal with absolutely no get out clauses , you don't understand the man's business acumen.

guentchev added 12:33 - Jun 5
Don't really know what else to say about this season. This squad on paper should have been capable of much, much more. Something has clearly gone badly wrong. If we lose the wrong players in the Summer (Wolf, Downes etc) we could find ourselves in trouble next season....

Bluearmy_81 added 12:34 - Jun 5
I understand he has managed to triple our debt in 13 years whilst taking us to our lowest position in 67 years?! Do you mean that business acumen?!!

Bluearmy_81 added 12:35 - Jun 5
Boncho. Oh our prize assets will be sold but the fans will stay quiet like good sheep. Most gutless fans in the land

Chrisd added 12:42 - Jun 5
Talk is cheap. Personally, I would much prefer the players to do their talking on the pitch, perhaps they did? Sadly, we've come up woefully short. We still seem a club that's in a huge mess and lacking leadership. We desperately need to start building something here for the long term and if it means it's another couple of seasons and this level, but progress is being made then so be it. A return to the Championship is the aim and to be competitive, but we are well short of that level with this squad, manager and owner.

TractorCam added 12:49 - Jun 5
Even if it does resume and we win every game that probably still wouldn't be enough with all the teams above us. They should all be ashamed and embarrassed.

tractorboybig added 13:00 - Jun 5
Surely the scottish buffon should be the one giving the apoligy. I would love to hear the crap he would spout on this one.

rabbit added 13:04 - Jun 5
Back with the insults Bluearmy_81, pity you're not as quick to back up your opinions as you are to insult us all.

algarvefan added 13:15 - Jun 5
All in all these are very sad times all around.
Football should only return when it's safe, where that will leave us, remains to be seen, but I will still (I hope) be here supporting Town whoever you want to blame in these comments.

patrickswell added 13:41 - Jun 5
The annual ITFC midsummer apology for the waste of a season just gone. “Sorry for getting so spinelessly relegated” “Sorry for curling up and dying when we went top of the league” “Sorry for showing no pride in the shirt and for constantly letting you down”. Same time next year?

TimmyH added 14:16 - Jun 5
Probably has done us a favour if the season ends, we were dropping like a stone down the league and would have probably ended just below mid-table. Years gone by this club would have undoubtedly sacked such an under performing manager never mind now we're in the third tier BUT instead we have a mind boggling owner in Evans who makes mind boggling decisions such as that ridiculous extension to Lambert's contract - I'm pretty certain that wouldn't happen at no other club.

The club continues on it's downwards spiral and as for Skuses apology...of course it would be him and wait for it once the EFL comes to the decision of the play-offs ending our season expect Captain Chambers also to say similar things - 2 players at the heart of this demise (as well as others) who have their future stamped here...

runningout added 14:25 - Jun 5
Said before, I’m still embarrassed and ill at the way we fell from the Championship. We still have faces responsible festering the place out

Jonaldo added 14:50 - Jun 5
Appreciate the gesture Cole Skuse and you are right it's a major downer for everyone here.

However, I am hopeful that the team and Paul Lambert realize that we can do better and that you are using this time wisely to be stronger for next season.

Most of us already wrote off any play off chances this year anyway :-)

muhrensleftfoot added 14:59 - Jun 5
On current form, we would probably have finished even lower than 10th or 11th. I hold Lambert and Evans responsible for the worst league position in most supporters lifetime. Lambert for having an abysmal record since he arrived - must surely be the worst record of any manager in the club's history, taking into account that a good proportion of it is in Div 3, and Evans because he appointed Lambert.

jong75 added 14:59 - Jun 5
Fait play to him for saying this, but he had to. The club should be embarrassed and should apologise for such abject failure again this season.

dirtydingusmagee added 15:22 - Jun 5
be prepared for same crap next season whenever that starts, Lambert has tunnel vision and same stubborn streak McCarthy had. His record is pathetic and he is still hanging on and picking up a decent wage .

ArnieM added 16:09 - Jun 5
Bluearmy 81: You speak of “Evans tripling Towns debt” ( HIS debt). I suspect you’d have been the loudest protester on here had Evans not given his managers funds to “ play with”. Don’t know the exact figures without looking it up but , Magilton £12m, Keane £15m, Jewell ,£12m , McCarthy, £15m ( assuming £3m per year over his 5 yrs at the Club : he brought in something like 75players in that time , all on decent wages) . And for each of the managers pre McCarthy, don’t forget to add wages to the transfer kitty they each got. Then there’s the annual running costs for the Club £6m per year .... It ALL had to go through the accounts ...... so I guess if Evans didn’t find this spend “ tripling the debt “, to himself, the Club as we know it would be where ?? Oh yer, no longer a going concern and most definitely “ no longer trading “.

ITFCsince73 added 16:17 - Jun 5
Lol. Been expecting something from Skuse or Chambo.
So to recap....Feb 2019, both saying how embarrassing and unforgivable it would be to drop out the Championship.
June 2020, Skuse apology for our lowest ever league status. Chambo silent, as he was with embarrassing relegation to the 3rd tier.
Contracts signed, let’s see how much further down they can lead us.

Bluearmy_81 added 16:58 - Jun 5
Arnie and how many of our best players has he sold in that time?! We have the worst squad in living memory do he has sold and not reinvested sufficiently, our woeful state is evidence of that. We are also rans in division 3, as a town fan that's all that should matter to you. Please stop being an apologist for Evans, it literally (like relegation did) makes me feel sick

ITFCsince73 added 17:01 - Jun 5
That’s all very true Arniem.
And to think Lambos had 500k for KVY in 18 months. And had to get on his knees for that.
Of course Lambo takes all the flack for the team not competing.
Lambo inherited a poor squad, he still has a poor squad.

Dockerblue added 17:03 - Jun 5
Worst team in my 55 years as a Town Fan, worse Captain as well, absolute joke, no leadership on or off pitch. I can go on but what,s the point, the fans see it but the Managers come and go but don,t, he,ll still be Captain next season and the club will.still be an embarrassment. Clear out needed not new contracts for dead-wood!

Carberry added 17:05 - Jun 5
It's the owner who needs to apologise for his mismanagement of the club. But of course it's just a distraction for him now, a numbers game that on the face of it is going badly wrong, so it will have to have his attention at some point. Or maybe it just doesn't matter anymore, the tax-deductible debt is planned for, there's a good excuse to go bust in the present situation and then sell the training ground for housing. That would be worth a few bob. The hospitality business is knackered for some years to come so our small town business will be even further from his mind as he tries to recover. And people still say where would we be without him? Can you think of anywhere worse than this, in the 3rd tier of English football with debts of £100m? Take a step back and look at the situation with both eyes open - wow! How could anyone have messed up so badly? But of course we can't name anyone who would be foolish enough to buy the club so everything has to be fine and we should thank Mr Evans for his stewardship and the fact we still exist. We can't thank you enough - it's a wonderful thing you have done for us, such undeserving customers.

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