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League One, Leicester and the Long, Long Wait
at 20:24:59

@Gilesy and @Town4me - in a way, you're both right.

Everton and Oldham are the two definite ones out of the 92. For all their strong Premier League campaigns, Everton still haven't actually won anything since 1995 with Joe Royle's FA Cup (and the Charity Shield, if you really want to count it!) Oldham are by far the most success-starved because they've won nothing at all since 1991 (a second tier title, also under Royle), and since then they've had a similar experience of being locked in one division, except it was lower down and for even longer before their relegation to League Two last season.

Villa were indeed among the 'winners' of the Intertoto Cup in 2001, but then that is ultimately outside of the 17 years mentioned in the article. It's also a bit of a dubious one really because three clubs 'won' the Intertoto Cup that season, so it's not got quite the same celebratory privilege as the sole triumph of most competitions - rather more the feel of a qualification success in some respects. But, when all said and done, it is technically a title, and certainly more than we've won since 2000.

I'd actually been monitoring this stat for several years before including it in this blog. At one point I was also keeping track of teams who have at least had a trip to Wembley (or previously the Millennium Stadium) in that time - and if you add that to the criteria, I believe that leaves just us and Oldham who have had nothing!
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League One, Leicester and the Long, Long Wait
at 16:58:19

@shortmarine - At no point have I suggested Evans is doing a good job. My comments above are about the suggestion of "abject chaos". We have a lot of problems, but they fundamentally don't compare to the likes of Bolton, Coventry, Blackpool - I pick those very worst examples because they are, by my personal definition, what constitute "abject chaos". Which is still some way removed from where we are.

If you're asking what my personal cause is for optimism, I can't give you a good answer beyond clutching at the straws of history and the select few signs of the present. But I'm not sure what else people want to hear. "We're doomed, we're going to be in the National League soon" might satisfy the misery of the pessimist right now but it's not worth writing about. Unless someone has a grand plan to attract an investor who can immediately buy Evans out this summer - and not see us dangling under the kind of ultimatum Port Vale had with the outgoing Norman Smurthwaite - I'm not sure what else any of us can do right now beyond hoping things turn around.
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League One, Leicester and the Long, Long Wait
at 16:13:11

@ChrisFelix and @Elephantintheroom - Something I should point out concerning Leicester's owners. I think it's easily forgotten that the Srivaddhanaprabha family were not running the club either when they were relegated or, more importantly, when they bounced back from League One. Milan Mandaric was still owner throughout that period, and he didn't actually spend heavily to get them back to the second tier - the free transfer signings, existing players and youth talents were far more decisive. It was the later Championship promotion that relied upon the planning and investment from the late Khun Vichai and his family.

Whether or not Marcus Evans and Paul Lambert can match up to the initial turnaround Mandaric sparked with the help of Nigel Pearson is, as you both allude to, very debatable. But Mandaric was not a popular man when Leicester went down, and Pearson was frankly just a gamble that paid off - in spite of his caretaker spells in the upper tiers, they threw the dice giving him the reins to rebuild. It's only typical really that when Ipswich tried the same thing in a comparative position of strength, we ended up getting it badly wrong.

But I stand by the point that Evans' era fundamentally does not constitute "abject chaos". It's lacked direction, no doubt, and it was likely only by being able to rely on McCarthy's experience that he managed to stave off this relegation for so long. But we are not on the brink of going out of business. We haven't had our players going on strike and HMRC at the door. We haven't lost our stadium or ended up playing our games in Colchester. Not for a second am I saying it's worthy of any credit for Evans, but the decline he has overseen has not been the drastic mess with which other clubs have been afflicted.

Does that make us any stronger? Well actually, yes, potentially. It means we start with an obvious budget, a manager in place who has been able to plan for several months already, and a surprisingly positive fanbase to try and spur things on. Coventry didn't have it that way. Neither did Portsmouth. In truth, neither did Leeds or Southampton, although they still managed to make it work somehow.

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The History Boys
at 12:35:24

Enjoyed reading this, Tristan. Not least because your true experience of Town covers exactly the same era as mine - the Championship years alone. I still think of that afternoon, after Shefki Kuqi had scored the opener at the Withdean Stadium, where automatic promotion was only about 80 minutes away if all the afternoon's scores had stayed the same. Hard to imagine having once been that close and, 14 years later, be in the position we face without having ever reached those heights.
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League One, Leicester and the Long, Long Wait
at 11:44:21

@Town4me - I did research that myself in writing this article! Won't spoil the game though. Suffice it to say there is one EFL club lower down that has genuinely had it even worse than Town in that time...!
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What Is Love? The Magic Of Moments
at 12:26:24

Can't deny, skip, QPR was about as bad a follow-up as we could have mustered.

Rather powerless as we all are at this point in time, unless and until things get substantively better, we can only try to enjoy whatever moments like Swansea we might be able to muster in the meantime - and hope they aren't too long in coming.
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What Is Love? The Magic Of Moments
at 13:32:22

Cheers for the comments, folks! Glad some of you found it an enjoyable read.

@Skip73 - Absolutely true, hence why I said in the last couple of paragraphs that we couldn't get carried away with that win given how long it took to come and that it was by no means a comfortable one. The point though is that even that one win gives everyone - players, manager, fans alike - something to cling to, one moment where everybody managed to bond to great effect for the first time. That hadn't happened before. Now they, and we, know it can happen - it removes some of that doubt that was building over a long barren run without a win - and while it's no guarantee of a repeat, it sets a precedent and gives us something to build on. Only time will tell if we can actually do that - a defeat at home to QPR would be a massive setback in that endeavour, but a second successive win would make it feel like something was finally emerging in the new setup.

@andygri - A good point on moments not being reserved just for goals. They can be so broad as to extend to entire performances. For example, I still think back very fondly on Aaron Cresswell's Town debut at Bristol City - to have a youngster fresh out of League One look so utterly comfortable in his first Championship game, a relatively diminutive figure getting his head to everything, making perfect sliding tackles, handling all that was required of him. Michael Chopra scored twice in that game on what was also his Town debut, but it's Cresswell that left a longer lasting impression on me that day, and that day set the tone for his time at Portman Road.
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What Is Love? The Magic Of Moments
at 20:59:49

Very true, Guthrum. I had suspected our first win would be some sort of grinding, highly fortunate or perhaps even controversial 1-0 just to get us off the mark. This was far better than I - and I think anyone - expected, and genuinely looked like something to build on rather than pressing the reset button by the next outing.

The 'love' element is an important byproduct though. If nothing else, it's more likely to buy the players and the manager time, some patience from the fans who can actually see something they can grow fond of in this team.
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By Any Means Unnecessary
at 20:03:16

Thanks, ElephantintheRoom. I think you're right to a point, though such was the rate of decline in attendances under McCarthy that one has to assume at least some fans were quite genuine in saying it was the style of football keeping them away. Certainly though, there is now a generation of Town fans who have grown up not just with Championship football, but exclusively the Marcus Evans era. One wouldn't blame them if they had little enthusiasm for turning up once the novelty wore off.
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By Any Means Unnecessary
at 21:06:26

Thanks folks!

@IamSpartacus - I think the importance of the 'good game' is the essence of this era at Town. We were starved of many entertaining displays over the last six years, and when the results started to dry up too, it felt like there was so little point for fans to bother turning up. Plenty always said they could stomach indifferent results as long as the displays were good - attendances haven't exactly demonstrated that mindset yet, but then these early performances still feel like drafts of the Paul Hurst playbook.

Fingers crossed for the Bolton game anyway!
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The Long Haul
at 22:55:34

Big thanks for all the positive feedback, folks. Glad it was a good read!

Inclined to agree with PortmanTerrorist on the Waghorn front. While I appreciate this regime is profiting from cashing in on one of Mick's most shrewd acquisitions, it's entirely possible that at least one of Hurst's League One punts can follow in Waggy's footsteps and become a multi-million pound asset in the next 12 months or so should the need to fund further development arise. Having said that, at this stage I would much rather concentrate on what the new players can offer us on the field rather than in the accounts.

@Reecex28 - Sounds like you and I have a very similar trip! Clocked up about 240 miles going down and up the A14 on Saturday myself. Hope it's worth the effort as the season goes on!
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The Long Haul
at 14:50:49

Thanks for the comments, folks. I agree there's a good chance we can surprise a lot of people this season - we already did when many were forecasting our doom last summer - though I think we need to avoid judging Hurst (as many others likely will, particularly relative to Mick) based on where we are in May 2019, especially if it is not a positive comparison with last year. As Hurst himself said this week when asked about what 'success' would be in 12 months, it's about the atmosphere and outlook rather than position.

@hucks216 - I do hope relegation doesn't have to figure into the long term recovery, not least as it inevitably sets things back an absolute minimum of one season if not far longer. Based on our performance last season I don't genuinely believe it will come to that, but at this point I'm wary of a possible battle while we transition from one era to the next.
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The Long Haul
at 00:02:17

Very true, Stourbridgeblue. I wouldn't begrudge anyone the pre-season buzz. I'm also refreshingly hopeful myself, much as this blog might imply otherwise!

This is more a cautionary note that, should early results dampen the present optimism, it's important to remember just how long term a project we are likely embarking upon - one that we will likely still not be able to assess fully even at the end of the current campaign.
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