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at 13:40 7 Aug 2020

Because that's what we've got now that the salary cap has been rushed through – primarily by the smaller clubs who don't seem to trust themselves to abide by the rules that are already in place. Funny how the Championship currently has no plans for such a vote ...

We've talked about crucial seasons for Town before, particularly in terms of getting up last year, but the sh7t is really hitting the fan now.
Going to be an interesting couple of months ahead
at 20:58 11 Jun 2020

Hard to see how next season resolves quickly judging by this article in the Guardian:
Take your annoyance with ITFC out of it ...
at 16:06 9 Jun 2020

What's happened today with the EFL season is very, very bad news – and even more so if we can't restart in September. I'd personally not have been as keen to wish this season away as most people here have, even though it has been a total sh6tshow from us. We are now closer than ever to games with Cambridge, Colchester and Orient becoming our staples. PL2 and regionalised lower leagues are a matter of time unless things snap back into place quickly.
Excellent summary of situation in FL
at 11:32 19 May 2020

This is exactly how the land lies. Stakes have never been higher where getting out of L1 is concerned. Most of this was in the post regardless of Covid, which has just brought things to the boil. As with everything since 2002, we really picked our moment to go down ...
[Post edited 19 May 11:33]
Good news on Dobra
at 12:27 14 Apr 2020

Bumped into someone close to that situation a little while back who suggested it wasn't exactly leaning in Town's favour. Plenty of interested parties around who fancied giving him a try if Town wouldn't. Suspect that, assuming he does indeed sign, we'll see a lot more of him when football starts again. The thought of him and Lankester both going at opposition defences is a (vanishingly rare, I admit) bright spot to look forward to.
Brilliant Magilton interview – thanks Phil
at 18:55 2 Apr 2020

Quite hard to read - emotionally that is - at some points, covers such a long and intense period of my (and probably the majority of TWTD-ers') ITFC-supporting life. A lot in there. Still feel pretty bothered that it ended as it did for him, because he will never be anything but an absolute legend to me. Chambers is the nearest thing we've had to that sort of character since but the way Magilton dragged us up in all departments would be very, very hard to match.
[Post edited 2 Apr 19:03]
May have gone round already but worth sharing
at 17:00 23 Mar 2020

Exactly this happened to me just over two weeks ago and it was really weird – hadn't ever experienced anything like it and there were no accompanying symptoms other than feeling really knackered and spaced out for a few days. I'd say I'm only now starting to smell things close to normally. Might just as much have been something else but I work in a sphere where there have been positive Covid cases, including at least one person I saw that week. Will probably never know but worth bearing in mind as a potential symptom to be mindful of.
The Way Back From Here Will Be Long, But There is a Way
at 15:23 4 Mar 2020

It's a delicate situation now, perhaps an existential one. People need to stay engaged, focused and angry – which I know isn't easy to do given the endless stream of kicks in the teeth. But articulated vocally and consistently – which hasn't ever happened yet – it will have an effect in time.
The way back from here will be long, but there is a way
at 11:42 4 Mar 2020

It's a delicate situation now, perhaps an existential one. People need to stay engaged, focused and angry – which I know isn't easy to do given the endless stream of kicks in the teeth. But articulated vocally and consistently – which hasn't ever happened yet – it will have an effect in time.

The best case scenario at this point is that Evans hands over to an owner who – even if not especially wealthy – is smart, engaged, understands how a club can maximise its every aspect in the 21st century, and gets the right football brains & voices in around him. I wonder what the Koeman/Bergkamp/Larsson/Kuyt consortium that's been looking around League One is up to at the moment ...

That is not definitely going to happen overnight, though, and the short-term ambition needs to be that ITFC's structure drags itself into the modern age. We will probably take £4-5m in transfers fees this summer and, honestly, if we see a small fraction of it reinvested in a dynamic chief executive (maybe just *a* chief executive for that matter ... !) and a couple of technical roles to take the heat off O'Neill it'll be money far better spent than on any players. We are not fit for purpose; we just lurch, and will continue to do so until the club has a structure both resilient and agile enough to maintain a vision & identity whoever the manager is and whatever is happening on the pitch.

All the fanbase can do is keep driving that message. Everyone probably feels helpless now but it's important to keep the noise up. Certain aspects will look after themselves. Lambert is a good guy, trust me on that, but it hasn't worked and he ought to be gone within the next seven days so that we can get things in place for next year. There is a bit room for optimism: KVY and Lankester have been out so long that nobody will take a punt on them at this stage; I'm not certain Championship clubs are quite convinced enough about Jackson while Norwood should be good for a better goal return if this absence sorts his issues out at last. We will lose players but still have a decent talent base to build on and at least make the play-offs in 2020-21 under the right management.

Overall, the next few games need to be used to hammer in the point, via any platform possible, that nothing about the way ITFC operates is good enough. It shouldn't be personal towards Evans the human being; his intentions are good, but he's just not been good enough in a way that goes way beyond how much cash he does or doesn't have. See it as an opportunity; inside the stadium it's only surfaced in dribs and drabs over the years, mainly because people understandably *want* to believe and there have been bones of various juiciness thrown. There is a way out of this but it will take time, energy and effort. It won't be easy but the alternative is unthinkable.
[Post edited 4 Mar 11:44]
at 09:33 29 Feb 2020

Was at Carrow Road last night and, for one reason or another, have been to see them a few times this season. It's just night and day now, the difference between the clubs – the matchday experience, the way the stadium looks, the atmosphere, and of course the football being played. If there are still two divisions between us next season, and I make a good chance of that because there's no reason they can't stay up now, then they are gone for many, many years and the gap may actually never be bridged. The gulf will only become wider, by a tune of hundreds of millions, and although we all say football is cyclical I'm not so sure that's the case these days due to the way finances have changed. Every success story includes some luck, and every story of dereliction includes some ill fortune, but overall the level of competence with which they have been run over the past decade and a half in comparison to Town should be regarded as an absolute embarrassment. It actually hurts to think about it for too long.

Aware this is not a new observation and, for some, I know the comparisons are tedious. But for many of us it's all too deep-set!
[Post edited 29 Feb 9:34]
Yesterday was absolutely gutting
at 11:53 23 Feb 2020

Really, really gutting. I can't shake it. I am thinking about everything that has been squandered. The excellent start to the season and lead at the top, yes, but also the goodwill and enthusiasm for the task in hand that was – pretty much against expectation – generated among the fanbase. That's right on the edge now, if it hasn't already fallen off the cliff, and I fear it's going to be a very long way back once the mood has turned again. Was reasonably ugly at the end and I don't think any of it was unreasonable.

The game itself? For 35/40 minutes I was happy enough; we probably all were. Seemed as if we could use that performance as a solid platform to go on and win it in the second half. I wonder if subconsciously the players began to think that too as the clock wound down. This might sound ludicrous but I saw their goal coming and said shortly before it that we needed to be careful. In the preceding five minutes our energy had dipped; things had begun to drift for the first time. Lambert and Taylor had both spotted it on the side, you could tell from their body language, but the seeds had been sown. We aren't really a team that can do that and get away with it, and we were duly picked off by a goal that looks worse every time I see it.

That second half was abysmal. Just dreadful. By the end we were playing like a team three goals down; one that had a duty to keep going and trying to salvage something, but with no real hope or belief that it could happen. Oxford are billed as an exceptional passing team but here they just did a job on us, and did it brilliantly under little strain. If only we had different sides to us like that. I never once felt we would score.

Lambert messed it up. At Norwich he would win games for them with his changes and in-game tweaks, time and again. He was brilliant at it; their fans will say as much. So what was that yesterday? Putting Bishop on the left and going to a four made a deteriorating performance worse, actually managed to rob us of any width whatsoever and left us short in the middle. Couldn't Sears have come on as a wide man if that's what we were after? Wouldn't Dobra be an option for those games, which seem to come every week now, where we have zero spark against well organised opponents? Why no Huws or Dozzell given that Nolan, after a good start to the game, shrunk to the extent that I can barely remember a forward pass or run beyond the front men? It was all wrong.

Keane had a good first half but, quite aside from his unwillingness to contest headers, was embarrassingly flat-footed in the second. This would actually have been a good game for Norwood to get under their centre-backs' skin, as he did to an extent in the away fixture. I would like to know exactly what has happened there as it is going to cost us massively. We were clearly aware his issues had not gone away and that there would be the risk of another absence. Why was no striker brought in during January? It's not acceptable.

Don't know what happens now, especially without our two front-line strikers for three massive games. Maybe it will focus us a little and, just as we did when apparently injury-ravaged at the start of the season, we'll pull some results out of the bag. But I make the margin for error virtually zero, the odds incredibly long, and this team well short of what it needs to avoid an outcome to the season that will debilitate us beyond recognition.

Really big one today
at 08:57 22 Feb 2020

How many times this season have we backed up one really convincing performance with another? Maybe when we won at Fleetwood post-Tranmere? Either way, we could really do with that today – defeating the better sides is something we are going to have to start doing and a strong display today would do a lot for confidence between now and May.

I've quite a good feeling about it, at this point, and think a win with both teams scoring is not an unreasonable prediction. Norwood's injury is a blow but we still have three decent forwards for this level and if Keane can be managed through the next month safely it should be OK. Let's hope the good things from last week can be reproduced in a slightly higher-octane affair; if they are then maybe we can start looking back up towards the top two.

Not quite sure how I hadn't realised it was rail replacements today, but looking forward to it anyway ...
Flynn Downes
at 10:25 12 Feb 2020

On a different level to anyone on that pitch last night. The *one* thing I enjoyed was watching him at really close quarters from the front row of the side terrace. His anticipation of situations (in what was a really mucky midfield scrap at times), speed to the ball and ability to shield/drive with it are simply beyond this division. He is by far the nearest thing we have to someone who can really push the team forward when it is struggling. We are going to really miss him.

Sadly we'll lose him for, let's say, £3m if we are lucky rather than four times that. This season is, and I don't think any of us can sugarcoat it now, turning into an historic clusterfcuk that will harm us in many, many, many ways. I'm at a loss really; how can the current setup turn any of this around?

Specific thoughts on last night:

- We'd probably have won that game with Garbutt and a proper right wing-back but that simply exposes the facts that (a) we do not have a competent wide attacker, or refuse to try Jackson as one and (b) other departments simply aren't working properly.

- Taken in isolation you'd probably consider that second-half performance to be OK. But what the hell was that in the first half? I'm not convinced there were many poor individual performances but the setup was wrong. Earl looks a good player actually and I'd put him in that left CB role for the rest of the season, losing Wilson and moving Chambers inside. But he is no wing-back. Either Kenlock needed to start, just to offer a threat and an actual outlet, or we needed to get Judge into that lineup to try and work some space given how narrow we became. Instead we were terribly flat against a team we should have been backing ourselves to take on – Wimbledon are organised and worked hard but we will not face a less threatening opponent.

– Keane should have come on far earlier and showed the value of simply having someone who could drop in and play. I hadn't realised how late it was when he came on and was starting to fancy us slightly when it became clear time was virtually up.

– We are still in the race but by the skin of our teeth really and it's hard to see where any win against a competent side is coming from. We need to start playing to our strengths and going for teams. We look fearful. While we did improve after half-time last night the passivity and lack of tempo, Downes and perhaps Huws excepted, were really chronic.

[Post edited 12 Feb 10:26]
If nothing else, perhaps tonight might speed up any moves to strengthen squad
at 22:57 28 Jan 2020

Was told a week or so back that PL wants two more and I can't imagine that's changed; tonight tells you more than games like last Saturday. Badly need some real speed and strength down the flanks and really miss that "Plan B" striker so hopefully we can get something over the line that makes us that bit more aggressive.
[Post edited 28 Jan 22:59]
Blackpool in for Nolan, says Nixon
at 10:19 26 Jan 2020

Not the most outlandish thing I have ever heard but I'd rather keep this squad together now. We're only a couple of injuries from looking nowhere near as well-oiled as we currently do. Get up and then by all means reassess each and every player's situation in the summer.
Would definitely forgive Lambert a couple of changes tomorrow
at 09:39 17 Jan 2020

Keep the same structure, definitely, but Tuesday night was sapping and unless miracles have happened to Tranmere's pitch this will be too, against a team that eventually didn't have to play. Would be neither surprised nor upset to see Skuse and Nolan come in for Huws and Judge from the start. Maybe Jackson up top if he is fit although the hamstring is a big red flag for me, hopefully the right call is made. Wing-back is an area where it might be good to give someone a rest but I don't really see we have the option for that.
If you could only keep one of Woolfenden and Downes ....
at 10:02 14 Jan 2020

... which is hardly an unreasonable scenario given we are a third division club, you'd keep Downes – right? Bad choice to have to make, but Downes is well en route to being this team's heartbeat at a very young age while centre-backs competent enough to get you up the divisions aren't massively hard to come by. James Wilson has done fine from being a trialist who couldn't get a game at Lincoln, as one example. None of that is to take away from Woolfenden's current ability or his potential but it's one way of looking at it.

I suspect Woolfie may go and then be loaned back, as there's little point him playing next to no football for the rest of the season, and if that meant we kept hold of Downes for longer I think we'd just have to be OK with it.
Another good signing for Oxford
at 15:27 8 Jan 2020

Liam Kelly (ex-Reading) from Feyenoord to go with the lad Holland from West Ham. They are going for it and we're going to have to sharpen up massively to keep pace.
Haven't seen a thread about the women's team yet but ...
at 18:21 6 Jan 2020

... that's a great achievement to get to the fourth round of the FA Cup and just a shame they don't have a home draw, but they'll probably still fancy their chances. At a time when there's plenty to be deeply worried about on the men's side we ought to celebrate a part of the club that is moving very much in the right direction and earning a lot of respect in the right places. Looks very much as if they might be able to rise through the divisions pretty quickly. As long as it doesn't interfere too much with what they're doing it would be great if they could play a match at Portman Road before long.

(Sorry if this has, in fact, been covered!)
Will Keane
at 22:53 4 Jan 2020

I make that four goals in his last 419 minutes, which equates to about 4.7 full games. Takes him time to feel his way into matches and seems to me like the kind of player who's better starting games than coming in for a late salvage effort. But the talent is clearly starting to show itself and he's evidently sharpening up, some really smart finishes there. How do we use him from here?
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