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Middlesbrough
at 14:59 24 Nov 2019

Their decision to ditch Pulis for Woodgate is looking like a masterstroke, I have to say. Play offs and 7th under Pulis, 4th bottom under Woodgate. That team should not be doing so poorly.

Speaking for our situation with he who shall not be named by the end, I can understand the Pulis out part. However, I'm surprised Boro fans aren't getting told they should have been careful what they wished for every 10 minutes like we were 12 months ago. Unlike us last season, them being in the lower end of the table is inexcusable considered their last 2 finishes and the financial backing. I recall their fans also forced out Monk (before Pulis) after 3/4 months in charge rather harshly on the face of it.
[Post edited 24 Nov 2019 15:08]
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Reflecting on the game
at 00:15 18 Aug 2019

Undoubtedly we had an escape today.

Very positive/ fast start in the first 15-20 minutes, playing on the front foot and earning the right to dictate play. Winning the ball in the centre of the pitch and getting the ball out to Edwards/ Rowe was proving simple but effective. Edwards & Rowe were also constantly closing down and busy, and quick balls up to Norwood/ Jackson kept the Peterborough defence stretched and hesitant to play a higher line. Our goal was very fortunate and very much a poacher's goal (something we have not had for a long time).

We lost our way after the good start, and annoying old tendancies quickly resurfaced as the afternoon went on. Inviting pressure by needlessly conceding possession, unpressured errors and silly fouls to concede free kicks in dangerous crossing areas. Having got away with it 3 or 4 times from various threat levels, we allowed one of the most talented wingers in the division to cross the ball into a poorly marked Toney to head in. An ugly reminder that our habit of inviting crosses with cheap fouls and not being able to deal with the subsequent set pieces has not gone away.

Kenlock and Donacien were very poor and often caught in possession, giving the ball away cheaply/ lazily and often getting caught out of position (Holy bailed out Donacien in particular early in the second half with the save when the player was completely open). Another poor goal for the opposition came as the result of another individual mistake in the centre of defence where a poor attempted clearance from a simple diagonal ball into the box somehow led to a one on one opportunity.

Going forward, we failed to create much by way of clear cut opportunities for most of the afternoon. Too often we resorted to long aimless punts up the pitch which mostly led to nothing. On the occasions we did get to the final third, passing was laboured and generally broke down into multiple short passes in the corner of the pitch followed by a hopeful punt into the box to nobody. Jackson and Norwood had little by way of convincing service to feet/ head all afternoon, with many of their best openings coming from chasing down quick balls down the channels or simply anticipating possible mistakes. Service into them needs to improve. Although Skuse and Downes were excellent today, there is not enough creativity in the centre of midfield. In the end, late pressure, an excellent El Mizouni delivery and an excellent Chambers header earned us a late reprieve, despite those final 20 minutes of watching Peterborough sit deep with relative comfort as we toiled and laboured with very little threat being made on their goal (again a theme from last season in particular). Judge was again ineffective, too often electing to shoot from unlikely distances when using a team mate was a more sensible option.

Despite our obvious weaknesses and shortcomings, Peterborough did not trouble us hugely either over the course of the game and arguably should have. Holy could do little on the goals (both self inflicted by ourselves) and otherwise made an excellent save at 1-1 and a routine save from a Toney header straight at him at 1-0. It was not a hugely busy afternoon for him despite our issues. Downes and Skuse in particular were assured and comfortable for much of the afternoon without offering much going forward, Rowe and Edwards played well too. Jackson was excellent, winning the penalty in the second half (albeit a dubious call) but generally getting himself in good positions often through his work rate and desire rather than good service being given to him. Norwood had a mixed afternoon, to get off the mark was an important moment for him today but remains to be seen how he will react to the missed penalty in the second half. It was a poor penalty, and I'm sure he'll be the first to admit that. Ultimately, if we want to get the best we can out of Norwood, he will need better service.

All and all, 5 points from the first 3 games and being unbeaten is a good outcome, particularly given that the result felt like a bit of an anti climax despite the late drama. In the same way that Sunderland hung in a game that they were very very poor in a week ago, we did exactly the same this week and that is what the better teams in any division do. We will be in the upper levels of the division come May, but talk of top 2 has to be tempered currently. We have some good players returning from injury in the coming weeks and hopefully you would expect they will add to what we have currently and make a big difference. Without doubt, we need to get a winning habit going though. Big week coming up, Wimbledon will shape our mindsets hugely. 8 points from the first four would be great, fail to win and suddenly it's three games without a win/ no win since the opening day, and question marks will naturally creep in. A big week for sure, and a lot to work on. Vincent Young will hopefully be an excellent addition, but a further winger and striker are also required. Our style today was crying out for a Daryl Murphy up front.
[Post edited 18 Aug 2019 0:21]
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Sunderland fans
at 23:24 5 Aug 2019

Just been on their forums to gage the mood up there ahead of Saturday, and it ain't good.

The general consensus is that they think they look like a really poor side and don't think are good enough to get promoted. Predictions for Saturday are currently largely in favour of a win for us. The pressure has cranked up a notch on Jack Ross after Saturday, with the majority having lost patience with him and claiming the football is too negative and lacking cohesion. They were booed off on Saturday against Oxford.

Hopefully we get at them from the off and get an early goal like we did on Saturday. Even at this early point in the season, it strikes as being a really big game for them (and Ross in particular).
[Post edited 5 Aug 2019 23:24]
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Simon Jordan
at 20:16 9 Apr 2019

My first reaction to the story was that this is not the first time Jordan has made digs at Evans. He had previously criticised him about the Elite Player Performance System, claiming that Town voted in favour of it rather than against it, which was a complete lie.

Reading his comments today, he's not saying anything that is particularly far from the truth. We are obviously in decline as we are about to get relegated (!) and his comments on Evans' 'involvement' are pretty relatable to many fans. As much as it annoys some people, it is natural that people outside of the club will also go back to the M word for the start of the decline. In fairness, he also refers to Ipswich being a really good club that is in decline for no particular reason other than how the club is run.

However, clearly Evans has clearly done something to annoy him at some point. It is clear that although he knows Evans, they do not speak as he has spoken out against him multiple times now.
[Post edited 9 Apr 2019 20:20]
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Lambert
at 01:16 3 Mar 2019

Talks a good game (I'm sure I'm not the only person to notice he loves a good Borussia Dortmund reference in almost every story), but has there really been any evidence that he can manage a good game whilst he has been here?

Yesterday for example, in a game that he himself dubbed as a must win game at home against a team who were 4th from bottom in the table, why was he playing 5 defenders and 1 man up front?

Injuries have obviously left us short in the striker department, but we still had Kayden Jackson on the bench (who never made it on) and instead we opted for Quaner on his own. Not to say he has looked terrible, but I am still none the wiser as to exactly what position Quaner is really best suited to playing. He is not an out and out centre forward and would say he has looked marginally best suited to playing as a wide forward, to play him as a lone striker seemed pretty bizarre. The plan to have 5 defenders was essentially to allow Bree and Kenlock to get forward. Both were poor, and too often Nolan and Judge were drifting out wide (despite them being primarily central midfielders). With our lack of aerial presence and lack of numbers making runs into the box, why was the primary plan to get the ball out wide and stick it in the box from there? It was painfully ineffective all afternoon, with the exception of Edwards' goal which was moreso down to the persistence of Skuse and a fortunate deflection.

Most weeks have often panned out the same way. Tactics and systems have not been suited for the personel we have. Results are not too dissimilar to what Hurst's were, and I've seen little if any improvement in the football under Lambert so far (even if there has been a bit more fight shown).

The reality is that Lambert has played the fans so far and bought himself extra time through consistently good PR, rather than noticeable improvement to the football. Has there really genuinely been a great improvement? Has he really shown proof that he can manage games effectively? 2 wins in 20 suggests not.

There was never going to be a silver bullet with the squad he inherited, but that doesn't make him the right man going forward and the jury should very much still be out. I have several concerns, more so after yesterday. The set up for the game looked completely wrong from minute one.

So far, Lambert seems to have built up a good rapport with fans because:
- He got sent off at Norwich
- He wrote an open letter to fans
- Has met some fans and ex players for a coffee
- Paid for a coach load of fans for an away game

I want to like Lambert because we are winning games or at least playing good football that makes sense. So far, I've not been able to. It will be a big summer for him, without question. There will be a lot of personel changes and he will get a great opportunity to build his own team to something resembling how he wants it to look. I'm not convinced from what I've seen so far that he will get it right, but we can only hope there's a plan.
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3 Best/ Worst ITFC loan signings?
at 00:21 5 Jan 2019

With all this talk of loans recently, who are your 3 best and worst loan signings?

My 3 best would be:
Dos Santos (only for a month or so, but was easily one of the most talented footballers we've had at the club for some time)
Bullard (class when we had him on loan in 2010/2011)
Reuser in 2000 (Don't need to explain)

My 3 worst would be:
Mark Fish (Hauled off at half time on his debut, and never seen again)
Zeki Fryers (Utterly horrendous performance at Huddersfield a few years back, not seen again after)
Jordan Graham (2 loans spells, impressively ineffective both times)
[Post edited 5 Jan 2019 0:22]
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Expectations of Paul Lambert's Ipswich
at 08:34 26 Oct 2018

I, my brother and my father have gone to watch Ipswich for a decent stretch of time between now, albeit not as long as many of you. My first game was back in 1998, as a 1-0 home defeat as Bolton and Bob Taylor stunned us in injury time.
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Post game thoughts, with a dose of parody
at 17:11 18 Feb 2018

Very deflated by the nasty sting in the tail at the end there. To be undone at the end by what started out as a hopeless long ball somehow turned into a goal, with the help of some inexplicably poor individual errors from us, is an extremely annoying way to concede what would have been a massive win.

On the balance of play though, a draw was a fair result. We were much better than them in the first half, but Norwich will also point to Bart's saves and their second half display and feel aggrieved that they did not take advantage. Town defended doggedly, were organised throughout and deserved at least a point.

Going to Carrow Road, as always, is like travelling back in time to a far away planet. The sellout 27,000 crowd raised to loudly and proudly acclaim three "heroes" from their 1993 UEFA Cup "run" to the third round. The tannoy announcer then attempted to drum up awareness for their Norwich legends vs Inter Milan legends game, to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of their momentous achievement. These are the same fans who are salty the moment that any references are made to our UEFA Cup and FA Cup wins not many years before their "run", when suddenly "history is irrelevant".

Norwich fans continue to be completely obsessed with us. They followed through with their 16th minute applause to sarcastically celebrate our 16 successive seasons in the championship. They clearly need reminding that they have spent 14 of the last 20 seasons in the same division too, and of course been in league one during that time. However, they promptly fell silent as we responded with "You've never won f*** all". It took the noisy teenage contingent in the Barclay well over 10 minutes before braving any of their three songs (all anti Ipswich) again.

On 85 minutes, the vast majority of the Norfolk contingent continued to show their class as they sat in silence as a minute's applause broke out from the away end to commemorate what would have been one of England's most successful managers and one of football's most beloved characters' 85th birthday.

The scenes at full time could have been mistaken for coming behind from 3 goals down to win a champions league final, rather than scraping a draw at home to your bitterest rivals (who they are still below in the table), although they could be forgiven since their club has never really achieved any proper quantifiable success in it's existence. As we left the stadium, the usual soundbites of "we beat the scum 9-2" (since when have aggregate scores from league fixtures been relevant?) reverberated from a group of city fans in tracksuits stood nearby.

All and all, a good day and a good performance. Town have little reason to fear our neighbours anymore. Their annoying habit of taking points off us despite playing poorly masks the reality that we remain above them in the table (albeit on goal difference) and that over the course of the season, they have largely struggled to show evidence of any feasible dominance in class. We will have them next season (we hope!).
[Post edited 18 Feb 2018 17:12]
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Scummers having (another) meltdown
at 12:59 16 Jul 2017

Because Klose and Pritchard got injured during their pre season friendly yesterday. Apparently tackling in pre season, rather than letting the opposition turn up and win comfortably, is "aggressive" and has "no place in pre season". Sensitive souls.
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A Death of Our Club By a Thousand Cuts
at 21:10 1 Feb 2017

Around this time a year ago, I posted a blog on TWTD with concerns that we would fall further behind our rivals as every transfer window came and went, unless noticeable changes were made.
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So, Milne
at 23:28 18 Jan 2017

I see that Mick and the boys are really "improving the squad" in this transfer window. So far, a trialist who hasn't had a club for 6 months, a striker who's fluttered around lower league/ non league clubs with an average goalscoring record for £10,000, & a few 7 figure bids that are most likely going to materialise into nothing.

Even our MD is trolling us.
[Post edited 18 Jan 2017 23:32]
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Got home from the game...
at 02:08 18 Jan 2017

Tonight was a very sobering experience indeed. Stood in the away end tonight, it felt like we hit a whole new (very hopeless) low tonight, and it's rare that I've seen our fans turn on any manager as toxically as was the case when Lincoln scored tonight.

Tonight was simply unacceptable from top to bottom. A drab, spineless "performance" that lacked even the bare minimum you would expect to see for £10, to watch a team supposedly worthy of being a cup scalp. No leaders, too many "good honest pros" went missing when they needed to stand up and be counted, no ideas, no plan and absolutely no quality. I refuse to defend McCarthy on the grounds that he has had limited funds, since a non league team that was assembled at a fraction of the cost of our wagebill has outplayed us twice in a matter of days (and credit to them btw - justice was done in the case of both teams). Tonight exposed us for the limited footballing team we are.

This team has lost its identity and lost its way completely, and tonight further strengthens my beliefs. We were taught a footballing lesson by a team who, in spite of being 3 leagues below us, were better than us in every department. Our lack of squad strength (particularly our lack of urgency in the summer) has now unravelled to the point that we are playing Leon Best as a lone striker, signing strikers that non league clubs are prepared to sell for nominal sums, a player released by Barnsley playing at Centre half due to injuries, and pinning too much of our hopes on 2 injury prone players who have been too frequently unavailable over the last couple of seasons. To think a couple of seasons ago, we had Murphy and Sears leading the line and causing defences nightmares regularly and a defence that teams had to work to get anything out of.

A few players stood out for me. Gerken kicking 3 successive goal kicks straight into touch summed our night up in one almost. His gesturing and arms out towards fans complaining after his 3rd was the icing on the cake. Knudsen is simply not good enough to be playing week in week out. I have no qualms with his work rate or his determination, but the boy badly lacks composure or anticipation. Too many times tonight, he was too slow to 50/50s that his opposition full backs were taking control of at the opposite end. Whilst Berra got his act together in the second half, his first half performance was dreadful. Someone with his experience should know better than to take the bait of bringing down a big man backing into him, and too often was misjudging balls going towards him and getting caught out of position. Digby, who to his credit clearly gave it his all and put himself about with a few good blocks, did not look comfortable on the ball whatsoever and appears completely limited as a defender. Douglas and Skuse together simply does not work - it was not the right central midfield combination for this game at all. Lawrence had the look of someone who believes he has already made it, off the back of some good goals and rave reviews, and lacked any real fight or drive tonight. Much like in the game at Portman Road, Ward went missing and I frequently struggle to figure him out. When he first arrived, he excited us with his hat trick and early performances out wide but as the months have passed, his performance dipped and has since been deployed in more central and defensive midfield positions. It's difficult to interpret exactly what his strongest position is. Best, purely and simply, has done nothing in the last 4 months to suggest he is good enough to get in our team.

So much needs to be addressed and it is difficult to see where will be addressed first. I don't imagine (in the event of us actually offering the money clubs are asking for our "targets") that those players would be immediately sold on us on tonight's viewing. Tonight, nationwide of live TV, showed us up for the disjointed stagnated club we currently are. Inadequate squad, inadequate management, (rightly) unhappy fans and a lack of ideas as to where needs to be addressed most urgently. With 13 days of the transfer window to go, I am bracing myself for the September deadline day excuses to be requoted.
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Lewis Price giving the budgies a taste of their own medicine at FT yesterday
at 08:43 15 Jan 2017

Amen to that
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Mick's post match comments
at 19:02 2 Jan 2017

Simply do not cut it. Team there for the taking today (one we beat 3-0 a month or so ago), players on the bench who proved as recently as a few days ago that they can come on and make a positive impact late on, a young left back who impressed today and in the last game, yet he once again chose to defend a draw & take the opportunity to bring on different class.

Instead of going for a win, we chose to attempt to ride out a draw against a team who had lost 6 of their last 7 games. Whilst you can't legislate for defensive errors, where was the intent or desire by MM to push for a win? How many times have we lost points by settling to shut up shop for a draw.

And to imply fans are talking "b*llsh*t" for disagreeing. For me, total lack of ambition or awareness.
[Post edited 2 Jan 2017 19:21]
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