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Monday verdict: Different season, same mistakes – Ipswich Town’s promotion hopes are fading fast

06:00 15 February 2016

Mick McCarthy, Manager of Ipswich Town looks dejected after losing  
Bristol City v Ipswich Town

Mick McCarthy, Manager of Ipswich Town looks dejected after losing Bristol City v Ipswich Town

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There is a growing feeling that Ipswich Town’s season is slipping away.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at relegation-battling Bristol City was a fourth loss in five games across all competitions. There has been just two wins in 2016.

Just like last season, Mick McCarthy’s physically demanding style of play seems to be taking its toll on the squad at a vital moment. And once again no cavalry was called for in January.

The two carbon copy headed goal from Aden Flint at Ashton Gate were fitting really. Town, it seems, do not learn from their past mistakes – on or off the pitch.

The gap to the play-off places may be only three points but right now that seems like a chasm as the final straight fast approaches.

A crippling injury-list has robbed Mick McCarthy of the services of his three chief entertainers. Who knows where the Blues would be had the talented trio of Ryan Fraser, Teddy Bishop and David McGoldrick been fit and firing all season?

They haven’t though and a squad which had been hailed as having the most strength in depth for years is beginning to look short of the required quality for a sustained promotion push.

Town never roll over and get their tummies tickled. They never look like they are going to hand out a thrashing either. At Ashton Gate they were far from gutless. Confused and clueless were apt adjectives though. It was all a bit too predictable.

Back last August it seemed as though the Blues’ style of play was evolving. A bit of style was being added to the steel, some guile supplementing the grit. The only way seemed up following the club’s first top-six finish in a decade. Then came that 5-1 loss at Reading and McCarthy slammed the breaks on.

The major weaknesses – nowhere near enough goals or invention from midfield and too many predictable long balls – are beginning to far outweigh the undoubted qualities of team spirit and work ethic. Poor aesthetics makes for less latitude when it comes to criticism.

If things don’t improve quickly then two big questions will arise – who is to blame for not building on the momentum that was gathering and where does the club go from here?

Are McCarthy’s hands tied by owner Marcus Evans when it comes to the transfer market and he’s simply keeping his frustrations well-hidden? Or is Town’s pragmatic boss genuinely happy to stick to his tried and trusted budget buys? It may well be a bit of both. If it stay this way though then it’s hard to see the Blues joining the Premier League elite any time soon.

26 comments

  • Ever thought that perhaps this is our level at the moment and whilst you mention those who have gone before us we have no divine right to be there. My local club threw money at promotion to the Football League, got it then went bust never to be seen again for 25 yrs aft a chasing the dream. I played for a club where the fans thought they had a divine right to get promoted. They replaced a manager who got them to the play offs a few years in a row and now they are languishing.as they say be careful what you wish for. I'd rather have hope following Ipswich than just watching Leeds or QPR every week. Keep going Mick I'm right behind you. Next Borough will sack their manager for not winning in the last 5. Derby a joke!

    Report this comment

    Bouncing Blue

    Wednesday, February 17, 2016

  • We'll never be promoted under MM because he is unfortunately not a modern era manager. If lovely, honest blokes got promoted we would be top every year but he needs to have the courage and dignity to step down at the end of the season.

    Report this comment

    StalwartBlue

    Wednesday, February 17, 2016

  • We are stagnating under this management.The team is dire. TIME TO WALK MICK.Thank you for what you have done in the past,but I fear your cannot go any further.!!

    Report this comment

    Daniel James

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

  • BOUNCING BLUE: You are missing the point, the clubs you mention Leeds and QPR may be having bad seasons but they will reach the Premiership again. Also, since we got relegated in 2002 Leeds have played two Premiership seasons, been relegated twice, reached two play-off finals and won automatic promotion. QPR in that time have also reached two play-off finals, won promotion three times, been relegated twice while also playing three Premiership seasons. My point being that these clubs have had some success over that period. WE have had NO success at all, unless you count three play-off semi final failures in fourteen years successful ? While also watching Norwich win four promotions and Blackpool, Hull and Bournemouth rise from the depths of the bottom division to reach the Premiership before us. We have now been just an average Championship club for such a long time now.

    Report this comment

    Stat-Matt

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

  • Four people need to walk ..., Mr Evans, Mr McCarthy, Mr Cooper and Mr Milne.... Especially Mr Evans before he sinks the heart of our club in the depths of darkness

    Report this comment

    Blue and true since 1962

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Luckily I don't live in Ipswich as it must be all doom and gloom and I'd probably start hitting myself. Words like "languishing and we deserve to be where we are, boycott the games" jeez people we are 3 points off the play offs with a good few games to go. Leeds, a massive club, would love to be where we are and so would QPR etc. Have a bit of belief we sometimes ain't the best but we certainly ain't the worst and so we've lost a few lately so have Brighton, Derby and Boro. Get a grip, remember it's only football and 3 outcomes are possible. I spend my money on the team knowing this and accept it even if I absolutely hate losing and it knocks my week a bit until the next hope of a win and a happy feeling. Get behind the team forget all the rubbish going on and give the lads all the love we have for them as it can only benefit them. Are Naaaaarwich moaning or getting behind their team? (I genuinely don't know). Positivity and trust we'll see us right. Do your bit as it's all I can do. Collectively it can be special.

    Report this comment

    Bouncing Blue

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Somebody mentioned that they're dreading seeing crowds of 12,00 -14,000. With the sh one t which is continually served up, I'd love it to go down to 1,200 -1,400. Perhaps then the "Silent one" might just clear off. Nah, it's continual BS coming out of the nodding dogs mouths, don't buy into it, stay at home and be all smug, just like they are to you.

    Report this comment

    floridaboy1

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Good evening.

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    Basil Smallpiece

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • It's time for Mick to walk.The team is poor and the bench is not worth a jot.All we are doing is stagnating and we will never get any better until this happens.Mick said he could not better what he already had,well he really shot himself in the foot then.The style of play is diabolical and everybody can see it. Mick has done his best,but it is time for a change.

    Report this comment

    Daniel James

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Most comments on this site today seems to say that Ipswich are not going to get into the playoffs so why are we not testing out our youngsters that should appeal to both Evans and McCarthy because there are no payments involved and you never know we may well find a Beattie a Woods a Gates a Butcher or even a Talbot to name but a few you don't know untill you play them so give the kids a chance as you have nothing to lose give Ipswich a chance to be a great well run club again before it's to late

    Report this comment

    Bacon & Egg

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • I think the people of this town DO NOT expect anything exciting happening at Portman Road for a long long time. The same apathy probably applies to the Ipswich Town Centre. The football product is not value for money at the moment and no new decent signings confirms that. Any money that is made goes straight in the bank and that's that. It is hard to think that the Cobbold family nursed this club for many many years and weathered all the storms along the way. The downward spiral began when modern day businessmen got involved who basically had no idea on running a football club. Letting clueless managers run amok throwing millions away and extravagant stadium plans was a complete disaster that sank this club into administration. If Evans wants to remain disconnected from the supporters and does not intend to "GET INVOLVED" in leading this club from the front he may aswell pack his bags and sell up to some one who is more interested in this football club.. Another season about to subside once again perhaps because we have a weak squad underlined by a strong reserve team losing to Colchester Utd. We could of been having a little money spinning FA Cup run but that dream was gone before it started. It is a sad state of affairs . I dread the day we are back to 12.000 and 14.000 crowds again.

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Wow, a lot of hysteria on the site today. This is a v competitive division, with lots of owners throwing a lot of £££ around - some of these can do so due to parachute payments (not ME's fault this), some are gambling (which many on here would love to see ME do more of but he does fund us to the tune of about £6m + every year). And even if he did spend more it is worth remembering that good players have the choice of which club to play at and often choose big cities or a place near their families - we cannot compete even if we throw big money at them. And by paying them big money we annoy our other players. It's a tough balance. And our injuries have been unlucky - not easy to find additional flair players: everyone wants them. My frustration: not giving the kids a really good go. There has been a lot of garbage about the "Derby Way" in the papers this week - well there was an Ipswich way: youth. From Beattie to Bent, Butcher to Bramble, etc. always given a go in their teens, often inconsistent to start with, but so exciting and so worth the risk. And cheap! To change the mood I suggest 3 kids on the bench each game (jeez you are allowed 7!) and give them a go...

    Report this comment

    CBMTOBWMMBG

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • I completely agree with all the comments regarding ticket prices. We as supporters are being ripped off, it's not even as though we are one of the best footballing teams in the division who are challenging regularly for automatic promotion. We are a mid table club who play awful hoof ball football which is dire to watch. Marcus Evans is charging us Premiership prices and not reinvesting in the building of a team capable of challenging for automatic promotion. WE NEED TO START BOYCOTTING HOME GAMES AND DRIVING THE ATTENDANCES DOWN as Marcus Evans has been taking all of us for fools for far too long now.I just wish that us supporters could gain control of the club as we all seem to be in agreement on whats needed to take the club forward.

    Report this comment

    Stat-Matt

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • The answer Stuart is very clear. Mick has repeatedly stated that he can't get better with the budget that he has. The clue is the budget or lack of it. We are paying peanuts for the likes of Coke, Toure, Digby, Foley and that polish fella. ME has even stated in one of your interviews that the Mings money will be utilised is running the club ... No mention of players. The problem which I repeatedly state is Evans is taking us for mugs. I'm not interested in running of the club, just quality of player on the pitch. Our budget is division one (lower half) at best. Yet, Evans despite giving us some truly terrible and cheap signings, continues to charge a premium price for what is now a poor product. As Pundit stated the other day, the only way to show disgust is to stay away, and reluctantly that's what I'm going to do. Evans is ripping people off. This squad isn't deserving of the second highest prices in the Championship. Evans should sell up or significantly reduces prices to a level more reflective of watching the likes of Giles Coke. When are the a EADT going to challenge Evans on this? The spin is incredible. Milne will claim that Mick has funds, but what? A hundred quid. That's funds isn't it. Doesn't mean Mick has anything worthwhile.

    Report this comment

    Jason

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Honest and accurate account's of the season so far in my eyes. It is becoming tedious and disheartening and I think the icing on the cake will be kissing goodbye to our sixteen straight home wins on a Tuesday night against Hull next week. Still fascinates me how teams go from premier league to league one and then back up to the premier league all the while Ipswich are languishing in the championship ready to push the self destruct button at any given moment!

    Report this comment

    Lee B Blue

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Well done to the author for this article. Good luck tackling Mr McCarthy in the next press conference though!

    Report this comment

    Ted Maul

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • I feel that we are where we reluctantly deserve to be and quite frankly I don't see how we can expect anything else for the rest of the season. This is not criticism, this is I feel, just a realistic observation of where we are. When ME came we all thought that we had someone who would invest in the club and take us forward. But after 2 disastrous management appointments and squandering of the funds we went backwards, MM steadied the ship and has worked miracles with little funds. His style of play may not be to our taste and is both disappointing and frustrating, but it does generally bring results hence our elevated status. ME is in a quandary now, having invested and seen no return he is recouping some of his loss hence no real benefit from the Cresswell or Mings sales. MM understands his brief and there fore has to keep his spending low if at all. The team we have is a well intentioned bunch of honest footballers who actually do the very best they can, and I for one have no axe to grind with them. Who else could we attract? The deficiencies within the team are plain to see for all but how do you fill or recruit? We are I feel a good Championship side who are actually going nowhere and probably will not achieve a higher position then where we are now this season. Perhaps we the supporters have raised the bar of expectation far too high and therefore are asking far too much than our modest club can realistically achieve.

    Report this comment

    Oxford Blue

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Good morning.

    Report this comment

    Basil Smallpiece

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Well said Big Spot 7 whymarkmariner our back 4 are not collectively consistent or good enough to meet the rigours of Championship let alone Premiership. We do not have a talented mid fielder and that has been obvious to those of us who know little or nothing about football, even before MM was so unfortunately appointed. A check on his past record shows a number of successes at promotion BUT equally a number of relegations ending in his sackings. He has always played the same boring formula of 'big boot' style, bypassing his midfield which perhaps explains why he has not signed a footballing midfielder for ITFC. Like so many other posters feel, on this forum, it maybe the tight purse strings of our invisible owner that is hampering MM's efforts BUT he was only too eager to accept his contract offer when it was offered. Why does he obstinately refrain from giving any of our Academy lads an opportunity of play time but at the same time says he is looking for young loanees ? Now with play off places looking unlikely and with little fear of relegation it seems that some of the Academy should be given a run out with little to lose for ITFC. But NO MM would rather put them out to lower league or non league clubs. He should at this stage in his management career have seen the possibility of injuries or loss of form coming and pressed for reinforcements but only trots out excuses such as, "There are none out there who are better than what I've already got" or " I've got Tabby, Cokes, Toure, to come in" and fails to select any of them. It may also be that ME, despite claims from Simon Clegg Mk II, that transfer funds are available, has decided that enough is enough and he is no longer inclined to invest any more transfer cash into ITFC but rather wait until by some fluke MM (if he is still with us) is able to get promotion 'On the Cheap' before offloading ITFC onto some other speculator. However, the EADT should demand a statement of intent from ME if they dare!! !

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    Brian Betts

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Good observations and questions being raised at long last. The only upside to the mounting injuries (if there is one) is that it highlights the frailties of our tiny squad and lack of ambition of our owner. When other around us in similar circumstances are moving forwards, we are patching, plugging holes and moving backwards. What is the point in having an offsure owner who is not here a good will gesture and is not a supporter, if he has no plans to get us promoted. Dare I say it (I know I probably shouldn't!) but perhaps we would have been better off with David Sheepshanks. Lets hope these questions are finally put to the club by the EADT.

    Report this comment

    russell mariner

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • I'm not trying to do the Managers job or say in any way that I could have done better than MM. When he came to the club it was on it's knees via two previous managers. He has made a team of no-hopers into a decent side. Problem is a decent side doesn't win this League. If you look at my comments on this forum over the past two seasons I have said the same thing over and over. Pointing out our lack of creativity in midfield and our lack of back up for loss of form and injuries. Even the manager after the Portsmouth game indicated that he knew where he was squad wise. Meaning that those that came in for that game were not good enough to go into the first team. So what happened ? Fraser and Skuse are out for several weeks, Oar and Parr leave. Bishop and McGoldrick aren't on the horizon. So those that weren't good enough now are. How come ? Have they been given a piece of cryptonite. As pointed out by the EADT and also pointed out by myself, in that I said for MM not to make the same mistakes as last season and not dip into the transfer market in January. Obviously he wasn't going to be aware of the two players getting injured, but you don't presume that your not going to need any money this year as nothing's going to break down or have to be replaced, do you? MM has set himself up well and truly because if Town fail this season the finger will be pointed at him as it has come from the club that funds are available and he has decided that we didn't need anybody. It's over to you Mr. McCarthy.

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    whymarkmariner

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Surely if Ipswich Town had any ambitions at all after reaching the play-offs last season, it would be reasonable for supporters to expect the club to build and try to better that this season by reaching the top two position !...the play-offs are a lottery....and sadly town really do not look like even achieving that this season !..

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    freedomf

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • ITHAD and others. Why do you keep referring to Marcus Evans as if it is a person. It is a company based in Bermuda which has lost a shed load of cash in the deluded belief that a small town club could get into the Premiership. Bournemouth and Watford achieved it last season; but they had the benefit of a talented management team and players. Can you imagine what the score would have been yesterday if Liverpool had been playing us yesterday instead of Villa ? Championship status is a fantastic result this season and lets hope for the same in many years to come; but with some flair and entertainment coming through from the academy in place of the tired old rejects we have now.

    Report this comment

    CritiqueBleu

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • You know these "fans forum" pages do throw up a lot of drivel and hot air but they do also, very importantly, throw up the views of serious Town fans who have been following the club for years. They do know when things are right or wrong and even if they (including me) don't always write with the slick verbiage of the journalists, they usually are right. McCarthy is a sound, astute, good reliable manager who, it seems, is doing the "holding job" that Marcus Evans wants him to do - maybe before he unloads it? BUT and it is a big BUT, too many of these knowledgeable fans have been saying for too long that we are boring, mediocre and too prone to error to be a real force in this division - another example against Bristol City on saturday. We are increasingly being found out and in my and many others' opinions, heading for another season of obscurity and if by some miracle we reached the Premiership, that we would be wiped out in the first season. Our club is rarely talked of seriously by any serious pundits nowadays because THEY also agree and unless we soon get a big change of direction and impetus, we are going to sink further into obscurity and failure. Ipswich Town please listen to the real fans who love you.

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    John Maynard

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • An honest account at last SW, although more goals from midfield would be useful the towns goals scored are only bettered by 6 teams in the Championship. The clear problem is goals that are leaked by the defence and McCarthy has fielded the same back 4 all season. Why ? The excuses around the current injury list is masking the real problem and that is his defenders are just not up for the job.

    Report this comment

    Big Spot

    Monday, February 15, 2016

  • Stuart Watson, those are good questions, we would all love to know the answers. What about pinning down Mr Evans and asking him?

    Report this comment

    Ithadtobe

    Monday, February 15, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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Leon Best, pictured in action for Sheffield Wednesday.

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England manager Alf Ramsey and captain Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet Trophy.

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Grant Ward celebrates after putting the home side 1-0 ahead in the Ipswich Town v Preston North End (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 27 August 2016.   Picture: Steve Waller   www.stephenwaller.com

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