Monday verdict: Why Watford win feels like a seminal moment for Ipswich Town
06:00 10 November 2014
Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Watford felt like a seminal moment.
The first chink of light to break through a decade of dark clouds. A light bulb going off inside the brain. A major obstacle cleared.
Pick whatever metaphor you like. Even the most cynical of Ipswich Town fans are daring to dream again.
The Blues are the longest-serving club in the Championship. And there have been plenty of false dawns during 12 successive seasons in English football’s second tier.
It’s beginning to feel like 13 could be a lucky number for the Suffolk club though.
Not that there is any luck involved. That would be a vast injustice to manager Mick McCarthy.
The Blues boss’ quiet revolution was beginning to simmer in the summer. Now it’s coming to the boil.
So many times in the past there have been anti-climaxes. On the big occasions the team has choked. Not so on Saturday.
Last Tuesday night’s impressive 2-1 home win over a previously in-form Wolves, coupled with several ticket promotions, drew a bumper crowd of 22,490 to Portman Road at the weekend.
Normally that’s when the floating fans, interested neutrals and young kids still deciding whether to give their allegiance to a Premier League big name or their local club, go away thoroughly underwhelmed.
This time, Town didn’t read the script.
A third versus fifth clash didn’t disappoint. Both sides went toe-to-toe, the Blues closing down with vim and vigour, passing the ball with confidence and defending like lions in the face of rapid counter-attacks.
Tommy Smith’s 83rd-minute winner brought the house down. The news that bitter rivals Norwich City had lost again proved the cherry on the top.
The statistics make for great reading. Only one defeat in 13. Three wins in eight days. Fourth in the table. Just two points adrift of table-toppers Derby and, following this weekend’s international break, a trip to second-place Bournemouth.
This isn’t the early stages of August either. We are now approaching the middle of November.
Years of disappointment may have led to many Town supporters putting up emotional barriers, but believe in this supreme man-manager and his hard-working squad.
First, the solid foundations were laid, then layers of style were slowly but surely added.
They started the season as top-six dark horses. Now Town have to be viewed as genuine promotion contenders. The rest of the division has certainly just sat up and taken notice.