A bit more honour about Ipswich Town players’ end of season lap this time, admits Mick McCarthy
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy was glad that the end of season lap of appreciation was a two-way affair this time around.
This time a year ago the club’s staff and players darted to the centre circle, sheepishly acknowledged all four sides of a rapidly emptying Portman Road and then swiftly headed for the tunnel after the final home game of a chaotic campaign.
Twelve months later, the vast majority of those inside the stadium stayed behind to warmly applaud the efforts of a low-budget squad after a typically hard-fought 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday brought the curtain down on a solid season of progress.
“Everybody I’ve spoken to says they appreciate what we’re doing,” said McCarthy. “Maybe the ones who don’t think we deserve to be appreciated don’t talk to me. There might be some of them, but hey – bothered.
“I think the majority would say they have appreciated the effort of the players. We certainly always appreciate their support. The away support in particular has been magnificent.”
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Ninth-place in the Championship with a total of 68 points represents the club’s best finish in six seasons. Indeed, it is a season which has only been surpassed once in the last nine – and even then Jim Magilton’s team of 2007/08 only finished one place and one point better off.
And while the football hasn’t always been easy on the eye, the foundations of a spirited, hard-to-beat team are in place to build upon this summer as the club prepares to head into its 13th successive year at Championship level.
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When it was put to McCarthy that you couldn’t question his side’s character and effort, even if they have just lacked a little bit of quality at key moments, he replied: “I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that.
“We didn’t play particularly well today, but this group of players always stick at it. I’m immensely proud of the lads this season. They’re a real spirited group of lads. They’re great.”
He added: “It’s progress, but I don’t really do ‘it’s enough’, ‘it’s ordinary’, ‘it’s fine’, ‘it’s acceptable’ though. I do prefer better than that and I expect better than that.”