Fuller Flavour: A couple of ciders, a London Undergroud map and a Town win at Portman Road. I love football!
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Karl Fuller hasn’t seen Town win at home on a Saturday for nearly a year! He has now
It was cold, it was wet, it wasn’t pretty, but after 364 days of football hurt, I’ve finally seen Ipswich win a home game on a Saturday.
Not since beating Reading 2-0 on December 16, 2016, have I walked out of Portman Road with a smile on my face following a Town win and I know I’m not alone with those sentiments.
Of course, it is only the start of a massive task to climb out of the bottom three and this needs to be backed up straightaway with more points.
But with Sheffield United and Middlesbrough on the immediate horizon, that is not going to be easy. For now, as I write this on Saturday evening, I’m just going to enjoy the moment as they’ve been pretty rare in the past year.
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It was also a day for me to be proved totally wrong with my realistic notions of wondering exactly where our next win was coming from.
Before the game, I was in the company of positive thinking fans but I just couldn’t share their enthusiasm for the afternoon ahead.
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A quick stop at The Brantham Bull on the way saw landlord Paul saying how nice three points would be but I threw it straight back at him with how I couldn’t see those points being forthcoming.
Incidentally, I did leave The Bull with a nice gift for myself.
I’ve always found the London Underground map fascinating and a few years ago, saw such a map which displayed England footballer names instead of the names of all the Underground stations. Paul is currently selling the map but with the names of past and present Ipswich players as stations. Priced at £9.95, it’s worth grabbing one if you’re passing by.
Arriving at the ground a couple of hours or so before the game, I met up with my good friend Kevin Painter.
The Artist was convinced we would win but I still wasn’t convinced myself.
As we chewed the fat over a couple of ciders with friends Jason and Kris, I couldn’t help but think about a game against Wigan in January of 2015 when Kevin and I shared hospitality. I remember that day how he’d had a bet on Town to win and it finished 0-0.
I wondered why he should be setting himself up for a fall yet again when in the end, it was me doing that to myself.
I don’t think that I had been so cold at a football match since an away day trip to Charlton – another 0-0 game – on a New Year’s Day in the late 90s.
I certainly don’t think I’ve been so wet. The conditions must have contributed to the dour affair for sure, but even so, we were watching a game that showed why one team is bottom of the league and why really, another one should only be one place above.
Wigan were shocking and add to that some very mystifying decisions by the match referee, it looked like another frustrating and anti-climatic afternoon was on the cards.
I said to Kevin at the break, why for once could we just not have a streaky goal go our way. For example, a defensive clearance ricocheting into the back of the net from the backside of Freddie Sears.
Alas, whilst not quite so fortunate, it did take a little bit of luck for Freddie’s shot to find its way into the back of the net.
But nobody can argue that we were not due a piece of fortune for a change. Apart from a couple of free-kicks, Wigan offered next to nothing.
Although kudos to Dean Gerken from pulling off a great save from one such set piece.
I don’t know where seven minutes of additional time came from but having waited so long to witness a Saturday home win, it felt like torture to have to wait that bit longer for what seemed a lifetime for the final whistle to go.
A Chambo fist-pump was cheered – I’d forgotten what one of those looked like – and exiting the North Stand was met with a good number of us singing in the rain.
What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again.