North Stander: Dross football, banning journalists, what a miserable time to be a Town fan
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Another defeat, more injuries and the anger is rising among Town fans, as North Stander TERRY HUNT knows.
What an appalling weekend for Ipswich Town fans.
Another dire performance from our team, growing demands for the manager to be sacked, even more injuries, and the club showing it’s lost the plot by banning a local journalist.
All in all, it’s a thoroughly miserable time to be a Town supporter.
In 52 years, I cannot recall there being so much anger directed towards the club. Of course there have been tough times, but nothing quite as bad as this.
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Let’s start with what’s happening on the pitch. It’s looking very much like last season all over again. After a strong start, we’ve lost seven of the last ten in all competitions, and we’re in serious danger of dropping out of the top six.
We have absolutely no creativity or goal threat, and always look likely to ship a few goals. Not a great combination, really. Worse than that, it is so excruciating to watch. I thought our football under Mick McCarthy was dull. This dross is every bit as boring.
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Pass sideways, pass backwards, let the opposition set up defensively, then lose the ball. Hopeless.
As it stands, we are just a very ordinary League One team destined to finish mid-table in a division which is shockingly short on quality.
Of course, the ridiculous and ever-lengthening injury list certainly isn’t helping. I now make it 11 senior players in the treatment room. I’ve never known anything like it. Of the walking wounded, it’s Gwion Edwards and Teddy Bishop we miss most. They add pace and flair going forward.
Frustratingly, we never get any proper updates from Paul Lambert. I’ve lost count of the number of meaningless bulletins on Kane Vincent-Young’s injury. Will we ever see him again? He’s been out for more than a year, for goodness sake!
Is it just bad luck that this is happening? Is it our training or fitness regime? It was interesting hearing Mick Mills speculating that it might be caused by the firmness of the Portman Road pitch. But that doesn’t explain all the injuries in training.
Not surprisingly, the fans are fed up and there is a growing clamour for Lambert to be sacked. After a very, very poor two years in charge, in which he has clearly failed to get anything like the best from the squad, the manager would be clearing his desk at most clubs.
But that isn’t how our owner works. We all know Marcus Evans’ track record. Yes, he sacked Paul Hurst pretty quickly, but the exception proves the rule. In every other case, he has shown greater patience than most owners would.
When I was editor of the EADT, I spoke to Evans on a number of occasions and gained some degree of insight into his methods.
I won’t breach confidences, but suffice to say that he is not a man who makes knee-jerk decisions. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Lambert still at Portman Road at the end of this season.
My view? Lambert has certainly been cursed by injuries this season, but I still think he has massively underperformed with the squad he has at his disposal. He really doesn’t deserve to continue as manager of our once-great club. But it’s Marcus Evans’ views that count.
I have to say, what kind of manager would we attract to replace Lambert? It doesn’t strike me as a very attractive job at the moment.
Then, to cap it all, the powers-that-be have apparently done the daftest thing imaginable – banned a local journalist, Phil Ham of the TWTD website, from press conferences. To me, this is undeniable proof that the club has well and truly lost it.
Slapping a ban on a local reporter never ends well for any football club. It shows the organisation is distracted, under pressure, and is lashing out at the wrong targets.
Football clubs outside the Premier League need local journalists. You can bet your bottom dollar the national reporters aren’t in the least bit interested in what happens at Portman Road! I really hope this crass stupidity is put to bed very quickly.
These are very sad and worrying times for everyone who loves Ipswich Town Football Club. So much is wrong, and it’s really difficult to see the way out of this crisis.