Fuller Flavour: Sadly, my 15th-place prediction wasn’t far off - and I fear there’s worse to come

Paul Lambert's Ipswich Town finished 11th in League One, only four spots higher than Karl Fuller pre

Paul Lambert's Ipswich Town finished 11th in League One, only four spots higher than Karl Fuller predicted Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Archant

In his final column of the season, Karl Fuller reflects on Ipswich Town’s disappointing season - and fears for the future.

If I was not already fed up with the 2019/20 season at the point that it was suspended prior to lockdown back in March, then the official announcement that the campaign was over certainly confirmed my mood once and for all.

The ending of the season was no surprise of course, but some of it does not sit well with me.

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For example, it does not seem fair that the likes of Oxford United, Fleetwood Town and Wycombe Wanderers could vote to end the season for all except for themselves.

How can it be right, especially in respect of Wycombe who were sitting in eighth place to say “We want to vote to end the regular season and not play on anymore”, only for this to happen and they then find that, thanks to the points per game rule, they jump up to third and then say: “Oh, actually, we think we will play at least two more games now.”

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In my mind, if a club voted to end the season, their vote should have extended to include playing any play-off games if they found themselves finishing in the top six. I want to say that you cannot have it both ways but clearly, three clubs can. Wycombe have played a far better game in regard to this matter than the two games I saw them compete in on the field earlier in the season!

And for any Wycombe fans that might just be reading this, it is not sour grapes at all. My team have ended in a position that we fully deserved to finish in. I just spare a thought for the likes of Sunderland and Peterborough United among all this mess.

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As for our 11th place finish, why am I not surprised that the season ended in such a disappointing position? I do not expect anyone to remember what I wrote in my very first column of the season, so I will take you back to a prediction I made.

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My forecast was made at the AGM of the Clacton branch of Ipswich supporters back in July 2019 when all members present were asked for their guess as to where we would finish. When I announced my pick of a 15th place finish, I certainly raised a few eyebrows and some surprised comments.

How I wished I could be proved wrong and desperately wanted to be. That first column had a headline – which I do not write by the way – of “I can’t make up my mind if we’ll excel or struggle!”

And I think its fair to say that’s how the season panned out.

There were times when our league position suggested that we were excelling, especially from August through to October. That said, our performances often suggested otherwise. And then, after winning at home to Lincoln City in January, we were top of the league.

As for the rest of the time, we struggled and that I am afraid is just a continuation of the rot that has set into our club over the last ten years or more.

My reasoning for that 15th place prediction was based on the freefall that we continue to find ourselves in – and I still think there might be worse to come when League One football is finally allowed to resume in 2020/21.

I know there is no player awards evening this year but probably just as well. Other than Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden, who really came out of the season with much credit? You would have to point to Luke Garbutt and Kane Vincent-Young for anyone else to shout about.

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Yes, in the main, it really was yet another depressing season. Crowds that hovered around the 20,000 mark deserved better, hoped for better, but were delivered very little once again. Do you see anything to change the status quo at Portman Road?

My only hope is the changes that will have to be made in football might turn out for the better for Ipswich. We will just have to wait and see on that.

This is my final column of what has been an historic season – though not in the way we hoped – so let me finish by saying enjoy the summer, keep safe and thank you for reading!

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