Fuller Flavour: It’s May 6 – A poignant date for Blues fans that Town could not be further away from now
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Karl Fuller reflects on a season to forget despite the win over Leeds
How poignant that my final column of the season should go to print and online today of all days.
This wonderful date every year is always full of celebrating our FA Cup win and to all intents and purposes, our UEFA Cup win as we secured that 3-0 first-leg win on this date.
This obituary of our ‘annus horribilis’ could not place us any further away from those glory days, these are very sad times.
And while it was nice to finish on a win over Leeds, I must admit the last two seasons of writing the column were often labelled as ‘Groundhog Days.’
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The last two seasons of writing the column were often labelled as ‘Groundhog Days.’
Every week I felt like I was repeating the very column that I had written just the week before. This time last year felt like the shackles were off and an exciting new era awaited us in 2018/19.
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In truth, that early debut goal from Gwion Edwards against Blackburn was as good as it got.
Back then, I wrote about a road of hope ahead after circling the cul-de-sac of apathy for so long. Before we’d reached second gear, that road led us into a horrid dead-end with no return on offer.
I was excited at the prospect that was Paul Hurst coming to our club.
A young, English manager who had good levels of success in the lower leagues with each of the clubs he’d managed previously. But very quickly, he’d ripped the heart out of the team, and it was clear that he was out of depth in the most demanding of leagues he’ll probably ever mange in.
So bad were things, my head was consigned to relegation as early as the end of October.
I had never seen such a disjointed and malfunctioning Ipswich Town team in my 40 years as a fan. I remember vividly the performance, atmosphere and fears for our future during the Middlesbrough home game.
When Hurst was sacked, it was no surprise to me, but it was certainly a massive surprise that Paul Lambert should be named as his replacement.
How on earth could we be installing a former Norwich manager (and one of their best-ever at that) as our new man in charge?
I was very sceptical to say the least. However, I was prepared to give him a fair chance and that meant foolishly or otherwise, a free hit for the rest of this season.
What I will say, is in the main, he has got me enjoying coming back to Portman Road again – along with the efforts of Blue Action of course.
This season, we failed to beat Norwich - again, failed to win in the FA Cup – again, going out of that competition against lower-league opposition – again.
It has always been too much to ask for a win in just one of these games in recent years. Our relegation will have those experts grinning from ear-to-ear who warned us to be careful with what we wished for.
They’ll say we’ve gotten what we deserve.
I still stand by change was needed regardless of what’s happened since. We just made the wrong change as it turned out.
We’ll desperately be hoping that this step back will be to take a couple forward in the future. Marcus Evans needs to wake-up to this situation and turn us around.
I’ve written this column for almost seven years now and the very first one back on September 24, 2012 criticised Evans for his running of the club.
Apart from one season, I’ve not moved away much from those thoughts.
All that said, I will never forget this season for one reason alone and that was the ticket initiative that took off in November when my idea of offering two tickets to someone who could not ordinarily afford to go to games amounted to over 900 tickets donated thanks to so many brilliant Ipswich Town fans who also donated.
This story made national news and showed how and why ITFC fans are some of the best in the country.
More than 11,000 season ticket sales so far too for next year shows how much our fans are willing to stick with it.
Thank you as always to those of you who read and support the column, so many of you take the time to give great feedback. Enjoy your summer.