Fuller Flavour: 'The game summed up our season - good effort, but shocking defending and no cutting edge up front'
PUBLISHED: 09:29 11 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:29 11 February 2019
Without any doubts whatsoever the point has arrived where, in my six-plus years of writing this column, this is the most difficult one I've ever had to pen, writes Karl Fuller.
Without any doubts whatsoever the point has arrived where, in my six-plus years of writing this column, this is the most difficult one I’ve ever had to pen.
Usually, I write this on a Saturday evening with several hours of thought in between the final whistle of a Town game and the first word typed. The pressure of printing deadlines meant having to get into this the moment the final whistle was blown at Carrow Road.
To say that I’ve literally had to pull myself off the floor, feeling lower than a snakes’ belly is a massive understatement.
Like Town, where do I really go from here? I once read that as Town were slipping out of the old first division back in 1986, Terry Butcher took his dog for a walk to get away from how Oxford United were faring against Arsenal in the knowledge that an Oxford win would keep them up and relegate us.
I had that kind of feeling before this latest derby debacle. Should I have taken the dog for a walk and avoided it all?
I probably would have done had it not been raining! I also felt some loyalty to the column and decided I needed to keep in touch somehow to make it look like I had some idea of what happened in the game.
I’ll quickly go back to Saturday evening where I had a rare night off but was still pondering about how the column would pan out on Sunday afternoon.
A Town win and it would more-or-less write itself. A loss and well, it would just be another anecdote of despondency coupled with that everlasting feeling of dejection that is associated with being an Ipswich fan. Alas, when did this column last write itself?
On-the-whole. the game summed up our season. Good effort in parts but shocking defending and no cutting edge up front.
I feared before the game that we’d be looking at least a 4-0 defeat and whilst that scoreline looked a way off for most of the game, it wasn’t far from being correct in the end.
Forget the opposition for one moment and the type of game that it was, it was a classic example of a top side doing what they needed to do against a bottom side. Quietly clinical without needing to be anything more than that. I certainly feared the worst when they scored after just 82 seconds.
Yes, there was passion but sadly it wasn’t and never will be enough. I don’t know what was said in the shenanigans just before the interval, but Paul Lambert showed his true colours and they are certainly blue these days.
It was laughable listening to the Norwich fans giving him all the stick they did. We knew it was coming of course but remember, he is one of their greatest ever managers. Could you ever imagine Sir Bobby coming back to Portman Road after he’d left us and being on the end of such verbal abuse?
I have felt for a while that this season is over. The less realistic and more positive amongst us will argue that it’s still mathematically possible to stay up.
But as we entered 2019, my realistic hopes of having anything to cheer about rested on a win in the FA Cup and a long overdue triumph against Norwich. Yet again, neither materialised and the wait goes on.
These final 15 games of the season will be nothing more than a procession. I really cannot wait until the season is done and then we can have three months off in the summer without having to go through anymore of this.
But until May, where does Lambert go from here? He’ll keep fighting until it’s not possible to stay up I’ve no doubt. But one eye really must be on the future now and preparations for life in League One should start in earnest.
My final word goes to all those Ipswich fans present at the game. You’re all heroes facing up to everything thrown at you. You defended the good name of Ipswich Town Football Club and it’s such a shame that your efforts were not rewarded.
You all deserved so much more.