Mike Bacon: Ipswich Town in League One. Is your glass half full or half empty?
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
As the new football season gets ever closer, MIKE BACON, takes a look at the reality of life in League One for Ipswich Town
Now we've all had time to digest relegation from the Championship, are you looking forward to Ipswich Town playing in League One? Or not?
I've read and listened to a diverse range of views on the subject.
From the pessimists who are sure the Blues are set for a decade in League One, before dropping into League Two and eventually into Bostik North - to those who can't wait to visit new grounds and attend the open-top bus ride around the Cornhill next May - (avoiding the water feature, obviously) - parading League One trophy aloft.
I think it is fair to say I'm leaning more towards the open-top parade than Bostik North.
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But one thing is for sure - those who think it will be some sort of cake-walk for Town next season, had better splash cold water over their faces right now.
League One will not be for those of a nervous disposition.
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It will be tough and uncompromising, with experienced pros pulling the strings and eager youngsters keen to make their mark. It could be a potent mix at times.
Remember - if you needed reminding - Town couldn't beat Lincoln City in two separate FA Cup games a few seasons back.
That, when more than 50 places in the pyramid and two full divisions separated them. Next season they're in the same league.
If you were a neutral and were given a free £10 bet, who would you put your money on to win the League One game between the two sides at Sincil Bank next season - Lincoln or Town?
And of course the Blues, like Sunderland have found, will have a very tempting target on their backs.
Ipswich will understandably be considered a 'big club' in League One. There aren't many former UEFA Cup winners in the division.
Portman Road is a classy place to come and play football, fine pitch, nice stadium and capable of generating a good atmosphere.
Put simply, any League One player worth their salt will be looking forward to playing Town away.
Oh dear, I'm drifting into pessimism here... drag me back!
Okay, okay, all that aside, Town still have a good chance of bouncing straight back into the Championship.
By the time you read this James Norwood may be back from his holiday and is now a Town player. Alan Judge is already signed up.
While fans cry out for young players trust me, in League One, the likes of Judge, Norwood, Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse are going to be absolutely pivotal.
Rochdale, away, on a wet Tuesday night in January (don't worry, I haven't seen the fixtures, I'm only guessing!), will likely be as much a battle of physicality as a game of football.
Young players will likely sink or swim.
'Faint heart never won fair lady', so my Uncle Bob, used to say, referring to anything from competitive sport to chucking new ingredients into my auntie Joy's chilli!
In Paul Lambert Town do at least have a manager who knows what it takes to win promotion, but he will know football talent alone won't get the Blues out of League One.
Character and bottle will be as crucial as 'Cruyff turns' and 25-yard thunderbolts, 'top bins'!
Then again, that skill and good football is where I think Town have an edge. There are many good footballers on Ipswich Town's roster.
So, despite a few concerns, I will say my glass remains well above the 'half-full' line right now.
Hopefully, I'll be topping it up a bit more 10 games in.
DID you see Ipswich Witches race at Belle Vue on BT Sport on Monday night?
I know my good golfing friend Graham Cook, he of ex-Felixstowe Ferry GC and Seckford GC fame didn't, because he hasn't got BT Sport and is always telling me to stop moaning about not being able to watch the World Cup cricket because I don't have Sky!
I suppose I could go round his house to watch the cricket and he could come round mine to watch the speedway.
But he drinks more than me and I can't afford to top him up with beer all night!
Anyhow, the Witches were superb at Belle Vue, losing out in a last-heat decider.
They are still right up there in the Premiership. Hopefully they make the play-offs... Although I'm starting to worry the play-offs may coincide with me and Cookie's golf tour this year in Bridlington... Oh dear!
Then again, so long as we find a pub with BT Sport in, we'll be fine!