Mike Bacon: Never mind ‘do your job’ – Ipswich fans deserve a medal after some of the dross they’ve had to put up with!
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
In his weekly column MIKE BACON looks at the outstanding contribution Town fans make to their club.
There were 21,351 fans at Portman Road on Saturday, admittedly helped by a healthy Peterborough following.
Not only was that the highest attendance in League One, it would also have been the fourth highest in the Championship - and Premier League sides Bournemouth (10,722), Watford (21,229) and Burnley (21,048) all had smaller crowds at the weekend.
Food for thought don't you think?
So, quite frankly, I'm getting increasingly fed up of hearing about how Town fans 'can play their part'. Or how they can 'create an atmosphere'.
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One thing Ipswich Town fans are NOT - and that is the scapegoat for what's happened in recent years.
Indeed, Town supporters deserve a medal if you ask me.
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Still turning out in numbers some Premier League clubs would die for, and on the back of some of the dross they have been served up over the past half-dozen years or so, the club should be giving away free programmes/pints and Peppa Pig sweets, in thanks for their loyalty.
And let's not forget, many of today's Town fans remember Ipswich teams that were worth getting out of bed for on a Saturday morning to go and watch - with the likes of Liverpool, Man U and Arsenal in town.
I know Marcus has splashed millions on the club.
But fans have also splashed out thousands of their hard-earned cash. His dreams - and theirs - haven't got anywhere.
"The fans have got a massive part to play," said Paul Lambert ahead of the Posh debacle.
"We need them. Football is our job and they've got a job as well, to come and create that atmosphere."
OK. I'm not saying Lambo's wrong.
But what comes first, the chicken or the egg?
The team getting the fans going or the fans getting the team going?
I know which order it should be. In my view it's time for players to take a bit of responsibility.
Four years ago, almost to the day, Town beat Reading 2-1 at Portman Road with a late Brett Pitman goal.
Mick McCarthy was his usual 'humorous' self after the late winner.
"I think me and TC (assistant Terry Connor) made more noise than the crowd tonight with our barking and shouting and growling!" he popped after the game!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Funny.
I imagine Town were playing like Barcelona for much of the time that night, Ipswich fans just not appreciating it - all 16,616 of them.
Fast forward four years and, since those heady days of mid-table mediocrity in the Championship, Town have continued to do absolutely nothing in the league or cups, and been relegated after enduring the most embarrassing season for decades. And yet 5,000 more people supported them on Saturday than were there four years earlier!
Indeed carry on at this rate and the Blues will have 30,000 willing them to victory at Portman Road - albeit in the National League in 2024!... (I jest!)
And I'm not going to even bother talking about our away support which embarrasses every team in League One and did so with many in the Championship as well, so good has it been.
I know Lambert has praised fans on plenty of occasions in the past 12 months.
He's put a bit of money behind the bar, etc. It's a nice gesture.
But as much as they appreciate the odd kind word and a pint 'behind the bar', it's performances on the pitch they pay their money to support.
Don't worry about the Super Blues' support.
They are doing their bit... It's time for others to do theirs.
It was 'Italian Night' down at the Bristol on Friday
Which was rather ironic seeing as many were also celebrating Brexit Day! (We're an eclectic mix down at the Bristol!).
Pizzas, lasagne, spaghetti in one corner, roast beef and Yorkshire puds in the other.
Peroni, Ghost Ship, Adnams, poor Milky didn't know what to drink, or with what food!
Typically he got in a right mess as the night wore on and he mixed his drinks, spilt one over his Union Jack t-shirt, collapsed underneath the TV just as Farage was waffling away and was last heard singing 'I'm off to Sunny Spain... Y Viva Espana'! as he headed back up the hill!