Stuart Watson's Sunday Verdict: Banner containing The Smiths lyrics rather fitting as Town end season of angst on a defiant note
PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 May 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town's torturous season ended with an uplifting 3-2 home win against Leeds United yesterday afternoon. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.
Before the game a long banner which read; 'There is a light that never goes out' was unfurled at the base of the North Stand.
It's a line which the morose Morrissey repeats at the end of The Smith's 1986 classic. A song full of hopeless angst that ends with a defiant, joyous refrain. How fitting.
Ninety minutes later an utterly disastrous campaign ended with the semblance of a smile.
Beating Leeds United on the final day goes nowhere near undoing all the hurt and embarrassment of the past few months.
It does, however, enable us all – supporters and players – to head off into the summer in a more positive and optimistic frame of mind.
It brings those spirited draws against Derby, Stoke, West Brom and Bristol City back to the forefront of the mind and prevents us dwelling too much on the post-relegation hangover displays against Preston, Swansea and Sheffield United.
It was a reminder that watching the Blues under Paul Lambert's management has, in the most part, been fun.
It was a reminder of how fine the margins have been at times.
This could easily have been another 3-2 home defeat from a winning position, as was the case against both Bristol City and Millwall (the two most damaging results of the campaign).
Instead, Kemar Roofe blazed an 81st minute penalty over and 10-man Town were gifted a 90th minute as a calamitous defensive mix-up allowed Collin Quaner to roll the ball into an empty net.
It was about time the Blues got some breaks.
How fitting that the winner came in front of the North Stand. The Blue Action group down that end have played a huge role in this perverse feelgood factor that has developed in the face of adversity. Town fans, in all areas of the ground, have been supporters in the true sense of the word.
The Blues have finished 13 points adrift of safety. They even managed to finish below basket case Bolton. Most other teams would be facing proverbial rotten tomatoes, not a shower of roses.
This season should not be swept under the carpet. Some major lessons need to be learned.
Forget injuries, forget bad luck and forget budget constraints – the bottom line is it has not been good enough. It's a travesty this grand old club is heading for the third-tier for the first time 1957.
But we are where we are. The only choice is to look forwards not back. Maybe, just maybe, a sped-up demise has done the club a favour. Maybe true pain was needed to achieve meaningful gain.