Fuller Flavour: Mick McCarthy is only part of Ipswich Town’s problems
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
As far as supporting Ipswich this season is concerned, thank heavens it is now over for yours truly, writes Karl Fuller.
Never before have I wanted a season to end so much, never before have I not looked forward to the next season starting. Usually when leaving Portman Road for the last time, that three-month wait ahead before returning to my spiritual home seems like it might as well be three years.
I’ve wondered how I’m going to cope with approximately 13 football-free weeks, yet now I feel it can take as long it wants to burden my life again.
I could of course like many others, sack the club off, find a local non-league club to devote my time to and not worry about it.
The trouble is, I’ve been there and done that and the addiction has been too strong to keep away for too long.
ITFC is in my blood, whatever the football equivalent is of methadone, I know it wouldn’t be enough to wean me off my fix and yet somehow, hundreds and probably thousands of you have found a way.
Those that have are clearly made of stronger stuff than me.
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One such person is a guy called Dave from Felixstowe who phoned Radio Suffolk after the game on Saturday admitting that he had a tear in his eye as he left the ground in the knowledge that after 56 years as a Town fan, he couldn’t take any more.
This had to be one of the most heartfelt and rational calls I have ever heard on that phone-in and someone within the club should make the powers that be listen to this over and over again until the message sinks in.
I too left the ground with a feeling of despondency. Not because of the result on the day – Sheffield Wednesday deserved the win as did their great fans, but more so because a closure has now been made to a season of watching so much rubbish.
Of course, I knew already how bad most of the previous 44 games had been but to finally put a lid on it and reflect for a final time still came with its own disillusionment.
I’m not so sure the feeling of relegation could have brought much more sadness.
Yes, we’ve still got to go to Nottingham Forest and play out one more ninety-minutes of mediocrity and yes we could even relegate Forest.
Even if they were to survive, a club like Birmingham or Blackburn will still be relegated and their fans would be telling me how relegation really feels and I should be grateful for what we’ve got.
But that would be as much use as me telling fans of Arsenal to stop moaning for finishing in the top-six of the Premier League. It’s all relative and we all dream of realistic expectations being met.
My fear now is of realistic expectations of improvement for next season not being met and how much worse will our situation become over the next 12 months?
I stayed behind for Saturday’s lap of whatever you want to call it which was as half-hearted as the performance that preceded it and the half-hearted season that preceded the game.
Those that stayed in the lower Sir Bobby Robson stand made their feelings clear enough to Mick McCarthy and yet he is only one part of the overall problem.
Two years ago, we stumbled into the play-offs as Brighton, Reading, Huddersfield and Fulham occupied four of the bottom nine places.
Astute planning, good budgets, the right managerial appointments, the acquisition of the right players and no doubt a slice of luck, has seen those sides rebuild into some of the Championships finest sides this season.
I’d settle for a similar two-year rebuild, but just don’t have the faith in the current regime to have any idea as to how they’re going to implement such a plan.