Inter Milan hero Matt Holland confident of good times ahead

HE captained Ipswich Town to one of their most memorable European nights of all time.

But a decade on from the Blues’ famous 1-0 UEFA Cup win over Inter Milan in front of a sizzling Portman Road crowd, Matt Holland is left perplexed over what has gone wrong since.

Crowned the fifth best team in the country and then beating the Italian giants was quickly followed by relegation, administration, failed play-off bids and finally mid-table mediocrity.

In the week Town fans reminisced about Alun Armstrong’s headed winner, the current side have the dubious ‘honour’ of having the worst defensive record in the Championship having conceded 10 goals in just three matches.

So where has it gone so wrong in 10 short years?

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Holland, who yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to the club by agreeing to replace Sir Bobby Robson as the patron of the Ipswich Town Charitable Trust, admitted: “It has been a difficult decade, no question about that. But hopefully good times will be ahead.

“I know the owner (Marcus Evans) and I am convinced he has the desire to succeed at this football club. And if it is not an overnight success, I think he is here for the long term.”

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And play-off winning captain Holland, who made almost 320 starts for the club and scored 48 goals, believes Paul Jewell isn’t too far away from having a side capable of challenging at the right end of the Championship.

He explained: “To say this season has been a little bit up and down is an understatement. But it is very easy in this division to find yourself flying up the league and there is no reason why the squad of players we have here – with a few additions – couldn’t do that.

“Hopefully it will come and Ipswich will be back in the Premier League soon. The facilities are magnificent and the ground itself is set up for Premier League football – the infrastructure is there. It’s just now about getting the team.”

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