Stuart Watson: It's gonna take time... to do it right

Town players celebrate with Wes Burns after his goal had taken them 2-0 up.

Cameron Burgess, Wes Burns, Scott Fraser and Kyle Edwards - four of Ipswich Town's 19 summer signings. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

The squad complete, Ipswich Town now go in search of their first win of the season. STUART WATSON assesses things ahead of Saturday's visit of Bolton.

Mark Ashton goes to the Town fans at Colchester United

Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton has been keen to engage with supporters. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Driving away from Portman Road last week, I flicked through the radio stations in an attempt to land on a tune perfect for the moment. 

Sun out, shades on, an interview with Town chief executive Mark Ashton in the bag and a rare free weekend ahead. 

“I got my mind seeeet on you, I got my mind seeeet on you...” 

The toe-tapping melody of a George Harrison classic gave pause for thought. The lights tuned green. No time for choice paralysis. That will do. 

“But it’s gonna take money. 

“A whole lotta spending money. 

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“It’s gonna take plenty of money. 

“To do it right, child.” 

An involuntary smile. How apt.  

Ipswich Town now have serious US funding. Their summer recruitment drive has had industry eyes turning green with envy. And, behind the scenes, long unloved infrastructure is getting the glow up it deserves. 

Yes, Town’s net spend on transfer fees isn’t far off break even. Yes, some players have been persuaded to take a pay cut to join the exciting new project in Suffolk. Yes, it’s all within financial rules. 

The spending is calculated, true, but it’s also not insignificant. The days of penny pinching at Portman Road are certainly gone.  

For context, the six-figure sum the club has just spent on upgrading an antiquated IT system would have ranked in the top-three of transfer fees spent by Mick McCarthy over a six-year period. 

After some long-term drift, standards are being raised throughout the club. The dreams are big. And the resources are there to make them a reality. 

“It’s gonna take time. 

“A whole lot of precious time. 

“It’s gonna take patience and time. 

“To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it right, child....” 

Ha! An involuntary guffaw. Am I in the Truman Show?  ‘Patience’ and ‘time’, the very two words Ashton has just been very keen to stress during his latest piece of refreshingly open communication.  

This song would certainly have made a fitting theme tune had Ipswich Town agreed to let the Netflix or Amazon Prime film crews in this summer. 

Fans at the game.

Crowds have been between 18,000 and 21,000 for Ipswich Town's opening three home league games. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Rewind to a point in time during the first quarter of this calendar year, let’s say the 0-0 home draw with Northampton on February 16, and imagine being told then that Town would be signing Bersant Celina and Sam Morsy in the not too distant future. The very notion would have been laughable. Yet here we are. 

Think about it like this. All this change has happened in the space of five mad months. And there are still eight months left before this season ends. 

The preach for patience after a six-game winless start is fair. Rome wasn’t built in a day.  

And yet that little devil on the shoulder is always there, whispering words of doubt.  

“You were excited when Marcus Evans came in with all his money.  

“You were excited when Paul Hurst ripped up the squad for #newera too, weren’t you? 

“The honeymoon period never lasts. Just brace yourself for the inevitable crushing disappointment. It hurts less that way.” 

Urgh. Maybe it’s best to put on that cynical emotional armour after all... 

Town manager Paul Cook.

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook has the tools at his disposal to lead a League One promotion push. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Then George returns for his final verse.     

“And this time I know it's for real. 

“The feelings that I feel. 

“I know if I put my mind to it. 

“I know that I really can do it.” 

Yes! It does feel real this time, doesn’t it? Let's not let this positive energy dissipate.  

Money fit for the modern game, affable owners keen to engage, an experienced and energised chief executive driving day-to-day operations, a superstar sponsor, a manager who believes in entertaining, attacking football, plus a mix of exciting young talent and proven prime age players assembled.

A win against Bolton on Saturday would certainly go a long way to banishing some understandable anxieties. 

But if the wait does go on just a little longer, then stick on a cover track by one of the Beatles and remember the bigger picture.