Fuller Flavour: I'm convinced we'll finally see progress in 2022
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town fan Karl Fuller explains why he's optimistic for 2022 at the Blues...
Happy New Year to you all and as our dear old Queen would say, 2021 was another ‘Annus Horribilis’ for us Town fans.
In truth, it was just one of many in recent seasons and yet another we’re glad to see the back of. Including caretakers, we saw five managers use 57 players in 2021 and those two statistics alone tell the story of why things did not work out again.
We simply have to find consistency with quality rather than quantity. Despite our failings, I think foundations have been laid. 2022 will start to see the club progress.
How will progress be measured? Reaching the play-offs this season would be a massive bonus. I am not sure we will reach them personally, but I think we will now see us moving forward gradually so that this time next year, we will be a top-six side. Here’s hoping those words do not come back to haunt me!
My optimism is created from the fact that I believe that we have all the ingredients in place to make this project work. Just compare ourselves to this time last year. We have owners that show positive and demonstrable intentions to take us forward.
Beneath them, we at long last have a structure in place at the club. We have a bright young manager with no history to harp on about, who arrived at the club with new ideas to implement from modern coaching philosophies.
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And despite there not being evidence of it for much of this season, we have a squad of players that on paper at least, are an improvement on those that were replaced.
What I liked against Sunderland and more so against Wycombe, was that a formation to suit them had been identified, the fire in their bellies seemed lit and I sensed a real desire from them to do the shirt proud.
The win over Wycombe may not have been a scintillating performance, and it may have lacked lots of goals and excitement. But it was an assured and determined performance from every player to grind out a victory that on the night was just about deserved.
Kieran McKenna is now one of eight Ipswich managers whose first Ipswich game in charge was a home league game and he is the only one to win such a game (my thanks to the Renegade Statman for this great stat).
It may have been a coincidence but I left the game thinking that there were some subtle differences in our performance that may have come from the limited time he has had on the training pitch to date. I liked what I saw.
On top of all those ingredients mentioned above, I will throw in our support. The last two home games have shown the potential fan base we have to call upon.
Playing a good brand of football and winning games could see our crowds regularly around the 25k mark. And we won! Remember, our record over the last few years in front of big crowds is very poor.
See what I mean? Everything fell into place in that one game. There is much to enthuse about.
I know, I know, I have built myself up for a big fall if the next two or three games do not go to plan. But we have to start this umpteenth new era, at the start of a new year, with optimism and hope. And I really do think hope can turn into reality.
One uncertainty ahead is how many more games will be called off due to COVID. I was disappointed not to have football to attend on New Year’s Day and question if the system is being played by some clubs who request to have games postponed.
But in those genuine cases, I can understand the need for such requests. Let’s hope that this Saturday will see a return to action.
Finally, I would like to congratulate Ipswich Town fan and Radio Suffolk’s Mark Murphy for his MBE awarded to him in the new-year’s honours list.
It is no more than he deserves for his services to us all, including the many years of presenting Life’s a Pitch. Well done, Mark.