Fuller Flavour: My player of the season pick, and joining 'Town Matters' fan group
- Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwa
Ipswich Town fan Karl Fuller offers his thoughts on the Blues after Paul Cook's first win as Town boss...
For the first 20 minutes or so on Saturday, we were as excellent as we have been at any point since we came down to League One.
We produced exactly the type of football that a Paul Cook side is renowned for and if he can get this to work for longer periods in time to come, then we will be heading for the better times predicted by some of those in the game, who sound as if it is almost guaranteed.
We are a cautious lot though and quite rightly after what we have had to put up with for so long, but the result was another step in the right direction.
That we currently find ourselves occupying a top six place shows how bad this league is and after a couple of tough away trips this week, dare I say it, the final 11 games on paper look favourable.
Mind you, we struggled at home to Swindon and Northampton, so I’m certainly not counting my chickens just yet!
But, we are a different entity these days aren’t we? The fact that we went off the boil on Saturday can be put down to Plymouth finally getting into the game but also, partly because of the loss of Flynn Downes.
I think that we were just starting to see the best of Flynn after a stagnated season and hopefully he will not be out for too long.
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I thought that in the main, the defence was solid again and James Wilson is gradually becoming front-runner for my choice of player of the season. He barely puts a foot wrong.
Another clean sheet to take our tally to 11 at Portman Road this season (9 league, 2 cup), which is the best total in a single season for home games this century.
It's just as well that we have had so many clean sheets given that we have managed just 28 goals in 24 league and cup games at home. Strikers must be high on Cook’s summer wish list.
You may have seen last week’s announcement about the club revamping the fans’ engagement groups.
One such group, formerly named ‘The Fans Panel’ which was created in 2017, has been rebranded as ‘Town Matters’ and will include a representative of supporters from different demographics, stands and matchday habits taking part.
The focus will be on topics such as matchday experience, ticketing, iFollow, branding, digital marketing, community work, communication, stadium facilities and young fan initiatives.
I was invited to join this group a few weeks ago by one of the club's senior media officials. We had very good dialogue and at the time, I was asked what my particular concerns off the field of play were.
We could all drill down to specifics that we are not happy with but the crux of my concerns were around communication and transparency. I felt that if this or indeed any other engagement group was to succeed, then these are areas that need much improvement.
I then had a further conversation on Thursday evening where I was able to discuss more about what the groups would strive to do and how I could possibly help.
I know that those now in charge of the groups feel very passionately about improving matters for fans and I have agreed to help wherever possible.
Back in 2005/06, I was part of my local club, which was on its knees. Players and management had left the club and supporters were wondering what on earth was going on.
I felt passionately about what had become of the club, so much so, I set up a supporters group. We had regular meetings, identified what needed improving (just about everything) and more importantly, put an infrastructure into place where the club became more communicative and transparent. It worked and the place became much better for what we as a group were able to achieve.
Of course, this is on a far bigger scale, but there is no reason that with the right people in place, improvements cannot equally be made.
A fantastic quote I heard recently applies here. You can either do something or do nothing. Hopefully by doing something, matters off the field can improve no end.