Karl Fuller: Five years down the line, what will our club look like?

Conor Chaplin after the equaliser late in injury time at Oxford.

Conor Chaplin after the equaliser late in injury time at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

There was a time when I used to have to pen this column on a Saturday night.

I am glad that I can now write it on a Sunday. I had to sleep on my disappointment following Oxford’s last-gasp equaliser.

To say I, along with thousands of you, was gutted, is an understatement. I just wanted to bury my head in the ground and ignore what had happened.

Within seconds of the game ending, my phone was buzzing. Not from gloating Oxford fans, but my Ipswich friends who texted me to share their emotions. I simply had no words to respond to them as I was suffering in my own despair. 

Kieran McKenna after the final whistle at Oxford.

Kieran McKenna after the final whistle at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

By sleeping on such a disappointment, it allowed me to wake up on Sunday morning and put context to my feelings.

Make no mistake, this would have been a massive win. Not only would it have made our bid to reach the play-offs a smidgeon less difficult, but it would have finally put to bed the fact that we can beat a top side in this league.

It would have also given us all some reward for the upturn in performances since Kieran McKenna joined the club. We have kept all those clean sheets in recent games, yet when we needed one most, it just failed to come by a matter of seconds.

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Just like they had been at Portman Road, Oxford were the team most pleased with taking a point. The overall disappointment for me is because the side we are currently watching does not deserve to be held back by the side pre-McKenna.

Yes, it is the same players, but collectively, a whole different beast. All we can do for now, is pick ourselves up again, go for it against Plymouth on Saturday and see where that takes us. A cliché I know, but game by game and week by week until it is mathematically over is about all we can do.

Luke Woolfenden is closed down before he can shoot effectively at Oxford.

Luke Woolfenden is closed down before he can shoot effectively at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

News last week of Gamechanger 20 Ltd securing land behind the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand followed by Mark Ashton’s interview regarding the proposed changes over the summer will no doubt be another exciting chapter for the club.

When we go into the 2022/23 season and beyond, we really could be seeing a lot of change to bring a lot of better times.

All football fans of clubs at our level and below will say they deserve success whenever it comes their way, but we cannot all have it.

As long as we are seen striving for improvement and implementing structures geared towards it , then that’s more than half the battle. With what could potentially be around the corner for our long-suffering fans, I really cannot wait.

Town fans in the sunshine at Oxford.

Town fans in the sunshine at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

I would like to say that I wish we could be five years down the line to see how everything on and off the pitch materialises. But I am the wrong side of 50 now to wish my life away too much.

My congratulations go out to Ipswich Town’s Ladies who done themselves proud in the Women’s FA Cup this season.

I watched Sunday’s game on television and while there will be obvious disappointment at losing, everyone involved from Joe Sheehan, to every player and the staff should be immensely proud of what they have achieved.

Ipswich Town is a progressing club now, and the Ladies are also encompassed in our journey forward. All the signs are there that their future is just as bright.

I was disappointed for Tristan Nydam when I read his announced retirement. He was a player that I hoped would escape Paul Cook’s culling at the start of this season.

RH - Ipswich Town vs MK Dons 1

Sad news on Tristan Nydam, who has announced his retirement because of injury - Credit: Ross Halls

To see one of our own retire through injury aged just 22 is so disappointing. I hope that fate will deliver nothing but happiness in the next chapter of his life.

Last week brought some good news for yours truly.  I had an acceptance offer from a publisher to publish my book ‘Town on the Telly’. More details of that will be released in the next month or two.