McCarthy keen to thank Ipswich Town’s ‘realistic’ fans today
Ipswich v Birmingham: BLUES boss Mick Mccarthy is keen to thank the club’s patient supporters at the conclusion of today’s match against Birmingham City at Portman Road – the club’s last home game of the season.
The Blues’ traditional ‘lap of honour’ was an understated affair last April following a 3-0 home loss to Millwall, but, while another mid-table finish is on the cards, there should be more of a feel-good factor surrounding the end-of-season tradition today.
McCarthy inherited a side that were rock-bottom of the Championship with just seven points from 13 games at the start of last November, but a return of 50 points from 31 games has put them on the brink of safety.
Blues fans have regularly numbered over 1,000 away from home, while today’s attendance – thanks to fair weather and a ‘kids for a quid’ offer – could be a season-highest of more than 22,000.
“We do appreciate the support that we get,” said McCarthy. “I thought Chambo’s (Luke Chambers) comments on Tuesday night (at the players’ awards night) were sport on. They played 13 games, got seven points and weren’t booed off once. That’s testament to the support that we get. It’s lovely.
“I guess other teams come and here and will say it’s not the most hostile environment to come to and they kind of like that.
“We’ve had good support and good noise in the place though. They appreciate their team. The away fans have been terrific too. We’ll show our appreciation after the game, of course.”
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Asked if Town fans were a more patient bunch than those at other clubs, the former Sunderland and Wolves boss added: “Everybody wants to win, let’s clear that up. There are levels of expectation at different clubs though.
“Some think it’s a divine right or passage to the Premier League. It strikes me here that there is some realism here. I think the fans recognise that you need to have a good enough team to get promoted, they think ‘if we get there then we’ll enjoy it’.
“Just because Sir Bobby (Robson) was here and had great success, I don’t get the feeling that the fans are harping back to the good old days and saying ‘we should be replicating that’. I guess it’s all about different expectations.”
– See today’s EADT for a feature with academy director Bryan Klug, more from McCarthy and a full match preview. For live match updates, follow @Stuart_Watson and @ChrisBramms on Twitter.