Mike Bacon: Players back and young guns to star, the Blues can do this in 2021 - but we all need to pull together

Fans in the stands celebrate Flynn Downes third goal in Ipswich Town's 3-0 victory over Shrewsbury T

Fans and players united. Flynn Downes celebrates that brilliant team goal against Shrewsbury back in August 2019. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

I don't know about you but if nothing else 2020 has made me reflect on a few things.

That work/life balance, family, friends, relaxing, reading a book, going for a walk, and just.... well, just taking time to do things I was rushing around being too busy not to take notice of.

As fans of Ipswich Town FC, we have had plenty of time to reflect.

Fans at Portman Road ranked low for both banning orders and arrests Picture: MARK HEATH

2020 has been a time to reflect, including at Portman Road. - Credit: Archant

It's not been a good year, and while I know sport is not the most important thing on the planet right now, sport in general does still play a big part in many people's lives - and Ipswich Town certainly plays a big part in many people's lives.

Apart from the financial side of things - remember many local businesses and their employees benefit from the success of the Blues, as well as the many who work at the club, fans are emotionally attached. If you are a football fan you will know what I mean.

Ipswich Town, like so many football clubs, professional or amateur, are part of many people's wider 'family'. They have always been there for their club and vice versa. It's not 'just football'.

Skipper Luke Chambers at the final whistle after Town lost to Hull.
Picture: Steve Waller
www.stephenwaller.com

Luke Chambers shows his reaction after the recent defeat to Hull. It hasn't been a great 2020 for Town, let's not sugar-coat it. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

So, as we kick out 2020 thank goodness and look forward to 2021, in whatever guise it may bring, let's hope the fortunes of the Blues begins to turn.

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It's no good sugar-coating it. Finding positives at Portman Road right now is not as easy as it ought to be. I know the club feel frustrated by much of the negative press and fan reaction they get these days. Yet, sadly, it is the state of play.

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But, you know what?

There is nothing all of us would like more than for it not to be this way.

For the Blues to be out of this awful League One and pushing on at the top of Championship. Of course we'd love to be Premier League, but we won't chase those stars just at the moment. Let's keep it real to what right now is 'sort of' possible.

Ipswich Town's Emyr Huws celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Sky Bet Le

Nothing better for us all than Ipswich Town winning. - Credit: PA

As a sports writer, trust me, it's much more fun bigging sports teams up when they are successful and are winning. Everyone likes reading your stuff (well not everyone!!). Because everyone loves a winner.

Give me an Ipswich Town or Ipswich Witches big victory. Give me a non-league club getting through to an FA Vase final, a rugby club success, a local golfer playing in the Open and I'll write with joy on my face.

So, I do hope Ipswich Town get back on track next year and most importantly I hope the fans get the football they deserve.

Kane Vincent-Young was excellent for Town prior to his injury. Picture: Steve Waller www.steph

Oh how we would love to see Kane Vincent-Young back in a blue shirt... asap! - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

I do think the return of players from injury is something to look forward to and has the potential to get us out of this League.  But we can't keep 'looking forward' to players coming back forever. We need them back on the pitch.

Over the last decade the managers of our club have taken up more column inches and internet chat than the players and, while I understand how managers like to deflect stuff away from their squad, overall I'm not sure it has proved healthy.

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy took up plenty of column inches and internet chat - good and bad.

The club has many young players with real potential. I hope they can continue to grow and mature into the fine players they can be. I hope they can ignore any criticism. One positive for them is that they must remember Ipswich Town fans have been brought up on a diet of young players.

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And Town fans have always been brilliant in their treatment of them, giving them time to mature, to learn, to make mistakes. We applaud a bad pass, even though we are as frustrated as they are. We cheer and cry with joy when they score and you see all that youthful enthusiasm pour out. (I think of Flynn Downes' wonderful flying headed goal against Shrewsbury last year. A picture goal.) They have a huge future to play at our club.

While there are no Town games over this festive period for the first time in, I can't imagine how many years, it probably won't do any harm for us all to take a short break.

Town fans celebrating at Portman Road. Packed scenes like this won't be seen for some time yet, but up to 4,000 spectators...

Stronger together. But brilliant Blues fans need the club and team to lead the way. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

But I hope as a club ITFC come back in the New Year stronger. Our club badly needs to unite. It's going to take all sides.

Thank you for all of you who read this column each week and thanks for all your comments - trust me, I appreciate it. Especially any nice ones!

I wish you all a happy festive period.


UP THE BLUES!

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