Mike Bacon: New kits, new balls, but the best bit of news was this...


Another busy week at Portman Road - Credit: ITFC

It's been another all-singing, all-dancing week at Portman Road.

In all my years of covering and supporting the Blues, I don't think I can remember a new kit being greeted with such aplomb!

Then again, in fairness, even back in Sir Bobby's days, we never had Ed Sheeran sponsoring and showing of said new shirts. And even new balls this season. Wow! Does it get any better? So long as the grass is green!


Elkan Baggott. A fine talent who Town had given a contract to until 2025. - Credit: ITFC

Well, actually, for me anyhow, the week did get better.

Because as much as all what's going on off the pitch is fun and games, it's ultimately of course what happens on the pitch that is going to define Ipswich Town Football Club this season. For the last decade or more we've been woefully let down.

So, for me this week, the extension of young Elkan Baggott's contract on Thursday has been a highlight for me. Because at the end of the day, it's players that are going to bring the good times back to Portman Road.

I don't know what it is about young Baggott, but he is one of the most impressive young players I've seen at Town in many years. And I've seen a few come through in my time.

I'd heard a bit about him before covering a few U18 games a couple of seasons ago, where he stood head and shoulders (literally) above many of his team-mates - and opponents. Good in the air, calm on the pitch.

So, I was thrilled to watch him make his full Town debut at Rotherham at the back end of last season. And he didn't disappoint. This was what I wrote about him for our match ratings section after an impressive first full first-team game.

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'Elkan Baggott: Showed some very calm touches throughout. Wasn't afraid to want the ball, bearing in mind he was up against a strong and physical Rotherham attack. Can feel very satisfied with his debut, clearly one for the future. 7'


Ed Sheeran has helped launch Ipswich Town's new kits. - Credit: ITFC

I look back at that debut with great fondness. It's not often a young player leaves you thinking, 'do you know what? I think I've just witnessed a very talented player right there.'

And don't get me wrong, it's going to take a few seasons, young Baggott has much to learn but learn he will.

The international experience he is gaining with Indonesia is something he is clearly relishing, while current Town players are already talking highly of him. They train with him day in, day out, they know what they're seeing.

I'm dreaming a bit I know and no disrespect to any current Town centre-halves, but could you imagine in five years time, Baggott and Woolfenden at the heart of our defence? Wow! What a ball-playing, strong in the air pairing that could be (and home-grown t'boot).

Congrats, then to young Baggott on his new deal. And good luck, although I'm not sure he's going to need it to be honest.

England manager Gareth Southgate is interviewed at the end of the UEFA Nations League match at the M

Gareth Southgate, hero to zero this week! - Credit: PA

What did you make of England and the Nations League?

Gareth Southgate has gone from hero to zero in very little time. Hey, that's football Gareth, you and we all know that.

But really, what on earth is this Nations League all about? As if the top players in the world don't have enough football to play, World Cups, European Champs, African Nations Cup, Papa Johns Trophy!!! (I jest about the last one).

But seriously, you could tell many of those England players were at the end of a long season. It's June for goodness sake, they start pre-season training in about three weeks!

Don't get me wrong, footballers have it good, very good but to be fair to them, I don't actually hear them complaining about the season seemingly becoming a 12-month gig. It's us fans who moan at their results and performances and then tell them they are lucky to have such a job.

However, on reflection don't we all need a break at times from whatever we do to recharge our batteries? Yes, even millionaire footballers.