North Stander: Talk of changing the manager after two games is embarrassing
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Town may still be winless this season but North Stander TERRY HUNT says there is simply no need for calls for the manager's head or any panic. Just be patient. This could hopefully be a mirror image of some previous seasons.
Let’s put things into perspective.
Think back to the beginning of the last two seasons, when, on both occasions, Ipswich Town burst from the blocks like Usain Bolt at his brilliant best.
As we looked down smugly on the rest of League One, some of us inevitably got carried away, and there was talk of 100 points, 100 goals, and finishing top of the division at an absolute canter.
But on both occasions, as the colder, darker days of October arrived, our promotion campaign went off the rails, and we ended up in desperately disappointing mid-table positions.
Now let’s look at this fledgling season. I think we will see a mirror image. Yes, the start we’ve made has been disappointing and frustrating, especially after the huge level of expectation which had built up.
But knee jerk reactions questioning the manager are simply ridiculous. We have 14 new players, with another apparently signing imminently. We were never going to get off to a flying start.
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As I mentioned, I believe this campaign will be a mirror image of the last two. The first couple of months, as new players settle and get to know their teams-mates, will be inconsistent and probably frustrating.
But gradually, It will come together. I’ve always said it will take 12 games for the new squad to gel (it’s currently the most used word among Town fans). Spookily enough, that will take us to October, the month in which both of the last two seasons have started to fall apart.
Between now and then, I expect to see a gradual improvement. We are already witnessing some quality moments, which we certainly didn’t get last season, especially during the final, awful months of a bitterly disappointing campaign.
I know Town fans are frustrated, and want to see some entertaining football and success on the pitch, after all the disappointments of the last two decades. That is a long, long time to wait.
But hotheads talking about changing the manager are simply being ridiculous. They are, thank goodness, a very small minority. We know that the vast majority of our supporters are patient, sensible, and balanced.
For goodness sake, Paul Cook has only one of what will be his first choice back four available at the moment. Within a few weeks, we will see a defence of Vincent-Young, back from injury Edmundson, Cameron Burgess, and Hayden Coulson, I suspect.
That will give us much more stability, and will eliminate the daft errors which have cost us dearly in the first couple of league games. Luke Woolfenden, in particular, has looked way off the pace.
Having played up the positives, there have been a few of “only Ipswich” aspects of our start to the season.
The first was the penalty miss at Burton. After several years of missing a reliable penalty taker, we reassured ourselves that we finally had one on the books. After all, Scott Fraser scored nine out of nine for MK Dons last season.
So, when we were awarded a spot-kick in the second half at Burton, we simply sat back and waited for Fraser to give us a lead for the first time this season.
But, after one of those frankly daft, stuttering run-ups, what he delivered was easy for the Burton keeper. Only Ipswich.
Of course, salt was rubbed into the wound when the home team scored the winner from the spot.
The second “only Ipswich” aspect is that we already seem to be piling up injuries. James Norwood is out - again.
Where is Jon Nolan? And there are others. Honestly - our injury record does seem out of kilter with the norm. Manager Cook seems very reluctant to discuss it.
Finally, there’s the “only Ipswich” issue of our woeful cup run. Yet again, we’re out of the League Cup before the kids go back to school. We have to go back more than a decade to find anything resembling an Ipswich cup run.
Of course the league is our clear priority. But surely a cup run isn’t too much to ask? They add something to the season, and can cement a winning habit. But we always fall, embarrassingly, at the first hurdle. Only Ipswich.
Back to the main business in hand - getting out of this dreadful league. Let’s not panic, let’s not embarrass ourselves by calling for the manager’s head after two games of league football.
Of course we always want to win the league by a distance. But, in our heart of hearts, we all know football simply doesn’t work like that.
We will be fine. Marathon not a sprint.