SEASON REVIEW: Is your Town glass half full or half empty?
IT’S said that statistics can be manipulated to tell whatever story you like.
Ipswich Town were dumped out of both cups at the first hurdle, alarmingly conceded three or more goals in over a quarter of their 48 games, dropped a massive 27 points from winning positions, lost an unacceptable 10 times on home turf and were the only team to lose a staggering seven straight games in the Championship.
Alternatively, only four teams in the division managed to score more goals than Paul Jewell’s attack-minded men, the Blues did the double over more teams than they were doubled by, were unbeaten at home for eight matches at one stage, picked up an impressive 18 points from losing positions and took points off of all but two sides that finished in the top half.
There have undoubtedly been highs. Lee Bowyer’s last gasp winner at West Ham came amidst an early season six-game unbeaten run which left many convinced that Jewell’s policy of signing experienced ex-Premier League players was going to pay off.
Then there was the incredible 5-3 comeback win at Barnsley at the beginning of December. We’ll never truly know if Jewell would have lost his job had Town succumbed to an eighth straight defeat that day.
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And who can forget the night when Portman Road was left rocking by a completely unforeseen 5-1 thrashing of the high-flying Hammers? That result kick-started a run which saw 23 points gained from a possible 30.
That’s the problem though. It is too easy to forget the aforementioned highlights because, as good as they were, the lows have been so harrowing from a football fan’s point of view.
- 1 Swimmers report sickness symptoms after dip in Suffolk river
- 2 A12 closed by police after serious collision
- 3 'A rut had set in and it needed to change... we will have got one or two wrong' - Cook on his Ipswich Town squad cull
- 4 Haverhill firm goes into liquidation with just £2.42 in the bank
- 5 Edmundson ruled out of opener as Cook discusses 'four, five or six' more transfers
- 6 Evans on Town's 'powerful' mantra, not shying away from favourites tag and working under Cook again
- 7 Family 'devastated' after elderly man's Reliant Robin tipped over
- 8 Olly Murs in hospital after leg injury from Newmarket Nights gig
- 9 Nearly 20,000 parking fines since council took control of enforcement
- 10 Suffolk pub reopens with exclusive Champagne carvery
There was the embarrassing early season thrashings against Southampton and Peterborough. There’s certainly nothing like conceding 12 goals in the space of five days against two newly-promoted sides to bring everyone crashing back down to earth.
The 4-0 defeat at Burnley on a cold November night was about as pathetic a team performance as you are likely to see. Jewell called it a ‘spineless, gutless, pub team display’ – and that was an understatement.
And gallingly Blues fans knew that the Keystone Cops defending which led to so many last-gasp collapses during that disastrous pre-Christmas run only had their Norwich neighbours crowing even louder as they continued to thrive in the Premier League.
The final two home games of the campaign summed up perfectly the wild inconsistencies which has had supporters pulling their hair out.
A superb all-round display against fourth-placed Birmingham was quickly followed by a limp 3-0 loss to mid-table dwellers Millwall.
Such peaks and troughs are hardly surprising really though when you consider the destabilising factors.
There has been a huge turnover of players, nine different centre-back partnerships and countless off-field misdemeanours and PR disasters.
Town fans have been left feeling like another year has been wasted with few signs of any foundations being laid for long-term progress.
Throw in a difficult economic climate and many are carefully considering whether to renew season tickets.
However, Jewell insists both he and Evans have learnt from their mistakes. And, with a number of players departing the club there is, at least, something of a clean slate to work from this summer.
Get the right signings in early, improve on some of those mental weaknesses and there are undoubtedly signs that a step in the right direction could finally be made next season.
Saying it and doing it are two very different things though.