Stockwell says stay positive

IT MAY not be good for boss Jim Magilton, but would life in the Coca-Cola Championship be that bad for Ipswich Town next season?

Elvin King

IT MAY not be good for boss Jim Magilton, but would life in the Coca-Cola Championship be that bad for Ipswich Town next season?

Of course it wouldn't.

The 2009/10 season is more likely to set the pulses racing in the Championship than the Premier League.

Former Ipswich stalwart Mick Stockwell, who has watched every game this season as summariser for Heart radio station, thinks Town could be better off having another year at their current level.

He said: “One of Town's best home displays was their Carling Cup game against Wigan. And they ended up losing 4-1.

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“This says much about their readiness to take on the big boys.

“Gareth McAuley has proved a good buy, Luciano Civelli could well develop and Owen Garvan and Jon Walters are quality players.

“But if Ipswich did go up they would need to invest in at least three quality players during the summer. And that would not be straightforward.

“Supporters naturally clamour for the Premier League. They would see the world's top players, but would they enjoy losing every week?”

Like every Blues fan this newspaper would be dancing with delight and singing their praises from the rooftops if Town were to find a purple patch and force their way into the play-offs - and into the Promised Land beyond.

But realistically it is unlikely to happen with 16, wins, 15 draws and 15 defeats (or thereabouts) earmarked for this mediocre campaign some while back.

And should we be downhearted at the prospect of missing out on promotion in a season where expectation levels were so high?

Does the thought next season of being in a position to compete more seriously for promotion - regardless of who is manager - appeal more than setting your stall out to achieve no more than avoiding a bottom three place?

Would another year at this level equip Ipswich Town better for advancement, and to be in a more advantageous position to cement a long-term top league spot?

And would the well-being of the club be better served by delaying promotion to secure a better chance of making strides to European competition and global branding than a �50million quick-fix, one-off flirtation with the Premier League?

On the evidence shown at Portman Road this season is Magilton's current side equipped to take on this country's giants even though Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has gone on record as saying that he thinks the gap between leagues has reduced?

No, another season in the Championship should not reduce Town fans to bouts of depression.

OK, they might do a Hull City or a Stoke City - or even an Ipswich Town circa 2000/2001 - but they look more likely to become a Derby County or West Brom.

And promotion would mean missing out on the blood letting battles with Norwich City, who the vast majority of Town fans will be hoping are kept up by new manager Bryan Gunn.