Sunday Snap: Friends reunited, a dream come true and Cook's secret weapon in the battle to save his voice
- Credit: Ross Halls
Ipswich Town beat Plymouth Argyle 1-0 at Portman Road yesterday. Andy Warren looks at the events surrounding the game.
Cook’s secret weapon
Once again, Paul Cook’s post-match interview after this game was delivered with a husky voice following 90 minutes of relentless shouting, as his side earned him his first win as manager.
The new Town boss drives his teams on from the touchline. He always has and he always will. It’s definitely an endearing quality.
The relentless Saturday-Tuesday schedule is surely problematic for a man who ‘leaves it all on the touchline’, to twist a popular football cliché, given there’s no time to recover.
But don’t worry, Cook has it all in hand.
“Lolly ices,” Cook said, when asked by the Snap what his secret weapon is in the battle to keep his voice.
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“I love those buttons ones at the minute, the ones with the chocolate buttons in. My missus thinks I’m on a diet, so let’s be careful and keep it to ourselves, alright. (Sorry Paul).
“The funny thing is, my throat’s never sore. That’s the difficulty of it, it’s just the way my voice goes.
“I do have to be careful, of course I have, I know that. But I don’t suffer with sore throats or anything like that.”
If Cook’s voice does go, first-team coach Gary Roberts may need to step in.
“I think living with me for a week’s been enough for Gary Roberts,” Cook said. “He’s about to resign and go back to Liverpool.”
Ipswich Town are in play-off form.
They have taken 18 points from their last 10 games, that’s an average of 1.8 points per game. That form over a season gives you 83 points which would see a team make the third-tier play-offs in every season since they were introduced in 1987.
The Blues are now on 54 points, with 22 of those coming in the first 10 games, 18 from the last 10 and just 14 coming from 13 matches in between.
Oh what might have been.
The Blues sit fifth in the League One form table since the closure of the January window.
Who are top, I hear you ask? Well, that would be once-rock-bottom Burton Albion, who have played just eight games since the end of January – two fewer than most – but have picked up seven wins and lost just once under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. They are well clear of the relegation battle now, sitting 18th.
Now that’s a ‘new manager bounce’.
The boys are back in Town
It was good to see Cole Skuse back on the pitch for the first time in a year, with the experienced campaigner bringing an air of calm to the Town midfield during the final 30 minutes.
He’s not the most eye-catching of players and certainly splits opinion, but mine is that he's good at what he does – breaking up play, jumping on loose balls and giving those around him the freedom to perform. The last part of that sentence is key.
One man who is clearly glad to have him back is close friend Luke Chambers, with the two playing alongside each other more than 250 times for Town (I think the true figure is 255), featuring together in an eighth successive season.
Former manager Paul Lambert regularly warned the pair they would never ‘beat father time’. That much is true, obviously. They won’t play forever.
But Ipswich Town don’t need them to play forever. Chambers has made 33 appearances already this season, aged 35, and is still one of the first names on the team-sheet. He could reach 46 by season’s end and is clearly still contributing a lot to this side.
Judging by the way Cook has spoken of Skuse during his first 10 days as manager, the new boss clearly feels the midfielder is capable of the same.
Prior to Tuesday’s game with Lincoln, the Ipswich Town squad posed for a group photo to celebrate Chambers’ entry into the Blues’ all-time top-10 appearance list.
A nice touch for a player reaching an exceptional career milestone.
But one man stole the show. Toto Nsiala. I’m sure you can spot him.
You can usually hear Tomas Holy in an empty football stadium.
Generally, the goalkeeper is either shouting ‘shape’ to remind his team to keep their shape (self explanatory), or ‘reaction’, calling for team-mates to try and win the ball back once play has broken down.
But when Ipswich Town are horribly static when trying to get a throw-in back into play, it turns out he takes his shouting to a whole new level.
‘Moooooooooove’ came the deep, booming call from the North Stand end.
We’ve seen cats, dogs, squirrels, mice and even a cockerel invade pitches around the world. A cow would surely be a new one, but that’s what is sounded like.
Dream come true
Regular readers will be well aware of just how often the Portman Road pre-match music has been critiqued throughout the course of this season, largely earning rave reviews.
So, in an exciting turn of events, I wasgiven the opportunity to select the tunes for Tuesday’s game with Lincoln. An absolute honour.
My musical taste is eclectic to say the least, so to get the music of Royksopp (Eple, if you're asking) and Todd Terje (also Norwegian) played over the PA system during 30 minutes of fame both gave me my Scandinavian fix and was a life goal achieved.
Other highlights included a knock-off version of the Fresh Prince theme (Will Smith wasn't available) and the iconic ‘Sirius’ by The Alan Parsons Project. The latter’s best known as the hype music for Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
The selections can’t have been that bad – a few of the song were retained for yesterday’s game, including the Fresh Prince knock-off.
A big thanks to Town’s marketing manager, Neil Hawes - who also goes by the name ‘DJ Neilos’ and plays at Infinity in Sudbury every Saturday night - for making it happen.
I think we can safely say it’s a one-off, though.