North Stander: 'The biggest and most important summer for Town in living memory'

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook directs his players during the second half at Charlton Athletic

Paul Cook is proving that he's not a man to mince his words at Ipswich Town - and Terry Hunt thinks that's a good thing - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town fan and journalist Terry Hunt gives his take on the Blues after the 0-0 draw at Charlton Athletic....

Paul Cook certainly doesn’t mince his words. He’s left our squad of serial failures in absolutely no doubt what he thinks of them – and it’s not very positive.

He’s said he doesn’t trust them, accused them of not being fit enough, and warned of a painful close season as he becomes Demolition Man, presumably with several high-profile players joining Alan Judge in the departure lounge.

If that’s what he says in public, goodness only knows what harsh words are said in the privacy of the changing room!

Alan Judge celebrates after scoring Towns second goal to take them 2-0 up against Bristol Rovers.

Alan Judge won't play for Ipswich Town again - Credit:

There are those who would say a manager shouldn’t throw his players under the bus, and criticism like that should only happen behind closed doors.

But personally, I like the way Cook is going about it. He’s clearly reached the end of his tether with his under-performing group of players.

Did it produce a tiny response at Charlton? Maybe... but nothing to get too excited about!

In any case, the relationship between this squad and Cook is largely irrelevant.

The majority of them will be looking for new clubs at the end of the season. Cook inherited them, and obviously doesn’t like what he’s seen.

What he’s saying is exactly the same as us increasingly exasperated supporters have been saying for a long time now. For me, it’s refreshing to have a manager who is clearly seeing things from the viewpoint of the fans.

I’m sure some people will say Cook should be keeping the peace while we still have a chance of making the play-offs.

Marcus Evans talks to Paul Cook before kick-off at Charlton Athletic

Marcus Evans talks to Paul Cook before kick-off at Charlton Athletic - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Let’s get real. This lot have absolutely no chance of finishing in the top six. We might only be a few points outside the play-off places, but the reality is we’re a million miles away.

To say we’re goal shy is the understatement of the century. No goals in nearly five complete games tells the grisly story. It’s not as though we miss loads of chances. We simply don’t create anything.

James Norwood is the only player who looks like he knows where the back of the net is, and – surprise, surprise – he’s injured yet again.

So, the big challenge for Cook in the coming weeks is to turn his words into positive action. Everyone knows the squad needs a big clear-out.

We need quality players, and strong characters. The manager can be confident of good financial backing from the new owners.

Cole Skuse hasn't played all season with a knee injury and doesn't appear close to a comeback. Shoul

Cole Skuse could be on his way out of Portman Road this summer - Credit: Archant

We will certainly be saying goodbye to some senior players. The likes of Cole Skuse, Freddie Sears and Emyr Huws will definitely be out of the door. Surely the same will be true of Stephen Ward.

The situation with Luke Chambers will be interesting. Cook seemed to suggest last week there would be an opportunity for Chambers to stay at the club. Would that be in some kind of coaching role, maybe working with young players? We shall see.

It was fascinating to see our new owners boasting about how much money they have. Some supporters were saying they shouldn’t be so open, because it weakens our negotiating position when it comes to transfer deals.

With the greatest of respect, that is nonsense. Everyone knows our American owners are absolutely minted. Does it really matter if they tell us just how many billions of dollars they have? Of course not.

What was most interesting about their statement was the huge amount of cash they have. That’s the key difference between their wealth and the financial position of Marcus Evans.

Although he is worth hundreds of millions, much of his wealth is tied up in his businesses, and wasn’t available to Ipswich Town. These new people have vast piles of cash, which is liquid, and therefore can be made available.

Naturally, some people will be getting carried away, expecting our new owners to splash huge amounts of money for Paul Cook to rebuild a new squad from the ruins of the last few years.

I’m sure they will be very supportive but, equally, they will understandably be cautious. They will want value for money and, in the longer term, they will be expecting a healthy return for their investment. And, ultimately, that means success on the football pitch. That would be good!

So, we have a few more tiresome weeks before this dreadful season comes to an end. Then the really interesting times will be here.

Let’s make no mistake. This is the biggest and most important summer for Ipswich Town in living memory.

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