North Stander: Here's when Town will win their first game of season...
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town fan and journalist Terry Hunt shares his views on the Blues after an incredible summer transfer window...
Well, life as an Ipswich Town fan certainly isn’t dull any more. Supporters who are questioning manager Paul Cook’s performance really should think back to the turgid, utterly mind-numbing awfulness of the last few years under Marcus Evans’ ownership.
Remember those deadly dull seasons under Mick “Every point’s a prisoner” McCarthy. The absolute boredom of finishing mid-table in the Championship year after year.
Cheering and chanting sarcastically “We’ve had a shot” when, yet again, we had our first, feeble effort at goal in the 70th minute. And the absolute certainty that we wouldn’t buy a single player on deadline day. Yawn.....
Thankfully, those days are in the rear view mirror now. The club feels as though it’s come back to life. There’s an urgency about it, a determination for success.
Just look at the transfer window. We signed no fewer than 19 players. That’s an extraordinary level of activity. Surely no other club in the top four divisions worked so hard in the window. It’s been an absolute whirlwind.
Chief executive Mark Ashton has toiled tirelessly to bring in new players, and is quite rightly being praised by Ipswich supporters.
In my view, the last two in through the door could prove to be the most important. Sam Morsy will introduce much-needed steel into midfield. What a capture he is, dropping down from the Championship. Given the calibre of player we have been able to attract, we must be paying very good money for League One.
Then there is Bersant Celina. He was a real favourite when he was here on loan. He scored some extraordinary goals, including his memorable last-minute free-kick winner at Burton.
It was Mick McCarthy’s extraordinary comments about Celina after that game which started the deterioration between the manager and the supporters. Remember his ludicrous statement that the more fans called for Celina to be introduced from the bench, the less likely he was to put him on? That was the beginning of the end for Mick.
Anyway...back to Celina. If he is anything approaching the player we loved watching during his loan spell, then he will tear up League One. No doubt about it.
Of course, there are question marks. He’s had Covid, and subsequently was diagnosed with a related heart issue. The medics have given him a clean bill of health now, and let’s hope upon hope that we see the best of him again. He is capable of providing a real x-factor.
So, Ashton has done his job and brought a host of players to the club. Now it’s over to Paul Cook and his coaching team to convert a whole load of new arrivals into a team which can succeed at this level.
As I’ve said many times, Cook will need time to achieve that. I know people are getting impatient, and expectation levels are sky-high, but football simply isn’t a game of instant fixes.
New players have still been arriving right up to deadline day, for goodness sake, so there has been no chance of finalising a line-up.
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But Cook knows that the pressure will grow if results don’t improve. We can safely disregard the hot-heads already calling for him to go, but if the wins don’t start coming in the next month or six weeks, then the sensible majority of fans will start to have serious doubts.
I have a feeling that the first league win will come at the sixth attempt, against Bolton on Saturday, another big club now playing in reduced circumstances.
We have history against Bolton, of course, most notably the Championship play-off semi-final in 2000. The first leg was exciting enough, but the second game was simply the most amazing Town match I’ve ever seen.
If we grab our first win against Bolton then suddenly the whole picture will look a lot better.
There have been glimpses of exciting, inventive play - such a refreshing change from what we’ve suffered in recent seasons. But we need to put it together on a more consistent basis, and cut out the daft errors which have proved so costly.
I still feel very optimistic, and I don’t think regular readers of this column over the years would ever accuse me of easily getting carried away!
At 5pm on Saturday, we will have our first win of the season in the bag. You read it here first.