North Stander: Why I can't wait for this dreadful season to end

Town manager Paul Cook holds his head in frustration.

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook reacts during the latest 0-0 draw, with MK Dons yesterday - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

Ipswich Town fan and journalist Terry Hunt gives his take on the Blues after a very eventful week at Portman Road...

There are two Ipswich Towns at the moment - the future version, which offers so much excitement, and the incredibly turgid, dull-as-ditchwater present day one.
Let’s start with the future, which now has huge potential, thanks to the American takeover which came to fruition last week.

It was so refreshing to see Brett Johnson, one of the new owners, and Mike O’Leary, the new chairman, speaking to the media so openly on the same day as the takeover was announced, after months of rumour and speculation.

Such a contrast to the Marcus Evans era, when we had to make do with very occasional statements from the publicity-shy man at the top.

Ipswich chairman Mike OLeary looks on from the front row of the directors box.

Ipswich chairman Mike OLeary looks on from the front row of the directors box. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

The new owners are promising significant investment, which of course is music to the ears of every single Ipswich Town supporter. It surely means a return to the Championship pretty quickly.

Then, beyond that, is where the real potential excitement lies. As Brett Johnson said during his interviews, why would anyone invest big money into an English football club without aiming to get into the Premier League?

Bang on, Brett. The only way they will see a return on their money is to see Ipswich playing their football in the Land of Milk and Honey. And that’s a really exciting prospect.

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Before we all get too carried away, one or two words of caution. Sorry. Firstly, I hope the new owners hold their nerve if success doesn’t come as quickly as they want.

There are no guarantees in English football, as Marcus Evans discovered to his cost. Eventually, having had his fingers burned in his early years at Portman Road, he reduced his spending and so began the dreadful drifting of recent seasons.

The other intriguing questions are about Paul Cook, our still relatively new manager. How much did he know about the impending takeover when he joined the club? 

Was he in the loop, or did the news of the big change come as much of a surprise to Cook as I know it did to others at Portman Road?

A key issue going forward is the working relationship between Cook and the yet to be appointed new Chief Executive. It seems almost certain that the new man will be Mark Ashton, currently running day-to-day football operations at Bristol City.

If Ashton arrives in the coming weeks, his working relationship with Cook will be interesting. I’m told Ashton is very hands-on in his approach. Will Cook be comfortable with that? We shall see.

On the subject of the manager, why has he not attended the last two press conferences? The pre-match session was cancelled last week, and first team coach Matt Gill deputised after the MK Dons game.
It means we have yet to hear Cook’s views on the takeover. Come on, Paul. It’s part of your job to front up to the media. It’s not just reporters you’re talking to - it’s the fans, who hang on your every word.

Having said all of that, the future does now have huge potential and - above all - hope. There was genuine euphoria among Town supporters last Wednesday when the deal was announced. Me included. Suddenly, there is light at the end of what has been a very long, dark tunnel.

It really will be a fascinating summer. Lots of comings and goings are inevitable, and I look forward to a change in the whole ethos of the club. More transparent, more open, showing the loyal fans that they really are valued. The new men have made a good start. Season tickets will fly off the shelf now.

Sadly, we also have the present-day to contend with. What the new owners think of our current players, and their dreadful performances, goodness only knows.

Two games against poor opposition without managing to muster a single effort on target really is a damning statistic. Without James Norwood, we look as though we could play for a month of Sundays without scoring a goal.

I don’t think I’m the only Town fan who cannot wait for this season to end, so we can get on with the transformation which our club so desperately needs. The dreadful, turgid games we’re suffering now are just irrelevant.

Finally, two more bright spots for the future. First, well done to the youngsters on their progress in the FA Youth Cup. Looks like we have some real promise there, in the best Ipswich tradition.

Tristan Nydam makes a return to the pitch.

Tristan Nydam makes a return to the pitch. - Credit: Steve

Also, how good was it to see Tristan Nydam back on Saturday after such a two-year absence after an horrific injury?

Nydam is a real bright spark, a genuine talent. I hope he has a big part to play in a very bright new era for our football club.

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