Town must learn from City’s recipe of success
These last two years have been painful for all Ipswich Town fans. They have had to endure the continued failure of their own club, and the fairytale rise from League One no-hopers to Premier League newcomers of arch-rivals Norwich City. Town correspondent CARL MARSTON highlights the reasons why City have blossomed, and Town wilted
These last two years have been painful for all Ipswich Town fans. They have had to endure the continued failure of their own club, and the fairytale rise from League One no-hopers to Premier League newcomers of arch-rivals Norwich City. Town correspondent CARL MARSTON highlights the reasons why City have blossomed, and Town wilted:
LESS than two years ago, Norwich City were the laughing stock of East Anglia.
Now, alas, they are the ones laughing all the way to the promised land of the Premier League.
By contrast, rivals Ipswich Town have either stood still, or gone backwards, depending on your point of view. The jokes are on Town.
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When Paul Lambert took his Colchester United side to Carrow Road and thumped the woeful Canaries 7-1, on the opening day of the 2009-10 season, their humiliation seemed complete.
Relegated from the Championship – Town’s 3-2 win in the East Anglian derby on April 19, 2009, hammered a big nail in their coffin – the Canaries resembled a ramshackle team when the U’s scored goals just for fun in the Norfolk sunshine.
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I should know – I was there!
I recall the boos that rung out around Carrow Road, the abuse aimed at manager Bryan Gunn and his hapless players, and the unforgettable sight of two Canaries fans running onto the pitch to tear up their newly-acquired season tickets after the U’s had raced into a 4-0 lead inside the first 22 minutes.
Just over 40 miles down the road, meanwhile, and Town supporters had much to look forward to, in the shape of the new Messiah – Roy Keane – backed by owner Marcus Evans’ millions. Promotion within two years looked a certainty, not a pipedream.
But that all now seems a very, very long time ago.
So what was gone wrong for Town? And what has gone so right at City?
You could write a PhD on this topic, but all roads lead to one answer – the manager.
Poached from Colchester United just 10 days after inflicting such misery on the Canaries, Lambert took on the seemingly enormous task of transforming City from a bunch of losers to a team of winners. The Scotsman has not looked back, from day one.
A manager is judged on results, but also on his signings and his style of play. Lambert has succeeded on all counts.
Over at Portman Road, Keane, the Messiah, failed to deliver.
Norwich: Paul Lambert, appointed on August 18, 2009, has presided over back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League. His record speaks for itself: 56 wins, 23 draws and just 20 defeats in 99 games. He and his coaching staff, headed by assistant manager Ian Culverhouse, have been instrumental in City’s success
Ipswich: Roy Keane cannot argue that he was not given enough time to get it right at Portman Road, but by the end of his stormy 18-month reign he had failed to take Town any closer towards promotion contenders. In fact, Town were just three points off the relegation zone when he was dismissed at the beginning of this year. His successor, Paul Jewell, has made steady progress in his four months at the helm, but can only be judged after his first full season next term.
Norwich: Bargain buys from the pre-Lambert era included Grant Holt (�400,000 from Shrewsbury) and Wes Hoolahan (�250,000 from Blackpool), while Lambert has spent modest amounts of money on the likes of Simeon Jackson (�600,000 from Gillingham), David Fox (free from Colchester), Elliott Ward (free from Coventry), Marc Tierney (undisclosed from Colchester) and Zak Whitbread (undisclosed from Millwall).
Ipswich: Millions spent on Grant Leadbitter (�2.65m), David Norris (�2m), Carlos Edwards (�.135m). Tamas Priskin (�1.7m), Lee Martin (�1.6m), Marton Fulop (�1m), Luca Civelli (�1m) and Jason Scotland (�750,000).
Norwich: John Ruddy has been the Canaries first choice all season, and has played in 44 of the 45 league games. A big hit since his move from Everton for an undisclosed fee last summer.
Ipswich: Three keepers have been used this season, Marton Fulop, Brian Murphy and Arran Lee-Barrett. All have had their shortcomings.
Norwich: The unsung heroes of the team. Russell Martin has been ever-present at right-back in all 45 Championship fixtures, while Marc Tierney has impressed at left-back since his switch from Colchester. Centre-backs Elliott Ward and Zak Whitbread have been solid and reliable over the last few months.
Ipswich: The least worrying of all the departments for Town, who have actually only conceded eight more goals than the Canaries this season.
Norwich: Even Town boss Jewell admitted that Norwich were one of the best footballing sides in the division, along with Swansea. The midfield is fluid and very mobile.
Ipswich: The arrival of Jimmy Bullard on loan from Hull, at the end of January, was a master-stroke. He has bossed the midfield and scooped the Player-of-the-Year award on the back of just 16 games. David Norris has also contributed 11 goals, and yet Town’s engine room struggled to retain possession all season. Grant Leadbitter has not been at his best.
Norwich: Only Watford’s Danny Graham (24) and Reading’s Shane Long (21) have scored more league goals than Grant Holt (20) this term. Simeon Jackson is also in the Championship’s top 15 with 13 goals, thanks to a late flurry.
Ipswich: Midfielder Norris top-scoring with 11 goals says it all. Tamas Priskin flattered to deceive for a second season, Jason Scotland has been inconsistent, especially on the road, and Connor Wickham spent the first half of the season on the bench and most of the second half on the left flank.
Norwich: Only four defeats on home soil, and 13 wins from 22 home league games.
Ipswich: Ten defeats in their 23 home league games was the club’s worst record at this level.
STYLE OF PLAY
Norwich: City’s diamond shape in midfield proved a revelation. The players sparkled in this formation, with David Fox impressing in front of the back four, and Wes Hoolahan wreaking havoc behind the front men.
Ipswich: This has been largely ponderous for two years. At least the entertainment has improved under Jewell, who has favoured a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 system.
Norwich: They are the division’s top scorers with 81 goals.
Ipswich: Town have mustered just 60 goals from 45 league games