The Fuller Flavour: A sense of relief and the scenes at the end were no surprise
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Town fan Karl Fuller hails the fans as Town look ahead to life in League One
The fat lady is singing, the ‘R’ is now next to our name, and although I’ve known for the best part of six months that the day would come to finally write about relegation, it’s still kind of weird that it has arrived.
I’ve seen Ipswich relegated three times before and each brought about different emotional experiences.
1985/86 was gut-wrenching for following our final game of the season, we were outside the bottom three and had to wait two days for Bank Holiday Monday and an Oxford defeat over Arsenal to relegate us.
One win in our last eight games is what did it for us and ironically that was against Oxford.
In 1994/95, it was very similar to this season in that we were a poor outfit and knew we’d be going down long before the time came.
But unlike this season, we were getting beaten heavily regularly, often conceding four, not to mention the embarrassing nine we conceded at Man United.
One win in the last 13 that season was mirrored in 2001/02 when we also managed just one win in the final 13 games and relegation then still feels as if it could easily have been avoided.
This season, results have proved to be the worst in my lifetime, and we have got every ounce of what we deserve.
I feel sad that our club who were just one of nine not to have played outside the top two divisions over the past 62 years should now find ourselves in the situation we’re in.
I feel some sense of relief that it has finally been confirmed and any unrealistic notion of staying up has finally been put to bed.
And when I sieve through the emotion of acceptance, I find some anger too at how we’ve basically sleepwalked into this situation over the last two or three years.
The scenes at the end of the game on Saturday came as no surprise.
The supporters have been magnificent this season and have done their best to turn a negative situation around by showing that deep down and no matter what, they’ll always have that love and support for the club in a way that I can only imagine many parents do when their child goes off the rails.
They allow their unconditional support to prevail over any anger felt in such dire situations.
Marcus Evans is very lucky that our fans in the main, have reacted so positively. There are certain clubs where fans would be staging protests and demonstrating against the ownership.
I recall this happening at Town in 1994/95 when Mick McGiven and the board were at the brunt of protests as fans invaded the pitch after one game.
‘Sack the board’ they chanted. Many would feel like doing that to Evans now.
But the problem with trying to protest against Evans is that someone will just respond with asking if you’re going to put forward the £6/7m to keep us afloat instead?
Along with my daughter Angel, I was honoured to be invited to present an award at Saturday night’s Player of the Year event.
To jump straight from the game and into that event acted as a paracetamol until I got home where the headache of our woes really sunk in.
Being amongst so many fellow supporters and not to mention the whole squad so quickly was an ideal moment to reflect together on this disastrous season.
My sincere thanks to Mandy and Peter Garner for the invitation, to Mark Ramsay for compering the evening and Terry Butcher who despite undoubtedly feeling his own emotions for what has happened, still managed to get a few laughs out of us with some of the questioning of the squad.
I told Angel that if we supported one of the big clubs, we’d never have got near the players on Saturday night, and despite everything, these occasions prove why supporting a club like Ipswich is still a good thing.
It’s a shame that there are still four games to go when this season really needs a line drawn underneath it.