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Mike Bacon: Tired of words, excuses and justifications, it’s done now.... just get us up!

11 November, 2020 - 12:00
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. It's the league or nothing now. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert. It's the league or nothing now. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Out of the cups and just the league to worry about, MIKE BACON takes a look at another disappointing week at Portman Road.

Portsmouth celebrate after Tom Naylors (4) goal to take them 2-0 up.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comPortsmouth celebrate after Tom Naylors (4) goal to take them 2-0 up. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

When we’re dancing in between those funny water fountain things on the Cornhill in May, it will all have been worth it

When we’re packed shoulder to shoulder on the Waterfront, with social distancing a thing of the past, as the Town celebration bus, with Chambo and Lambo front and centre on the top deck holding the League One trophy aloft crawls past, we’ll cheer loudly.

When here at the Archant offices we produce a 4,000-page Special Souvenir magazine.... ‘Super Blues, League One champions 2020/21 - Lambert’s glory season’, we’ll be snapping them up like hot cakes.

And we’ll look back at this week just gone.... And laugh!.... Papa John’s Trophy indeed! Who wanted to win that?

Because the eggs are all well and truly in one basket now. The excuse train has pulled into the sidings and won’t be expected, or allowed, to venture out anytime soon.

The phrase ‘concentrate on the league’ is now officially banned.

Sean Raggett (right) scores a controversial winner for Portsmouth.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comSean Raggett (right) scores a controversial winner for Portsmouth. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town fans have been patient way too long. They are tired of words, excuses and justifications.

I have little to say about our FA Cup defeat to Portsmouth, other than to wonder why we ended up frantically chasing a game, including bringing on our leading goalscorer, when we could have gone for it from the off.

As regards the EFL Trophy defeat at Crawley, well, I’ll just say it was nice to see youngsters given a chance. But in all the years, I’ve been watching and writing about football - at all levels - it appears to me young players learn far more from playing alongside a few senior heads, rather than just chucked into the deep end to see which one or two of them ‘float’.

But it’s done now.

Paul Lambert knows it’s done now.

The league is all there is left. All there is to pore over. All there is to comment on. Like recent managerial predecessors before him at Portman Road, Lambert chose not to be concerned about cup competitions. That’s his prerogative, although recent history and a bit of due diligence should have shown him, it got none of those recent predecessors very far.... But it’s done now.

Jack Manly is beaten in the air at Crawley Town Picture Pagepix LtdJack Manly is beaten in the air at Crawley Town Picture Pagepix Ltd

We are second in the table, mind you - and many clubs below us would swap that right now.

So, why doesn’t it feel that way?

The past decade haunts us - one play-off season and one relegation in more than 10 years, what a miserable record. Treading water.

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In fairness to Lambert, he does have to carry the burden of a hapless previous decade and he can’t be blamed for all of it. I suppose we are just desperate for a manager to give us hope.

So, what now?

Corrie Ndaba puts everything into a header from a corner at Crawley Town Picture Pagepix LtdCorrie Ndaba puts everything into a header from a corner at Crawley Town Picture Pagepix Ltd

Well, it’s an international break coming up. Don’t you just love going into an international break on the back of a defeat? Or three in our case.

We start back up again with three home fixtures on the bounce - Shrewsbury, Hull and Charlton.

Nine points from that little lot and pepperoni pizza jokes will be a thing of the past, the FA Cup can go whistle - and perhaps we can start to hope, dream, pray!

Maybe, just maybe for Ipswich Town fans, the long game this season will show us that this one week will have all been worth it.

Here’s hoping!

Keanan Bennetts bursts through a challenge at Crawley Town Picture Pagepix LtdKeanan Bennetts bursts through a challenge at Crawley Town Picture Pagepix Ltd

MORE: Stu Watson’s 5 observations from the Crawley defeat

Fourteen non-league clubs are through to the second round of the FA Cup.

Wow! That’s incredible.

Then again, for those of us who watch non-league, we are all well aware of much of the talent that there is on show.

So many young footballers are not given the chance in the pro game because a coach doesn’t rate them, or that very old chestnut... ‘they lack physicality’.

Paul Lambert leaves the pitch after the defeat at Crawley Town Picture Pagepix LtdPaul Lambert leaves the pitch after the defeat at Crawley Town Picture Pagepix Ltd

So, they stay in non-league. And when they get the chance to play a Football League club, they show the professional boys what they could have had with a bit of patience and just as importantly, excellent coaching.

Especially good luck to King’s Lynn in round two - a team who have graced many local grounds around Suffolk.

They have a cracking draw.. .Away at Portsmouth, no less!


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