Fuller Flavour: It’s not negative or disrespectful for us fans to raise concerns
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
In his latest column, Karl Fuller argues that Ipswich Town fans have every right to be concerned about things at Portman Road, despite the side sitting second in the table with a game in hand.
Driving to Saturday's game, I was listening to some of my old heroes on BBC Radio Suffolk's 'Life's a Pitch'.
Hearing Paul Mariner, Frans Thijssen and Terry Butcher recalling the good old days had me smiling, remembering them with such fondness. Although they are nearly 40 years ago, they may as well be 40 days ago as it really does seem like only yesterday that they occurred. They also had many good things to say about the wonderful Kevin Beattie and this soon had me coming around to matters in hand and Bristol Rovers.
The very first time that I saw Ipswich win (it was my second Town game) was against The Pirates in an FA Cup fifth round tie in February 1979. It also happened to be the only time that I saw Beattie play in an Ipswich shirt (not that I knew it at the time as I was only seven-years-old).
Town won that game 6-1 but my dad always left games before the end at which point, we were 4-1 up which was the half-time score. We found out the next morning that we'd scored two late goals.
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That was one of five matches I'd seen us play against Rovers and we'd won the lot without ever conceding more than one goal in any of those games that we did concede.
Being the superstitious sort, I wondered what could go wrong - I hadn't factored in the first 25 minutes that ensued. Then I saw that we were to line-up with three up front and Rovers' Jonson Clark-Harris was missing from their line-up.
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It all seemed too good to be true with my only worry was how our defence would play especially with Cole Skuse at right-back!
Before this game, we made no fewer than 50 changes to our starting line-ups in the preceding seven games and rotation was the word bandied around as being the crux of the problem of our current poor run.
Paul Lambert and those players that spoke ahead of the games insisted it was not an issue and negativity building up was uncalled for.
What Lambert should realise is that whilst the majority of fans are thankful for what he has turned around off the pitch - with the help of Blue Action by the way - we are still in a healing process with deep scars from relegation and the years of malaise leading up to dropping into League One.
Now we're in the midst of a blip, fans have every right to be concerned.
He asks fans to turn up showing positivity and not to sit on our backsides doing nothing. From my North Stand position, I think so many are doing precisely that - but it's not too much to ask in return for a settled side where players can gel and get to know one another in game time.
I feel at times as a group we're in pre-season mode where we're trying to work out our best XI and formation. Rotation did not make us look any fresher or fitter on Saturday by the way.
I'm all for adaptability as and when different games necessitate such change, but a cake will never be baked and ready to eat if you keep messing around changing its ingredients.
I'm on a run of seeing just seven wins in my last 43 games at Portman Road and two of those wins came in the EFL Trophy this season. I don't feel it's too disrespectful to raise some concerns - as I said before, it's only because I care so much.
Until recently, it has been an enjoyable season in the main and despite not playing well for more than one half almost every game, we got ourselves into a top-two position which despite this poor run, we're just about maintaining.
However, we need to turn things around quickly as any more mishaps and we will not be in the good position we made for ourselves.
With Portman Road not being the fortress we hoped for - we've claimed just 13 points of the 36 gained thus far - it is perhaps a relief that three of our next four games are away from home.
Expect more changes, as is customary for the festive period!