Letters: Long-serving Ipswich Town fans are beginning to lose patience
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
With Ipswich Town’s promotion charge on the slide, fans have been writing to us to have their say on the goings on at Portman Road.
Patrick Barnes, Hadleigh: I am lucky enough to have watched Ipswich Town as a season ticket holder in my teens when were consistently one of the best teams in Europe. I appreciate what Mick McCarthy has achieved in the last few seasons and can understand Marcus Evans restricting his spending to around £8 million or so a season, which is an absolutely massive amount of money to most of us and even quite a lot to Mr Evans.
Whilst I am really not a negative person, I wonder whether us missing the play-offs this season could be a good thing? My thoughts are that if Mick McCarthy keeps just squeezing into the play-offs without having a real chance of winning them then Marcus Evans will consider this success of sorts, whereas failing to make the play-offs may result in a review of spending with perhaps more funds for the manager to spend on both transfers and wages. Clearly Ipswich Town have no divine right to be in the Premier League but it would be good to see them have the very best chance.
Carol Everett, Barham: I have been reading the article headed “The Big Debate” (EADT, Saturday, February 20) and found it very interesting.
This season, I elected to pay £10 per month to support the Ipswich Town academy. This had the incentive of a season ticket for the next season, free of charge, if the club was promoted to the Premier League as long as I were to continue with the sponsorship for that season. I was happy to support the academy in this way, particularly as Bryan Klug is now back in charge.
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Having visited the academy website, I noted the following statement attributed to Mick McCarthy. “Playing attractive, exciting football and winning matches is what first team football is all about.” I am now wondering whether I can ask for a refund of my season ticket under the trade descriptions act!
I find it really frustrating that the only players that we seem to be bringing into the club have either played for Mick McCarthy, or are known to him because of their Irish connection, or are players who, in many cases, are not able to get a place in their current team. We never seem to be looking for anyone young and hungry.
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This season I am really struggling to find anything positive to say about turning up regularly to support the football that is being presented. Does Marcus Evans really want to be in the Premier League?
Jordan Parker, Ipswich: I haven’t missed a Town game home and away for the last seven years and am very, very disappointed right now. We haven’t looked like we are going to win a game for a while.
I don’t care about the transfer window really, but the way we’ve been playing recently is appalling.
The things that wind me up are small things like Mick McCarthy asking fans to be positive but, even when losing and chasing the game, his tactics are very, very negative.
I’m not enjoying going to football anymore and am very close to calling it a day.
Andy McEvoy, originally from Ipswich, now near York: As a near on 50-year supporter my summary is this – we are now the official ‘nearly men’. So many clubs have overtaken us in the recent past by showing ambition to reach the promised land. We have stagnated and lost our way.
It pains me to think this, let alone say it, but I have to face it. Despite all this I will still love the club forever and always.
Mark Allen, Sussex: Football is theatre. The players and management get paid a multiple of the average wage and ticket prices have increased a lot over the last 20 years, so why should fans be expected to ‘be supportive’ when the fare and the results are so poor?
Choosing to be dull (aka ‘hard to beat’) leaves nowhere to hide if the results are poor. Not all, but many fans will tolerate boring, direct and defensive football if the team’s winning but if it isn’t what else is there to support/enjoy/feel proud of?
If the style were better many more fans would be more supportive and forgiving.
Andy Mehen, Colchester: I’ve just returned from the Hull match feeling very much like it’s the end of the season. The optimism I felt in August has disappeared to be replaced with the same feeling I’ve had for several seasons now; that unless the club finds some serious money to improve the squad, we will continue to falter.
Last year was, it now appears, a fluke. I’m not sure we could have complained had we missed out on sixth place in May. The lack of added quality in January last year is what is costing us now, as we may realistically have had a chance of being promoted automatically instead of facing the lottery of the play-offs and coming up against a far more affluent side in Norwich.
That is what this division has become – the haves and have nots. Hull and Burnley have kept their Premier League squads together, Boro, Derby and Brighton have all spent money, even Sheffield Wednesday have been able to invest big money in their squad, while Birmingham have spent the money received for Demarai Gray wisely.
And try looking up. My pre-season picks of Villa and Norwich to come down, plus either of the two big north east clubs, will make it even harder next season.
I for one do not blame Marcus Evans. He invested millions in the squad under Jim Magilton, Roy Keane and Paul Jewell and saw the club slide down the league. The only way the squad can be invested in is by having higher gate revenues, better sponsorship and selling our best players. Those who say the money for Tyrone Mings and Aaron Cresswell hasn’t been spent clearly don’t realise that even our modest wage bill will have swallowed a lot of that money up instantly.
My solution would be simple; drop ticket prices, fill the ground and raise revenues the only way we now can without incurring a massive fine or transfer embargo.
I’ve been a fan of Ipswich for more than 30 years. I’ve never known a time when money has so dominated the game, when the need for just a couple of seasons in the top flight to balance the books has been the goal for so many clubs. Until we manage that, we can only spend our time looking up. And before long we will all have very sore necks.
Rob Hill, Cambridgeshire: I can’t support Mick anymore with the style of football we are being treated to. Having held a season ticket for close to 20 years I have had the opportunity to witness tenures of free-flowing football under George Burley, Joe Royle and Jim Magilton. To me that is the Ipswich way.
I make the 60-mile trip from Cambridgeshire each week hoping for a performance to get behind but we simply lack the quality.
Part of this will be down to the lack of investment in the squad but I also think Mick McCarthy has to take blame with maybe too many faces coming into the club both on short-term deals or loans. We need to build for the future, but our Under-21 team are defeated week-in, week-out.
We continue to lack pace throughout the spine of the team and have a midfield of ‘plodders’, as my father points out to me every game.
It’s fair to say that both of us are seriously considering an end to holding a season ticket – something that has been a big part of our lives.
Mark Holdaway, Garboldisham: I didn’t boo at the final whistle on Tuesday. I, like many others in the Sir Bobby Robson Stand, tried our best to roar our boys in blue on. But we are what we are – at best a hard-working, average mid-table Championship side. A side that punched above its weight last season mainly due to Daryl Murphy’s goalscoring exploits. There’s no shame in admitting that. It doesn’t make me a disloyal fan or a serial moaner.
McCarthy’s interviews are like groundhog day. ‘My lads gave everything’, ‘they (opposition side) are a good team with good players’ etc.
The season ticket renewal letters are due soon and I bet they will promise us much (as usual). And as long as I have breath in my body, and the funds to enable me to afford one, I will renew mine (31 years and counting). But that will be out of loyalty, not expectation. And that is such a shame.
Am I grateful that Marcus Evans saved this club? Of course I am. Am I thankful that Mick McCarthy saved us from near certain relegation two years ago? Without doubt. But does that mean I should not want more for my club I love so much? I don’t think so.
Kevin Johnson: I have put off sending this e-mail for some time. I was hoping that the tide had finally turned after the Leeds game. That was the only game I can actually recollect us playing the opposition off the park with football, not percentage ‘hoofball’. It proves that the players can do it, so therefore it must be the tactics.
Am I missing the point here, or are we actually playing the worst football seen at Portman Road since the John Duncan days?
Sorry Mick, I hear you are a genuinely nice bloke, but your style of play is not for me and I think your current team of ‘runners’ is exactly that. They would run through a brick wall for you, but we don’t want that if there’s no football with it.
My main gripe is the club’s attitude to the FA Cup. If we had put out a full strength side against Portsmouth after wins against QPR and Brighton, and a credible draw away at Burnley, confidence would have been sky high and we would have beaten them. We would then have hosted Bournemouth with possible gate receipts of more than £150,000. How many loan players would that have got us?
Roy Clark, Hollesley: I have supported Ipswich Town since I was a teenager, I’m now 69 and when I think of the players we have had at this club, and what we have now, it saddens me.
Admittedly we have been badly hit by injuries, but for a team not to have one shot on target in 90 minutes is unacceptable. In my opinion, while we have the current back four, we will never get promoted because they leak too many goals and just hoof the ball upfield. Anyone who has ever played centre-back knows it’s so much easier to deal with those type of balls than it is to deal with defence splitting passes on the ground.
The strength in depth at the club also worries me. Recently we included four of the first team squad in the Under-21 team away at Colchester and lost 1-0.
Given that Marcus Evans seems reluctant to give Mick any decent cash to improve the squad,what are the scouts doing to search out some promising youngsters who would not cost the earth? I recently watched the Peterborough FA Cup tie against West Brom and saw a superb young player in Martin Samuelson (on loan from West Ham).
Their scouts obviously had found him so why are the Ipswich scouts not doing the same? There are obviously talented players in non-league teams too.