Bacon’s Bites: Ipswich Town’s slippery slope can be traced back to that nightmare at Sincil Bank
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Mike Bacon reflects on last week’s FA Cup debacle for Town, as well as why Pochettino should stay at Spurs
I don’t know what was more galling about Town’s FA Cup defeat at Accrington Stanley last weekend.
The fact I spent much of last Thursday penning this column, actually full of confidence that Town would break their recent rubbish FA Cup third round record, (that proved a waste of time), or that more than 1,000 Town fans spent their hard-earned money to support such a dross performance.
Or, just as concerning, the fact that on the BBC Sport website, when a poll listed which FA Cup third round result of the weekend was the ‘biggest shock’, Town’s defeat wasn’t even on the list!
Clearly, for those on the outside looking in, it was just another day in the current fortunes of Ipswich Town Football Club.
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Another sobering thought from last weekend, among the many, is that while Ipswich Town were in the Premiership less than 20 years ago – Accrington Stanley were playing non-league.
Don’t get me wrong, hats off to Accrington, they deserved their victory. More power to them. I hope they go from strength to strength, if not for the fact they can stuff that milk advert down people’s throats.
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But I’m sure you will forgive me when I say, I do not give a Scooby Looby Loo about Accrington Stanley.
Yes, losing last weekend was bad.
But nowhere near as bad as losing to Conference side Lincoln City at Sincil Bank in the FA Cup a couple of seasons ago.
That was not just the lowest point of the Marcus Evans era in my view... But any point in Town’s history. And I used to love the FA Cup as well!
I was never on either side of the ‘Mick In, Mick Out’ thing. And yes Town have lost some Championship games by big margins in the last decade. But that result was on another very concerning level.
‘Non-League Lincoln City 1 Ipswich Town 0’, as it kept being thrust at us, was the start of a very, very slippery slope, dismissed at the time with little concern. I don’t think so.
So, today’s team battles on, Paul Lambert sounding a bit like Paul Hurst at times, frustrated and despairing in equal measure.
However, Lambert will give it his all.
As I said last week, he’s a winner and won’t stop until he turns this around.
For Town fans, I applaud your patience so very much. I applaud your love of the club and I applaud your loyalty.
On so many levels, the Club don’t deserve it.
A win this weekend against Rotherham would be no more than a small positive. But we’ll take anything right now.
I have plenty of friends who are Spurs fans.
Years ago – sadly, many years ago to be honest – we used to jest and joke about Town and Spurs and who was the better side.
I remember enjoying the Saturday before Christmas back in 2000 when we stuffed Spurs at Portman Road in a Saturday lunchtime game, live on TV, at a frosty Portman Road in the Premiership.
I was Green’Un editor at the time, so the timing of the game was perfect. Full match report, full quotes, picture specials, 13,000 sales that night, with the heading... ‘By George he’s happy. By George, he’s not’!
See what I did there?.. George Burley was Town’s boss and George Graham was Spurs’ manager.
Anyhow, I say all this because although my joking with my Spurs friends about them and Town has long since dwindled as we have gone our separate ways, I hope for their sake their current manager Mauricio Pochettino stays at the club.
Of course all the talk is that he will be off to Manchester United in the summer, but I’m not sure that’s a great move for him.
The Old Trafford position has been a graveyard for managers since Sir Alex Ferguson left.
And remember Sir Alex found the going tough early in his managerial career at Old Trafford, with many fans calling for his head. Back then of course, as Sir Bobby Robson found at Town, chairmen and boards were more forgiving. Today it’s win at all cost – and soon.
So, I would like to see Pochettino continue to build the exciting team he’s assembling at Spurs.
With a new ground on the horizon, he has the opportunity to build much in his own image. The two are a perfect fit right now.
Yes, he needs silverware. But Jose Mourinho won cups at Old Trafford and that didn’t help him.
Apart from anything else, Pochettino is the real deal.
Last Friday night with Spurs 6-0 up at Tranmere in the FA Cup, he brought Harry Kane on as a sub. Not to stuff any more goals down Tranmere’s throat, indeed he was taking a risk his talisman could get injured. I’m sure it wasn’t so Harry could pick up a bit of appearance money!
No, this is what ‘Poch’ said after the 7-0 win (admittedly Kane got the seventh), when asked why he brought Kane on.
“It was respect. Respect the people, respect the opponent,” he said.
“They’re not going to have many chances to see Harry Kane play here in a competition like the FA Cup.
“It’s important to show respect to the people here (at Tranmere) so they could see Harry Kane, who is an icon in English football.”
There are football managers...
And then there are class football managers.