Mike Bacon: ‘I’m tired of living in the past - it’s time Town woke up’
It’s a huge week ahead for Ipswich Town. MIKE BACON says the Blues needs to be bullish and set their own agenda...
I’m sure many of you have read the passionate thoughts of Town fans over the past week or two - mine included in this column last week.
While lots have turned to social media to vent their fury, or joy, on the current situation at Portman Road, many I’m sure have simply chatted to friends and family of their thoughts. Football can engulf our lives.
Because football fans are a unique breed - fans at all levels, from the Premier League to grassroots.
You only had to watch ‘I’m A Celebrity’ this week to see Radio One DJ Jordan North overcome his fears in a bushtucker trial that involved him locked underground in a room full of snakes, to understand football fans.
If you didn’t see it, Jordan’s way of coping with his fear was to say over and over again as he lay flat on his back with snakes everywhere... ‘Happy Place, Happy Place, Turf Moor’... the home of his beloved Burnley FC. Thinking of his football club was a way for him to think ‘happy’ in his darkest of times!
That says alot about football fans. Their clubs are more than just that. Their clubs are for many, a big part of their lives. Their team’s result on a Saturday afternoon or Tuesday night, or any night, can raise one’s spirits or leave you feeling down.
When I used to play, defeat would often hack me off for many an hour after the game. For some of my team-mates it would ruin a weekend! It’s much the same with fans.
I say all this because I like to think players understand fans - at least I hope they do.
Because fans are the people who pay their wages - the people who will hail them as heroes for winning. I know criticism can be a tough gig but in general fans want to love their players, not moan at them.
Currently at Portman Road, Town’s loyal army of fans are having to put up with some pretty dire times. It’s no good trying to convince any of us otherwise - we’re not listening. The fact we are third in League One doesn’t matter. We are still worried.
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Town fans know fast, exciting and good football when they see it - and I don’t just mean those who go back 40 years or more and remember the Ramsey and Robson years. There have been plenty of good times in more recent times... Lyall, Burley, Royle.
So, back up to date now and the Blues begin a run of three home games on Saturday with Shrewsbury the visitors to Portman Road. Followed by Hull next Tuesday and Charlton the Saturday after. A crucial week that even at this early stage could define Town’s season.
‘What rubbish’, I hear you say. There are still loads of points to play for after the Charlton game. We don’t HAVE to win them all next week. Correct. But that’s the type of defeatist attitude Town fans have had to put up with for the past decade.
A rubbish run of results excused by.... ‘Let’s wait until April and see where we are.’
A sentiment never delivered. Let’s not be so wet.
So, I’ve got an idea.
Let’s not wait until April to see where we end up in League One. Let’s set our own agenda now shall we? Why not? Let’s be bullish, let’s be brave, let’s attack and be confident like the many top players who have graced the blue and white shirt over the past decades have done.
I’m tired of living in the past. It’s about time Ipswich Town Football Club woke up to the future and all that it could/can achieve. But it’s going to take strong characters and a real determination.
I noticed Town’s goalkeeping coach Jimmy Walker branded League One ‘very average’ - and said that if the Blues can’t at least finish in the top four ‘we might as well rap up,’ in a tweet this week. He’s right! Good for him! We need more of Jimmy’s attitude. Why are so many people scared of saying such things?
I spoke to Town legend Matt Holland a few weeks ago about the 2000/01 season, where the Blues finished fifth in the Premiership after promotion the year before. That wasn’t 130 years ago... just 20.
He said that back in 2000 that team believed they could achieve anything - and achieve it they did. They weren’t a bunch of £50m players signed to make Town a ‘super side’. They were excellent players, with great attitudes, who wanted to win... They hated losing and would do anything they could do stop that happening.
There is no reason this current crop of Ipswich Town players can’t get out of League One this season.
But it will take more than just footballing ability. It will take strong, bullish minds as well.
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