Monday verdict: Blues are boring – and McCarthy needs to take heed of fans’ frustrations

Supporters pictured at the Ipswich Town v Rotherham United (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ips

Supporters pictured at the Ipswich Town v Rotherham United (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 19 March 2016. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Resounding boos greeted the conclusion of this latest bore-fest and, for the first time this season, the finger of blame pointed solely at Mick McCarthy.

The Blues lost 1-0 to relegation-battling Rotherham in yet another non-event of a football match at Portman Road on Saturday.

In recent weeks and months, as it’s increasingly become apparent that Town lack the required quality to secure another Championship play-off place, there have been several grey areas in the debate surrounding a season of frustration.

Most of the heat has been directed at owner Marcus Evans and his continued frugal spending when it comes to transfer fees, especially with key men such as Teddy Bishop, David McGoldrick and Ryan Fraser all being injured and not replaced.

McCarthy’s ultra-pragmatic approach to team selection and tactics was often dismissed as needs-must. It was a case of getting the best out of what he’d got and, given the circumstances, to have had his team just a point outside the top-six prior to the weekend was remarkable really.

All that is true. Objectively speaking you couldn’t have asked for much more. As a business, all the key performance indicators have been hit again by one of the best in the business when it comes to squeezing every last drop out of what he’s got available to him in terms of resources.

Football is about more than just results and league positions though. It’s meant to be fun. It’s meant to be entertaining. It is a leisure pursuit – and a costly one at that – after all. And right now the supporters are gaining little pleasure from watching their beloved club in action.

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Forget the argument that McCarthy is operating with one hand tied behind his back. On Saturday he had plenty of creative players at his disposal and he chose to leave all of them – Liam Feeney, Ben Pringle, Kevin Bru, Kevin Foley and Ainsley Maitland-Niles – on the bench. Top-class players for the division they are not, but they would have at least provided the team with a bit more balance and excitement.

Instead a one-paced, negative midfield trio of Cole Skuse, Luke Hyam and Jonathan Douglas contributed to another wholly uninspiring and forgettable affair. The result wasn’t the driving force behind the jeers, it was simply to do with the fact the punters had been bored senseless and felt short-changed.

They say the customer is always right. Take heed of their collective derision in the weeks ahead and McCarthy will soon have the fans back on side because, deep down, they do love him for the way he’s turned their club around over the last three-and-a-bit years. There just needs to be some compromise when it comes to that stubborn utilitarian ideology.

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match analysis, ratings and fans’ columns. Join a live Ipswich Town web chat by logging on at 1pm this afternoon.

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