Monday verdict: Ipswich Town unity in stark contrast to Charlton Athletic unrest
It’s days like Saturday that should make Ipswich Town fans thankful for what they’ve got.
Charlton Athletic are a club displaying about as much unity as the political party that share their colours at present.
Since his takeover less than two years ago, Belgian owner Roland Duchâtelet has hired and fired three relative unknown managers from the continent.
The supporters that voiced their concerns at a recent home match were dismissed as being among ‘two per cent’ of the fanbase by chief executive Katrien Meire.
That comment was like a red rag to a bull. Those that are still bothering to turn up held black and white banners proclaiming ‘we are the two per cent’ in the second minute of Saturday’s televised game. For the record, and this is a guesstimate, around 80% of the crowd joined in.
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Point made. The chants were delivered half-heartedly, rather than with gusto though. These are supporters that no longer recognise the club they love.
Post-match, interim boss Karel Fraeye – the third Belgian plucked from obscurity to do the job – arrogantly swerved questions about that show of discontent by insisting he did not notice anything because he was ‘too focused on the game’.
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Football fans can just about swallow seeing their side lose. What they cannot accept is being treated like fools.
Ipswich, by contrast, is a club that is very much unified. Some might call him overly stubborn, but Mick McCarthy – who is now the 13th longest-serving manager among the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs – always speaks with searing honesty.
And when his side went through a recent sticky patch, winning just one in 10 in the league, his serene bigger picture mentality rubbed off on supporters and players alike.
He was able to be that way because, in the background, owner Marcus Evans remained as supportive and trusting as ever. Say what you like about his spending policy, but one thing he has not been is erratic. Evans puts a lot of stock in the club’s history of giving managers time.
A few grumbled, but no-one panicked. Everyone knew where they stood and now the Blues, whose 3-0 victory at The Valley capped another unbeaten November, are right back in the promotion mix.
There are sure to be more ups and downs to come but Ipswich Town Football Club, unlike others around them, can enjoy the ride together; from the boardroom, to the dressing room, to the terraces.