Noise - have we heard the last of it?

LET'S try and draw a line under the Portman Road noise issue, something which is still generating letters, as you will see from recent (and future) editions of the EADT.

LET'S try and draw a line under the Portman Road noise issue, something which is still generating letters, as you will see from recent (and future) editions of the EADT.

Differing views have been expressed, but the bottom line I think we can all agree on is that the atmosphere has been poor, particularly at the Norwich, Crystal Palace and Derby games, baffling when you consider for the first two there were crowds of 30,000 and 27,000 respectively.

One reader has raised a very relevant point this week, that it should be the players who raise the crowd, not the other way round.

This is a very 'Ipswich' way of thinking I believe. Years ago players like Mick Mills commented that you had to win over the home fans here, rather than them getting behind you from the word go.

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I don't think that's right. I believe that what sets football aside from other sports is the crowd participation. We can praise the skill of players all we like, and talk about great goals, but play matches behind closed doors and you'd soon see the difference.

Remember Eric Cantona's chip against Sunderland a few years' back, or Paolo Di Canio's volley against Wimbledon that won goal of the season? Try those goals in front of nobody, in a ramshackle stadium, and the magic will have been taken away.

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Which is why I can't enjoy football sitting there with my arms crossed, as some do, I have to get involved, be it to praise or grumble.

That's an individual. The question which has to be asked at Ipswich at the moment is – what do the crowd want?

Presumably we turn up wanting to win every game, right? And we know the players are lifted by vocal backing, so logic dictates we should be cheering them on from the very start.

Our unique problem is what's happened to the club over the last three years. We've gone from fifth in the Premiership to Division One promotion battle via administration.

The edge has been taken off the support. Fans are asked to dig in their pockets for season tickets, merchandise and more, while we know that some players turned up, took a vast wage for a few months, and left the club to scrabble around for pennies.

The really big earners have gone – mostly – but the fans have been left with a sense of injustice, that they have been short-changed, and I think this manifests itself in the way home crowds tend to get on the players' backs quicker than they might have done, say, three years ago.

I don't expect this will be reversed quickly, unless promotion arrives this season, but there's one last point to be made.

If you don't want to get behind the team, sing, chant etc, then fine. You have paid your ticket price and it's a free country. You can come in and fall asleep in the corner, it's none of my business.

But if you choose not to get behind the team in a positive way, then don't raise your voice to put them down. A lot of fans are happy to single out certain players – Jim Magilton tends to bear the brunt of it – when they make mistakes but refuse to acknowledge when they do anything good. This makes no sense.

I hope we've heard the last of this. I expect we haven't.

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