Northstander: I was pleased when Norwich won – that’s how bad it’s got!
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Let me give you a new definition of desperation. It’s an Ipswich Town fan wanting Norwich City to score a last-minute winner to save his beloved Tractor Boys from falling even further behind in the Championship relegation battle, writes North Stander Terry Hunt.
Yes, that was me on Saturday afternoon, actually being pleased when the Canaries grabbed their winner against second from bottom Bolton. Therefore, in effect I was pleased the yellow and green lot had stayed top. It’s that bad, folks.
Thanks to that goal at Carrow Road, we’re “only” seven points behind Bolton, and eight points from safety. I admire Paul Lambert’s determination to remain upbeat, but there is absolutely no way we’re getting out of this.
I know we’re playing better under Lambert, and the team spirit and effort are admirable, but in our desperate situation it’s the results that count – and we’ve lost four games in a row.
No-one was surprised by the defeat at Stoke. We were always going to struggle against an outfit which can afford to leave Peter Crouch and Darren Fletcher on the bench, and omit Charlie Adam from the squad altogether!
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Come to think of it, if Lambert is going to recruit people he’s already worked with when the transfer window opens in January, how about a couple of those wise old heads on loan? Although I fear by then it will all be too late.
Sadly, we have become something of a laughing stock – and not just in Norwich. You must have heard the “joke” about Ipswich being the only team to have had more managers than home wins in 2018? Ho, ruddy, ho.
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Within that alleged piece of humour lies the awful truth - the rot set in while Mick McCarthy was still here. In our last 46 games, we have recorded only eight wins. So we have struggled for a whole year now.
An already worrying situation became critical with Paul Hurst’s disastrous bargain basement shopping spree, and Paul Lambert has been left with what looks like an impossible task.
What we definitely do not need on top of everything else is bad luck. So what happens? Cole Skuse is out for a couple of months with a training ground injury. So we lose a player with massive Championship experience. A terrible blow.
As I said, I admire Lambert’s positivity but, to be honest, it’s beginning to wear a bit thin. I know he’s trying to motivate the players, and the fans. But were we really “brilliant” at Stoke? Are we really “so close” to being a “top side?”
Don’t misunderstand me - I love positivity from the manager of my football team, but it does have to be justified by performances and, most importantly, by results.
Having said that, I’m delighted Lambert is committing himself to Ipswich long-term. He’s just what we need to lead the recovery after what looks like the inevitability of League One.
There is some cheer amid all the gloom. The biggest shining light is the arrival of Jack Lankester in the first team. From what I’ve seen of the boy from Bury St. Edmunds, we have one heck of a player on our hands.
Another youngster to impress has been Flynn Downes. Given - at last - a manager who believes in him, Downes is flourishing. I still can’t work out why McCarthy thought it was a good idea to send him out on loan at Luton last season.
The fact is we have a crop of promising youngsters. I’ve already mentioned Lankester and Downes. Add to them Dozzell, Kenlock, Emmanuel, Folami, Nydam, Bishop, and Morris. That’s the nucleus of a pretty good squad to start the fight-back from League One next season.
What’s that you say? We’re not down yet? I’m being too negative? Still plenty of points to play for? As I said last week, I hope you’re right. Nothing would please me more than being proved wrong, but I see absolutely no reason to be more positive.
See you at Portman Road next Saturday, as we try yet again to record our third home win of 2018. Not too many opportunities left now...