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Northstander: Our problems go beyond the capabilities of any manager. What a shambles!

PUBLISHED: 08:48 06 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:48 06 January 2019

Freddie Sears covers his face after missing another second half chance at Accrington Stanley Picture Pagepix

Freddie Sears covers his face after missing another second half chance at Accrington Stanley Picture Pagepix

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Ipswich Town fan Terry Hunt reflects on another FA Cup disaster for the Blues as they spiral towards League One

Billy Kee scores the winner for Accrington Stanley against Ipswich Picture PagepixBilly Kee scores the winner for Accrington Stanley against Ipswich Picture Pagepix

What a complete and utter shambles.

Our once great club – which soared the heights under Ramsey and Robson – is now a pathetic laughing stock.

Can things get any worse?

Sadly, the brutally honest answer is that they can, and probably will. For the first time in more than 50 years, I am now absolutely dreading going to Portman Road next Saturday. I fear for what I will see, and I fear for what I will hear.

After the last two games – against Millwall and Accrington – I can’t see us being capable of beating anyone, and I’m worried that another shambolic performance will see the atmosphere turning toxic. I really hope it doesn’t, because it achieves nothing.

Ipswich fans with the northern hills in the background at Accrington Stanley Picture PagepixIpswich fans with the northern hills in the background at Accrington Stanley Picture Pagepix

The only positive from Saturday’s debacle was, ironically, that at least manager Paul Lambert is now publicly admitting what a mess we’re in. He certainly didn’t mince his words, openly criticising the team, and the state of the club.

His stinging attack came just a couple of days after he had a go at the club hierarchy’s habit of letting players’ contracts run down.

MORE: ‘It’s an absolute disgrace’ – Lambert hits out after FA Cup defeat

Lambert is talking complete and utter sense, but his words could be seen as criticism of owner Marcus Evans. Is Lambert showing signs of frustration?

If so, will he still be here for what we hope will be a rebuilding process after relegation to League One?

Flynn Downes surges forwards at Accrington Stanley Picture PagepixFlynn Downes surges forwards at Accrington Stanley Picture Pagepix

Our hopeless situation was summed up for me by our apparent inability to afford Grant Leadbitter and Rudy Gestede. The implication was that they are way beyond our budget.

But we’re not talking Lionel Messi here - they are both so-so players who can’t get into a Championship team.

If we can’t afford players like them, then the truth is we’re already looking like a League One club.

Of course, the “be careful what you wish for” brigade – mostly pundits with a distant view – are having great fun.

But what would have happened if we’d kept McCarthy? Waghorn, Garner, Webster and McGoldrick would all probably have gone anyway. McCarthy would have replaced them with “proper blokes,” I have no doubt. We wouldn’t have been bottom of the table, but I fear the football would have been mind-numbing.

Callum Elder leaving the pitch after the loss at Accrington Stanley. Picture: PAGEPIX LTDCallum Elder leaving the pitch after the loss at Accrington Stanley. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

The problems at our club go beyond the capabilities of any manager.

There is only so much anyone can do with their hands tied behind their back. As we all know, the issue lies with the owner and his spending policy.

MORE: ‘When will this nightmare end?’ – Town fans react to Accrington defeat

What we are suffering now is the result of 11 years of the Evans era, when his investment has simply not kept pace with what’s needed to remain competitive at this level. That’s been compounded by some poor managerial appointments – Keane, Jewell, Hurst – and, hey presto, we are where we are.

Saturday summed up how far we’ve fallen.

It wasn’t even an upset, we were simply beaten by the better team. Yes, that’s right. Accrington, mediocre League One side, were better than us. A pretty sobering thought.

The reality of League One football is beginning to dawn on folk.

It’s not a blessing in disguise. It’s a disaster.

We’ll lose huge amounts of TV money, gate revenue will plummet, and the club’s costs will have to be cut in response. We will, in every respect, become a smaller club.

Finally, a word about the most important people at the club – the long-suffering fans.

MORE: Andy Warren’s Town Player grades from the FA Cup game

What an extraordinary turnout at Accrington on Saturday.

The supporters are the lifeblood of the club, and at the moment we are getting a raw deal.

Some people say they’re embarrassed to be Ipswich Town supporters. I’m not. Despite the current shambles, I’m still proud to support the club of Sir Alf Ramsey, and Sir Bobby Robson, the club of Kevin Beattie, Mick Mills, Paul Mariner, and Arnold Muhren.

I hate what’s going on at the moment, but nothing will take away my pride in what our club has achieved in the past.

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