Fuller Flavour: Paul Lambert – you are more than welcome to pin this article to the dressing room wall... Just in the hope...
PUBLISHED: 10:51 03 December 2018
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Karl Fuller says it is time to start preparing for League One with Town cut adrift at the bottom of the Championship
Start preparing folks, we’re going down.
And we’re not just limping our way out of the Championship, more like full-on nose-diving our way into League One. A situation that I accepted a while back and no doubt many of you had done so too.
I get no great pleasure writing that opening paragraph, if Paul Lambert wants to stick it to the dressing room wall and use it as an inspiration to get us out of this mess, then I would be more than happy for him to do so and even more than happy to be proved wrong.
I’ve no desire to spread negativity but the realist within me is just prepared now for the worst.
I’m gutted to even be thinking like this. Not since leaving the old Third Division South as Champions back in 1957 have we plied our trade at such a level of the game. As each game passes by and the thought of the worst possible ending to a season comes that bit closer, my stomach is just wrenching with hurt, anger and helplessness as these nightmarish thoughts will inevitably become a reality.
My sons have often bemoaned the fact that they only known a Championship Ipswich Town.
They came along to their first games just after the play-off win at Wembley in 2000 and were too young to remember the two subsequent years we had in the Premier League. They say I’m lucky to have experienced better times.
But like them, I came along just after a moment of glory when we won the FA Cup in 1978 and in truth, although my Dad was taking me to games, I remember very little about the UEFA Cup triumph. My real memories start with a League Cup semi-final defeat at Norwich followed by relegation from the old First Division.
But these bad moments were wiped out when won the Second Division in 1991/92 only for more bad times to return with another relegation in 1994/95 followed by endless play-off defeats.
Yes, Wembley was a magnificent distraction to the norm but returning to the second tier of the game in 2001/02 saw normal service resumed.
All that said, any of those lesser moments in my Town supporting life all pale into insignificance at the thought of dropping another level.
It will be unchartered waters for me as well as thousands of others.
But it must be said, that even with over half-the season still ahead of us, the possibility of dropping down is almost an inevitability.
The stark truth is even when at our best, we are still not good enough. Three defeats in our last three games where we have showed our inefficiencies in one form or another right across the pitch.
West Brom and Forest were better teams but it’s the Bristol City game that finally killed off my lingering false hopes.
It’s all very well hoping that Marcus Evans hands a sizeable war chest to Lambert in January but by then, I begrudgingly fear that it will all be too late.
Besides, relying on Evans to come up trumps in one transfer window when he has rarely done so in so many others in his reign is just wishful thinking.
It’s not over until the fat lady sings of course but she is already warming up her larynx.
On a much brighter note, I recently caught up with Neil Prentice, Managing Director of White Space Design who back in 2010, produced the wonderful ITFC book: 1980-81 The Greatest season in Ipswich Town’s history.
The book has recently been published again and is currently on sale in the club shop for £9.99.
I bought it when it came out first time around and can honestly say that of all the ITFC-related books that I have in my collection, and there are many, this is up there as one of the best.
The features, statistics and pictures within the book are a fascinating way to recollect that brilliant season.
If you do not possess a copy of this book, I urge you to get it on your Christmas wish list as soon as possible – especially in these dark days of being a Town fan!