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Mike Bacon on the Blues: ‘The excuse tray is full - play-offs are a minimum this season’

02 September, 2020 - 17:00
Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert.  Picture: PAGEPIX

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert. Picture: PAGEPIX

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MIKE BACON returns to cast his eye over the comings and goings at Portman Road in his weekly Ipswich Town column.

THE season ahead for Ipswich Town Football Club is absolutely pivotal.

I can’t believe I’m saying that.

A pivotal season - in League One! If I didn’t know myself better, I would think I was making it up.

Sad thing is, I’m not.

It wasn’t so long ago with a new season upon us, Blues fans would be hoping Town could push for promotion back to the Premier League, or even get back into Europe for a second season on the bounce - thanks George for those days. Or, a really, really long time ago we were wondering if Town could topple Liverpool and win a second First Division title - sadly we didn’t.

Town fans celebrate after the 1-0 victory over Lincoln. They have been patient for long enough. Now they need rewarding.  Picture Steve Waller  www.stephenwaller.comTown fans celebrate after the 1-0 victory over Lincoln. They have been patient for long enough. Now they need rewarding. Picture Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

I know. I hear you. Be quiet, that’s all in the past, in the history books, done and dusted. I agree.

Now, in 2020, what we hope/pray for is that ITFC can fire itself out of this league and back towards mid-table Championship mediocrity - oh, how we hated those words, but we’d take them now!

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a few months of furlough that I’ve found myself thinking alot.

You know, do a bit of yoga, or wonder whether to either ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ at McDonalds, or do more cycling on the millions of new cycle lanes that are popping up. Put weight on or try to lose it!

I’ve been wondering if I need to go back into work now I’m de-furloughed. Or save clogging up the roads with my car fumes by working from home.

Ipswich Town midfielder Flynn Downes has attracted Premier League interest. Photo: Pagepix LtdIpswich Town midfielder Flynn Downes has attracted Premier League interest. Photo: Pagepix Ltd

And of course, I’ve been wondering what next for Town?

OK, we are where we are.

MORE: Key exits from League One this summer

L-R: James Norwood, Jon Nolan and Luke Chambers. Town have a good enough squad to minimum reach the play-offs. Picture: ARCHANTL-R: James Norwood, Jon Nolan and Luke Chambers. Town have a good enough squad to minimum reach the play-offs. Picture: ARCHANT

It’s no good hanging onto memories of Europe, the FA Cup, UEFA Cup. Or worrying about will we keep hold of Flynn Downes? What will be will be.

I just like to think, want to think, that surely we have enough ammunition to get out of League One this time.

I know, people will say we have no divine right.

But come on. You know, and I know, the likes of Town - and Sunderland for that matter - are Championship sides at worst, all day long. You’re telling me Town are not in the same league as the likes of Huddersfield, Luton or Wycombe?

Well, I suppose in fairness they aren’t - those three are in the Championship. But you know what I mean.

Ipswich Town Assistant Manager Stuart Taylor faces the media after the game at Cambridge United. Pre-season isn't everything. Picture Pagepix LtdIpswich Town Assistant Manager Stuart Taylor faces the media after the game at Cambridge United. Pre-season isn't everything. Picture Pagepix Ltd

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So, Messrs Evans and Lambert, let’s put the club back where it ought to be - at the very least - back playing the likes of Derby, Forest and even that lot up the A140 - in the Championship if they are all still there next season.

I can’t even start to fathom what excuses anyone at PR could come up with if the team doesn’t at least get in the play-offs this time around.

For goodness sake, look at the fixture list - look at our opponents. I’m not being disrespectful, but be positive.

Managers, coaches and players, instead of spending time telling us all about what a ‘good’ or ‘solid’ or ‘organised’ or ‘dangerous’ side the Blues are playing each week, get on the front foot.... ‘This is a game we should win’ - How about trying that for a change?

MORE: ‘We don’t welcome offers for Downes’, says O’Neill

As usual, the brilliant Town fans will turn out in their droves when fans are allowed back in the stadium.

The club is superbly well supported, especially given some of the dross they’ve been served up in recent years. But their patience has been tested to the full and I suspect if come Christmas, the Blues are meandering in mid-table, enough will be enough for many.

Yes, I say again. This is a pivotal time at Portman Road.

Play-offs are a minimum.

If not, there will be only so much fans will take. The excuse tray is full.

MORE: Michael Chopra apologises to fans

DON’T worry about pre-season results.

I say that every year, but every year fans burst blood vessels worrying about it.

Be honest, if Town had beaten Cambridge United 1-0 do you really think they would be in a better position for a play-off challenge, than they are just because they lost 1-0? Of course not.

Some would suggest they are in a stronger position, as the defeat and performance may have made life easier for Lambert to decide who is in his starting XI.

Pre-season is just that. Go unbeaten means nothing. Losing all your games means nothing.

It’s what happens now folks.

COME ON TOWN!


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