Bacon’s Bites: So many questions at Ipswich Town. So few answers
© Copyright Stephen Waller
In his weekly column, MIKE BACON asks what has happened to Ipswich Town FC? And who is to blame?
It’s depressing looking at the Championship table.
Not so much that Norwich City sit top, although having only seen them once this season at Portman Road back in September, I cannot fathom out how – they were bang average that day.
No, forget our friends up the A140, they are not our concern. Our concern is Ipswich Town.
What on earth has gone wrong with our football club?
I cannot remember anything like it and I’ve been following them since the mid-70s.
OK, so I was lucky enough to enjoy the Bobby Robson years, George Burley, Joe Royle and John Lyall. The last 40 years haven’t been all sunshine, Jack Daniels and coke though.
The John Duncan years weren’t especially wonderful!
Jim Magilton had some great moments.
But since Jim went, well... We’ve had Roy Keane, Paul Jewell, Mick McCarthy and Paul Hurst.
But be honest. Hands up anyone who was seriously really, really, really jarred-off with those appointments?
Yet here we still are bobbing about, well, sadly now sinking, in the Championship.
So, who is to blame?
Well, Marcus Evans hires and fires and while he will be no doubt pulling his hair out like the rest of us, he has to carry much of the blame. At the end of the day, the managers were his picks.
But have they really been that bad?
My only major recent criticism is just who thought you could get rid of Garner, Webster, Waghorn and McGoldrick and bring in players from Leagues One and Two and just carry on as though nothing had happened at the start of this campaign?
OK, so we now have more sports science than ever before at Portman Road. Hurst was big on it.
What we are sadly lacking though is wins on the pitch.
You can have all the fluff you like, blue tape down your thigh, tattoo sleeves to die for but, football is still about players being able to play the bloody game.
You know, shooting, heading, spotting a pass, making the right decisions.
An ice-bath and studying lap tops might look and sound good but football really isn’t as complicated a game as some like to make it.
I certainly won’t hang the situation on what’s happening now at Portman Road all on Hurst.
He was the ‘new era’. New training methods, new ideas. Great if it all went well, different when it didn’t.
But who stands up to be counted when it starts to go belly up?
Leaders on the pitch at Ipswich Town? Ummm, not that many for me. It’s all been brewing.
Once the white line is crossed it’s up to the players to do the business for the Football Club.
They are the ones who are playing in the Championship, most on decent wages.
They are the ones lucky enough to be professional footballers. They are the ones who have dreamed of playing at levels like the Championship since they were young lads.
Against West Brom, Town were beaten by a very good side, but defensively the Blues didn’t look that bad, they just never looked like scoring.
Fast forward five nights and the same team has a defence more akin to the SIL (no disrespect to the SIL but you get my drift), but a striker in Freddie Sears who looks quality Championship.
It beggars belief.
So, will Town get relegated?
I’m sorry to say I’ve felt they may well do for more than a month now.
There is no lack of effort, no lack of chest-thumping and good will to want to do well. But quite frankly you’ve either got it or you haven’t.
I hear fans screaming for Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop and yes that would be good.
But would it be right to put so much responsibility on such young shoulders?
Right now they need a bright, bubbly, winning team to be in, not one at the bottom of the table.
And as for Town fans.
Well, I think they are quite remarkable what they have had to put up with almost 18 seasons now.
I know not everyone likes talking about the history of their club, not that you ever hear Man U and Liverpool fans complaining.
At Portman Road we should be proud of our history, not keep rolling our eyes at the mention of it.
The sad fact is that more and more fans can’t remember the club’s glory days.
They can understandably find it hard to believe Ipswich Town beat Barcelona twice at Portman Road, hammered Man U 6-1 at Portman Road and even as late as 2000/01 season were winning at the likes of Everton, Liverpool and Man City in the Premiership.
It’s a sad state of affairs and a combination of many things.
If most of us didn’t feel so bloody annoyed about the whole thing, we would just sit in a corner and cry.
Or, more dangerously for Marcus Evans and Ipswich Town Football Club, more fans will just give up and walk away.