Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: Rousing show of support was proof that Town is primed for a positivity project

Ipswich caretaker manager Brian Klug (centre) before the championship match between Ipswich Town and

Ipswich caretaker manager Brian Klug (centre) before the championship match between Ipswich Town and Aston Villa at Portman Road on Saturday 21st April 2018 - Picture: Steven Gardiner

On the face of it, this was a result which adds weight to doom merchants’ claims of ‘be careful what you wish for’.

However, the rousing show of unity and support during the final throes of Saturday’s 4-0 home thrashing at the hands of promotion-chasing Aston Villa made a mockery of the unfair national narrative that Town fans are an impatient, ungrateful, unrealistic bunch.

This was the first match on Suffolk soil since the conclusion of Mick McCarthy’s drawn-out and sadly bitter exit. And in the glorious sunshine a bumper crowd sang their hearts out, raising the noise levels as each goal went in.

MORE: Stu says – Eight observations on Town’s 4-0 home loss to Villa

Supporters had well and truly responded to caretaker boss Bryan Klug’s plea for some positivity. This is the club and these are the people he knows.

Blues fans did not hound out a long-serving and over-achieving manager with their pitch forks like a baying mob – a picture some have painted since McCarthy’s choreographed and melodramatic desk-thumping exit.

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Yes, frustrations intermittently came to the surface during a prolonged period of boredom. Yes, a small minority probably took that too far at times. Portman Road was hardly a cauldron of hate though.

MORE: ‘It’s what Ipswich Town is about... I can’t thank them enough’ – Klug

As stated many times before, apathy was the ruling emotion. The stayaway masses spoke far louder than the boo boys. And that was what ultimately forced owner Marcus Evans’ hand.

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Yes, it’s true that Town never lost by this margin at Portman Road during McCarthy’s five-and-a-half year reign. Indeed, the last time they suffered such a home chastising was seven years prior – to the very day – against that lot up the road.

This was nowhere near as painful though. If anything, it felt strangely uplifting. Like the darkness before the dawn.

Change is afoot. Things could very well get worse. They might, however, just get better. And by better, I mean more enjoyable. It’s amazing what a bit of hope – the true lifeblood of football – can do.

MORE: ‘It’s an absolute honour’ - Bialkowski wins third successive Supporters’ Player of the Year Award

It feels very much like the Blues have got through, or at least can see the end of, a gruelling detoxification process.

Any managers eyeing up this job can look beyond Saturday’s result – an injury-ravaged squad, in the midst of an uncertain period and who were reduced to 10 men against a hungry, star-studded, promotion-chasing outfit.

More importantly, what this game will have told them – if they didn’t know it already – is that this stable but stale club is very much primed for a positivity project.

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