North Stander: ’To watch the club you love decline and then be told it’s your fault is pretty difficult to stomach’

Paul Lambert is interviewed after the game at Plymouth Argyle, his 100th in charge of the club. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Paul Lambert is interviewed after the game at Plymouth Argyle, his 100th in charge of the club. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town fan and journalist Terry Hunt gives his take on the Blues after their come-from-behind 2-1 win at Plymouth...

Keeping at arms length: Paul Lambert is interviewed from a distance at Plymouth Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Keeping at arms length: Paul Lambert is interviewed from a distance at Plymouth Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Let’s start with the positives before moving on to the more worrying and annoying stuff, shall we? At least we do have some positives to cling to!

First and foremost, Ipswich Town have won a football match, making their mammoth 620-mile round trip to Devon worthwhile.

MORE: Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 2-1 win at Plymouth

It gave us three valuable points which moved us into the top three. We scored two good goals, one of which - glory be - came from a striker. Has anyone else noticed that we look more threatening with two up front? Sorry, Mr. Lambert - that came dangerously close to negativity...

So, from the outside, everything looks pretty good. A glance at the League One table suggests that our promotion campaign is in decent shape.


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It will, of course, eventually be boosted by the return of pretty much a whole first team of players who are currently out injured. On that front there is mixed news. Aaron Drinan is back in the treatment room but, at long, long last, Kane Vincent-Young is about to return to full training. I was beginning to think he was a figment of my imagination!

MORE: ‘The performance warranted three points’ - Plymouth boss Lowe says players ‘wounded’ by Town defeat

So, as I said, there are some much-needed positives. But (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) that’s a very long way from telling the full story.

Kayden Jackson and Luke Chambers celebrate the winning goal at Plymouth Argyle Picture Pagepix Ltd

Kayden Jackson and Luke Chambers celebrate the winning goal at Plymouth Argyle Picture Pagepix Ltd - Credit: Pagepix

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The last week has seen both key figures at our club - manager Lambert and owner Marcus Evans - say things which have outraged and alienated many fans.

First, after the goalless draw at Oxford, Lambert went on the attack against the media for what he described as “nonsense criticism” and supposedly having a go at Town’s younger players.

Well, bluntly, the only nonsense in that debate came from Lambert himself. There has been absolutely no criticism of the youngsters from the media, or the fans for that matter. Why on earth would there be? We love young players coming through, and always have done.

Bizarrely, the only person to criticise a youngster was Lambert himself recently, when he suggested, out of the blue, that Brett McGavin has a long way to go.

All very strange. If I didn’t know better, I would say Lambert is feeling the pressure, even though he strongly denies that is the case. He has, apparently, played for some big clubs....

Then, after winning at Plymouth, when you would expect the manager to be happy, Lambert’s demeanour in his post-match interview was strangely downbeat. I would go so far as to say taciturn in places.

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His words of wisdom included suggesting that even a winning run won’t stop the negativity. He then said he knew what would bring It to an end, but wouldn’t give us his magic answer. All very, very strange.

Oli Hawkins chests the ball down for Kayden Jackson to score at Plymouth Argyle Picture Pagepix Ltd

Oli Hawkins chests the ball down for Kayden Jackson to score at Plymouth Argyle Picture Pagepix Ltd

Adding fuel to the fire, Marcus Evans has waded in, essentially blaming the fans for his decision to get rid of Mick McCarthy, which he implied had “caused our demise.” He says he won’t be “swayed” into making the same mistake again. He has also fanned thr flames of discontent by referring to the phrase “be careful what you wish for.”

It was such an ill-judged intervention from Evans. The timing was awful, coming when Town supporters are more unhappy than I have ever known in more than half a century of being a fan.

It was so insulting to loyal supporters. It wasn’t the departure of McCarthy which started the slide. Mick’s time was overdue, and his relationship with the supporters had soured to the point of no return.

What “caused our demise,” to use your words, Mr. Evans, was YOUR disastrous decision to appoint Paul Hurst, and to allow him to buy nearly a whole team of lower league footballers. That’s why we were relegated. YOUR decision, Mr. Evans. Not ours.

MORE: ‘It will not change the negativity’ – Lambert on 2-1 comeback win at Plymouth

So, quite a week. The manager blames the media. The owner blames the fans. At a time when the club is at its lowest point for more than 60 years. What a state of affairs..

No wonder there is such a yawning gap between the supporters and the club. I have never known it like this. Yes, there have been bad times, but nothing so widespread, so angry, and so despairing. So much unhappiness among loyal, sensible, patient fans.

To watch the club you love decline year after year, and then be told that it’s your fault is pretty difficult to stomach. What a time for fans to return to Portman Road.

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