Stuart Watson's Sunday Verdict: 'If prospect of 5-0 win not standing worries you... Get a grip'
PUBLISHED: 13:16 25 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:21 25 August 2019
Ipswich Town won 5-0 at Bolton Wanderers yesterday, though the result could yet be expunged from the records given the Trotters face the threat of expulsion from the league. STUART WATSON has his say.
Ipswich Town fans have waited a long time for a result like this.
This was the biggest win since Connor Wickham's hat-trick in a 6-0 thumping of Doncaster, at the Keepmoat Stadium, back in February 2011.
It was the first time, remarkably, the Blues had won by more than a single goal since a 4-0 victory at Reading, under Bryan Klug's caretaker charge, towards the back end of the 2017/18 campaign. A full 54 games had passed since then.
It was the first time back-to-back wins had been recorded since quickfire victories at Preston and Sheffield Wednesday back in February/March 2018.
Eleven points from a possible 15 is the best return from a five game spell since Mick McCarthy's men won their opening four matches of 2017/18.
And yet all those statistics may become null and void.
At 5pm on Tuesday, Bolton (and fellow crisis club Bury) could be given notification that they will be kicked out of the league. If it ultimately comes to that (and we're all hopeful it doesn't), Town's 5-0 victory in Lancashire would be expunged from the records.
If the prospect of that happening worries you, get a grip.
Ipswich Town Football Club lives on to fight another day. Meanwhile, the supporters of two of English football's grand old clubs could have had their teams ripped away from them.
What a sad and sorry state of affairs. It's hard not to make comparisons with the mega bucks sloshing around in the upper echelons of the game. The authorities should hang their heads in shame.
How has the EPPP academies shake-up benefitted anyone but the elite? Where is the bite to the Financial Fair Play rules? Just how robust is the 'fit and proper persons' test?
Marcus Evans has got a hell of lot wrong over his decade-long ownership of Ipswich Town, it's been a slow and dull decline, but his consistent and sustainable approach to investment in recent years, though not sexy, shouldn't be sniffed at.
He could have washed his hands of a vast financial drain, passed the club on to the first have-a-go hero that showed interest and then what? Their funds run dry in the space of two years and, if the gamble hasn't paid off, a whole world of pain follows.
He's said he'll sell if someone with proof of funds for a greater long-term investment than his comes along. Right now, there's not a queue of those sort of people beating their way up the A12.
And so Town, under a manager with a bigger picture vision in Paul Lambert, continue to work on a project based firmly around the academy, the community and the fan base.
Back to yesterday. In many ways, it was a win which felt hollow. This was a glorified training game. Literally men against boys.
The atmosphere was weird. The smallest crowd in the history of the University of Bolton Stadium were trying to encourage their young guns but also quietly resigned to defeat and greatly worried about the future.
There were no great celebrations from the Town players when the goals started to flow in the second half. It was what it was. A big win expected and a big win delivered. Some more minutes in the legs of semi-fit players. Another little confidence boost. Job done. Move on.
Whether the result stands or not, we may well look back on this week as being a pivotal one for Ipswich. Two vital 94th minute goals at the end of far from convincing displays, followed by proof this team can possess a ruthless edge.
The last three games, in different ways, will have helped change the psyche of players and fans.
Under the cosh at Peterborough - they found a way. Frustrated by AFC Wimbledon on home soil - they found a way. Expected to sweep Bolton aside - they found a way.
Never underestimate the power of late goals. The more you get them, the more you - and the opposition - believe they'll happen again.
Never underestimate the power of strikers getting on the scoresheet either. They thrive on confidence. Including pre-season, James Norwood and Kayden Jackson have now got 15 between them.
Town fans had waited a long time for a result like this. In the end it may well count for nothing. Except it won't. Not really.