Stuart Watson's Sunday Verdict: They think it's all over... it is now - This season can do one
PUBLISHED: 13:15 03 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 03 March 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town look destined for the drop following Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Reading. STUART WATSON has his final say of the weekend.
They think it’s all over… it is now.
West Germany only had a few seconds left to play after that fatal blow back in ’66. Ipswich Town still have 11 whole games to endure.
The Blues went for a drink in the last chance saloon on Saturday and staggered out drunk – sadly not in a good way.
Another major missed opportunity.
Another stinging sub-plot with Nelson Oliveira scoring.
Another injury blow with James Collins going off.
Yet more late heartbreak.
Tweaks to systems, changes in personnel, but it’s so often been the same old story.
Don’t score enough, concede too many.
Just three wins in 35 games.
Eleven players in the treatment room.
David McGoldrick fit every week and scoring goals for high-flying Sheffield United.
Adam Webster fit every week and starring for high-flying Bristol City.
Yep, this season can do one.
The writing has probably been on the wall since that 3-2 home loss to Bristol City in late November; certainly since the 3-2 home loss to Millwall on New Year’s Day.
In truth, the damage was done long before Paul Lambert’s failed rescue mission though. That was, in reality, always mission impossible.
Town messed up with their muddled recruitment last summer, but that’s not where this tale of decline starts either. This club was sleepwalking towards the third-tier long before Paul Hurst’s arrival.
The slow bleed of the Marcus Evans era has finally become a haemorrhage.
He arrived as one of the wealthiest owners in the Championship little more than a decade ago, but has gradually seen those funds dwarfed. Football’s finances have boomed and Town have stood still.
Following 62 years in the top two tiers of English football, the Blues, who have tired after frantically treading water for so long, might just benefit from hitting the reset button a step down the pyramid.
Then again, they might not. Let’s not kid ourselves.
Sixteen senior players are returning to parent clubs or will be out of contract as it stands. A clean slate could be a good thing.
We can’t keep having these complete summer rebuilds though. No business builds momentum with such a continual high turnover of staff.
Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Brighton, Coventry, Fulham, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester City, Norwich, Nottingham Forest, both Sheffield clubs, Southampton, Sunderland, Wolves…
All have had time in the third-tier in modern history. There are more success stories than cautionary tales in that list.
These are uncertain times. They are worrying times. They could also be exciting times.
That doesn’t make the now virtual certainty of ‘r’ appearing next to the club’s name any less painful.
Is it a sign of desperation that we’re pinning our hopes on Lambert – a man who has won four of his last 37 games as a manager? For all the fine PR, is there a danger he might be the false messiah?
Give the man a summer transfer window and a pre-season. He’s not had one of those at a club since 2014. So much of what he’s doing currently is through necessity not design.
For now though there’s pride to play for. A mood to maintain. A dream to sell. Fans to keep on board.
Those drinks might be to numb the pain right now, but when they are eventually consumed in celebration – whenever that might be – they’ll taste all the sweeter.