Will you stay for Ipswich Town ‘lap of appreciation’ tomorrow?
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says he and the club’s players owe it to fans to carry out the ‘lap of appreciation’ this weekend.
Tomorrow’s visit of Sheffield Wednesday will be the final home game of the Blues’ disappointing campaign, with a lowest league finish since the late 1950s still a possibility with just two matches to play.
McCarthy has faced negative chants from sections inside Portman Road in recent months, but says it is only right that those who follow the team through thick and thin are recognised with a round of applause.
“Yes, we will do that, because we have to show our appreciation – whether it’s one or 10 thousand that stay behind,” said the Blues boss. “We have to show that appreciation to those that turn up and support us.”
There have been plenty of forgettable matches served up on Suffolk soil in the last 18 months, but the 3-1 win victory against promotion-chasing Newcastle had a bumper 25,000+ crowd rocking on Easter Monday.
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“It was a real surprise to see that size crowd,” said McCarthy. “It was a great noise, a fabulous atmosphere and we certainly responded to it.
“It can be like that at any club when things are good. Look at Lincoln and how it is there this season with them beating us and Brighton and Burnley in the FA Cup and getting promoted (from the National League). Everyone is talking about how wonderful it is there with seven thousand fans, but I’ve been there when it’s 800 and something because they were struggling.
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“It’s a bit like that with us at the moment, but the Newcastle game was a reminder, if ever we needed a gentle reminder, of what this place can be.”
He continued: “I’d love to go out with a performance and a result like that on Saturday. We’ve been at pains to make that clear to the players in training this week.
“We can’t go up or go down, but Sheffield Wednesday still need points (to finish in the top six) and we have to make sure we perform and protect the integrity of the league.
“And it’s a really important game for us. It’s our game in front of our fans and we’d like to leave a good taste in their mouths.”
Town had the joint-best home record in the Championship when they reached the play-offs in 2015. McCarthy added: “I’d like to get more points, better performances and more wins in general next year, but home form and performances are particularly vital to any club because that’s when all your fans come and watch.
“You can get two thousand fans travel away and see a great performance, but there are several more thousand who don’t see that. They want to see it with their own eyes.”
Blues striker David McGoldrick added: “To put it bluntly, our fans have seen some bleak games. I hear it’s quite expensive to come and watch so their frustration is understandable.
“The lap of honour this weekend can go two ways – we can win and get clapped off, or we can lose and get things thrown at us!
“The fans have been great given the season we’ve had and we need to give them something to smile about.”