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‘At Portman Road, we are a very patient fanbase which maybe is half the problem’...

Town fans.... a patient bunch. Photo: PAGE PIX

Town fans.... a patient bunch. Photo: PAGE PIX

Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town fan HENRY CHARD looks at Town’s expectancy levels over the past 18 years.... so much has changed.... We welcome your posts.

Town manager Paul Lambert and his assistant Stuart Taylor in reflective mood as they stand in front of the North Stand  fans following Town's relegation from the Championship after the 1-1 draw against Birmingham City.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comTown manager Paul Lambert and his assistant Stuart Taylor in reflective mood as they stand in front of the North Stand fans following Town's relegation from the Championship after the 1-1 draw against Birmingham City. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

What is the expectancy at Ipswich Town?

We've heard our manager Paul Lambert talk about the weight of expectancy at the Club during this League One campaign, what is the expectancy? I think it is a myth that it is 'weighing heavy' on the players.

Every fan wants their club to win football matches.

The same goes for players, they go into every game wanting to win, and if they are not, they shouldn't be playing. As an Ipswich Town fan, we know that our team is not going to win every game. Hope and desire for something is very different from expectation.

Our expectations have changed over the last 18 years and the landscape has changed too.

The introduction of parachute payments made getting out of The Championship a lot tougher. We have had a new owner, Marcus Evans.

The club introduced the season ticket campaign 'Operation Premiership', if anything placing an expectation on themselves and raising expectations on the terraces. We invested (badly) in players and got nowhere near the target. Then we stopped investing and ultimately have gone backwards, drastically.

Managers have come and gone under Evans, the media reported that we hounded Mick McCarthy out.

'Hounded', it makes me laugh.

Out of all of the managers we have had under Evans, none have been 'hounded' out. Some half-hearted boos, a few chants from sections of the crowd. If this is considered hounded, then I dread to think what it is called at other clubs where there is a lot more pressure and expectation from fans.

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We are now the lowest we have been since 1956/57.

During that time, some boos, some chants, some half-hearted protests are as bad as it has got. At Portman Road, we are a very patient fanbase which maybe is half the problem. Portman Road is a nice place to play both for home and away players. It's not intimidating, away teams do not fear coming here and home players know that even if they perform badly it's not going to be that bad.

The squad got applauded off the pitch for being relegated last season, season ticket sales went up and attendances have improved in League One, there are very few places if anywhere that will happen.

We've heard Lambert say it's the first experience for some of the players playing with this expectation from the fans. Players themselves set the target of winning the league at the start of the season.

Teams do not raise their game because they are playing Ipswich Town as has been said so many times this season either. It's hardly like opposition players are going to tell their grandkids they beat Ipswich in League One. For the last 15 years we have been a mid-table/struggling Championship club (now mid-table League One club), and as fans of this club, we know that and understand that more than anyone.

So, what do we expect as Ipswich Town fans right now?

To go out and attack to try and win games, try to play as much football on the floor as possible, see some young players, have an identity and a plan with 100% commitment. I don't think that is too much weight to carry as a footballer or manager? No one is out there thinking we are going to win the UEFA Cup and demanding Premier League football anymore.

Like any relegated club, like the players and management we 'expected' to be challenging for promotion this season and we've got behind them all season.

I don't think that we have placed unreasonable expectations on them or created a difficult environment to play in.

Expectations at this club are low if anything and it is up to the current crop of players and management to give us a reason to expect.

Henry Chard

- We welcome your posts. e: mike.bacon@archant.co.uk

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