Over the last 10, 15, possibly even 20 years, Ipswich Town have suffered numerous setbacks on and off the field. From Wickham to Murphy, Sheepshanks to Evans, The Championship to League One – the contrast in drop from the heights of fifth in the Premier League to bottom of the second tier was slow and painful. But was it a surprise?
Marcus Evans took over the club in 2007 and he spent a fair bit of money. Under the reigns of Roy Keane and Paul Jewell we pretty much hosted a side that played Premier League football over the next decade – names I can just pull out of my head include Damian Delaney, Gareth McAuley and Aaron Cresswell(!). But then came the withdrawal of funds and in came Mick the Magician. He created a side of freebies that went on to reach the play-offs in 2015. Slightly ill-prepared for the task, might I add, but Ipswich were back!
Or were they? Lack of investment led to the demise of support on a weekly basis and crowds as low as 10,000 were turning up for home games. McCarthy’s boring approach somewhat drained the life of every Town fan but his hands were tied, in my opinion, and I believe that, given money, Mick would have been up there with the likes of Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.
Fast forward to summer 2018: a young, hungry manager steps up, in the shape of Paul Hurst. To summarise, it was probably the quickest I have ever seen somebody commit occupational suicide. In the space of two months, Hurst and his large assistant, Chris Doig, had either sold or let go our four best assets in David McGoldrick, Joe Garner, Martyn Waghorn and Adam Webster. An accumulation of 40 goals WAS removed from our starting line-up and replaced with the likes of the relatively unknown Kayden Jackson, Ellis Harrison, Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala; League One players.
We were doomed, and to be fair from the fifth minute of our opening fixture against Blackburn at Portman Road onwards, I feared for us. I needed to talk to somebody and needed to let off steam, but everyone was lost, and thus started the channel. Since then we’ve followed the relegation of Ipswich Town to the third tier of English football for the firs time since the 1950s. I would argue it’s been coming.
Years of pennies spent in investing on players that were not suitable enough to play for this club in The Championship was always going to bite us on the bum at some point. My argument was that we needed to restart, start afresh, but I never envisaged it coming so soon.
By October 2018 the club were so far away from achieving the impossible of staying in the division, so something had to be done! An ex Canary? No way! Paul Lambert came in and the initial response was somewhat negative, as you can imagine. He needed to get the fans on side. What ensued was the birth of a new relationship between fans and the manager that had not been seen since, dare I say, George Burley.
The connection established in such a short space of time has seen season ticket sales rocket to 12,500 ready for League One and what we have now is not only a new challenge but a new horizon. The question is, what can Paul Lambert and Ipswich Town do in in the coming campaign?
About Ipswich Fanzone
I started IpswichFanzone as an anonymous Twitter account six years ago, with the aim of increasing fan interaction within our club (Ipswich Town). Fast forward to the summer of 2018 and the account had become an alter ego for me. I felt it was time to put a face to the name – then started the YouTube channel.
IpswichFanzone is the no.1 fan channel for the club, where fans get to have their say every week on all things ITFC and is broadcast to fans everywhere via YouTube. The channel was nominated in the ‘Best New Content Creator’ category at the 2019 Football Blogging Awards hosted at the Etihad Stadium in May, losing out to worthy opponents VillaOnTour and TheMagpieChannel.
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