|Win Some, Lose Some|
Written by TimS on Monday, 10th Apr 2017 13:03
So, when is this season going to end? It seems that it is just going on, a slow drip to the start of May when we all head off for a welcomed football-free summer not quite sure what is going to happen at Portman Road.
I want to be positive, I so want to be positive about my club. I even went to a Supporters Club event in London in mid-January and that sort of made me positive. However, I just want the season to end. I guess I am not the only one.
The Supporters Club event did a short-term trick. After the Lincoln game, I really wondered what was going on with this club that has been in my family for generations. I wrote to MD Ian Milne explaining what had gone wrong with Ipswich Town Football Club on and off the pitch. I expected a “Dear Dr Sansom, thank you for your comments. Yours sincerely, Customer Service Department,” but I actually got a reply!
It was a pleasant evening at the Supporters Club roadshow, some light chat with Grant Ward and Tommy Smith. I even got to ask a question to Mr Milne. It was a stilted but fair answer. The evening, followed by a trip to Villa Park on 11th February, helped me get back into the fold again. Drinks for the Norwich game helped me further, but all that seems so long ago now.
The 2017/18 season can NOT just be about having another anniversary event for the 1978 FA Cup Final. None of what I wrote about in my letter to the club about life as a Town supporter in 2017 seems to have really changed, and living away from Ipswich, and watching the conversations on the message boards and the media coverage, life following Town seems to be so much worse.
I see a club that is so disconnected from its fan base that Portman Road might as well move to somewhere near Elmswell or Diss. I hear talk about a FanZone’ at Portman Road which sounds like a children’s ball park where kids are left to play in bouncy ball pits and inflatables whilst the adults are not disturbed. A FanZone is not enough to get fans to feel valued at the club.
I hope for a new season where the club actually speaks to its supporters, an owner that does not speak through intermediaries, messages that are more than just careful PR talk, but a conversation about what Mr Evans and his acolytes actually want from the club. And I want more than being told “just get in the Premier League”.
I want to see a club that actually has some emotional links with the Town, not just Christmas visits to the kids in hospital. I am currently home for a bit of Easter annual leave. I found myself near to Portman Road this weekend. I saw Portman Road shut up, unwelcome, unloved, embarrassed to be in the town.
I see no presence of the club in the town, apart from one betting shop advert getting people to put a bet on Town’s performance. It would be quite easy to drive around town without even realising that there was ever a club in the town centre. I look for a retail presence in the town centre, or some sort of physical notice that there is a proud football club in the county town of Suffolk.
I look for a season where it does not cost a fortune to watch mid-table second tier football. Throughout my time, I accept that it has never been cheap to watch Ipswich play, but I just do not understand how any economies of scale argument seems to have been totally discarded in favour of seemingly empty stands with people paying considerable amounts of money to watch dull football, desperately hoping that they were anywhere apart from in a football ground.
Why don’t the people in the corridors of power, recognise that the cost of tickets can be used as a way of getting people to believe that they can spend a Saturday afternoon watching their local football team without feeling that they are breaking the bank. I look forward to the announcement about matchday ticket prices with interest. I hope that the prices for the new season will make going to Portman Road financially attractive for everyone.
I look for a manager and team, who play with confidence on the ball, who believe that attack is more than passing the ball aimlessly and inaccurately around the pitch and back to the goalkeeper. Solving my club’s problems does not mean packing the team with random youngsters from an IP postcode. I want players who have some pedigree for the Championship, not a group of journeymen.
Back at Villa Park, anyone with sight of my phone would have seen that the text messages in the cold half-time were different at full-time. I remember thinking that I had been told things were bad. I just did not realise that things were that bad. Three points can dramatically change someone's mood, but maybe that win and the never ending draws were a smoke screen. 2017/18 cannot be another faltering campaign. Too many faltering campaigns will mean League One football come August 2018, a disaster for the club, a disaster for fans, a disaster for Ipswich and Suffolk.
Bringing a feelgood factor to the club on and off the pitch will surely help us to hope that come 6th May next year, we will remember the club for its proud history rather than out of embarrassment for the present.
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