I have been supporting Town for more than fifty years, but I have never felt so dispirited as I do now. Are we perhaps fighting a losing battle? It was in 2007, that owner Marcus Evans first got his hands on a controlling stake at the club, and it has never been quite the same since. His lack of football know-how obviously did not help and this was amplified by the rather naive appointment of Simon Clegg as our Chief Executive in 2009. What a disaster he was!
More poor appointments followed, and the profligate way in which former manager’s consumed Evans dosh – without Town profiting from it, meant that his generosity would not last forever. When the money dried up we stagnated further as a club, and although I applaud in principle Evans five-point plan, in practice it would probably have been better served 30 years ago.
Ploughing significant amounts of money into the Academy was useful; along with the aim to produce a team that would produce attractive football. Whether giving the manager a new five-year contract, as part of the concept of producing a stable management team is quite as appealing is obviously open to debate. Manager Paul Lambert is content in the knowledge that Rome was not built in a day but does he have the necessary building blocks to complete his mission?
In 1973, 1975 and again in 2005, Ipswich won the FA Youth Cup. This competition is normally a good indicator of what the future holds and yet these days we seriously struggle to progress in it. I suppose this is no surprise, as we have dropped down to the third tier of English football, but there were signs the other night at Crawley that we have some good young players coming through. I particularly like the look of Amsterdammer Levi Andoh, Frenchman Allan Viral and Zak Brown performed very well when he was introduced. I think too that Liam Gibbs, Ross Crane and 16-year old Jack Manley have a chance to progress too.
What we need most of all is some room for encouragement. Nice words don’t win games and for all those beautiful superlatives frequently abused by our manager, only success on the field will save his neck. Two years of his reign and improvement, if any, has been slight. Lambert says that patience is a virtue that will be rewarded in the end. ” You can’t judge everything by short-term markers because it will take a number of years to get things how we want it. We can’t buy players and we need to nurture what we have and look at free transfers. It’s not ideal and of course, we want to be in a higher league, but the football we’re playing is good. I’m happy with how it’s going.” I am glad somebody is.
I feel that this season will define our future much more emphatically than any other. It will also determine whether Paul Lambert still has a job.