If fans are not back to Portman Road any time soon, could quiet be the new loud? Town’s record at home last season was appalling so could silence be golden? The Tremeloes and Kings of Convenience probably won’t thank me for this vague attempt at plagiarism but the truth is, Ipswich Town have not performed well in front of their home supporters for some time, so the question is, could this new normal work to the clubs’ advantage?
The Blues first-team squad are scheduled to return to Playford Road for training at the beginning of next week, for the first time since the last season was halted, way back on March 13th. The new season is pencilled in for Saturday, September 12th; which is almost exactly six months since the last one ended bizarrely. It is still uncertain whether supporters will be allowed back into the ground, and even if they get the green light, it will be nowhere near capacity.
Having watched many Premier League games of late, there is something surreal about a football game played without spectators. There is an eeriness about the place, as it is completely alien to what we have all become used to, and although crowds are intended to inspire, this is not always the way it works. Ipswich supporters are generally more tolerant than most when things don’t go to plan, but they can go very quiet, and so you could argue that the players are used to the new loud and they can focus more on playing football – free from the usual distractions. You would think referees might benefit too but from what I have witnessed so far this does not appear to be the case!
We will never know just how last season might have ended because five of our last eight fixtures were at Portman Road. But this place is no longer a fortress and visiting clubs and their supporters quite look forward to a trip to Suffolk these days.
Whether the Tractor Boys will benefit from less scrutiny in the stadium remains to be seen. When the table was suspended until further notice Town had won six, lost six and drawn five at home, so there is certainly lots of room for improvement – with or without the crowds!