I think that it would be in Town’s best interest to stay in Division One for a year or two and avoid the yoyo effects of returning to the Championship too soon. Now you might suggest I have lost my marbles, but I genuinely believe that if we were to bounce back too quickly, it would not do us a lot of good. Do we really want to see ourselves struggling in the Championship again, simply because we had not developed sufficiently to stay there?
I think a season or two in Division One might do us the world of good, as it would give our younger players the opportunity to improve their skills and give the club valuable breathing space, in order to find suitable replacements for captain Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse.
I am sure it will not be easy in the league below so perhaps by default, we might find ourselves lodged there for longer than any of us intended. Our younger players are learning fast but not fast enough to make sufficient progress next term, and they will be up against some tough opponents – and I am not just referring to opponents technical ability, because physicality is something that these youngsters will have to get used to! Players like Teddy Bishop and Andre Dozzell still look a little frail for this division, and they will have to beef up a bit to survive in it.
Today we discovered that those reduced season ticket rates seem to be having the desired effect. The club announced today that they have already sold almost 10,500 season tickets for next season, which is close to matching their final season ticket figure for this current campaign and just a week after they went on sale!
If Town fans continue to buy with such enthusiasm then there could be another price reduction of 10 per cent if 12,000 are sold by that Early Bird deadline of May the 6th, and the way things are progressing, this is a very real possibility.
Big crowds will obviously be good for Portman Road and good for the players too, and with a great atmosphere in the ground, we can only hope that some favourable results will follow.
Bearing in mind that over the 10 seasons, only 11 of those relegations clubs have bounced back straight away, expectations should be low. A couple of seasons in Division One would be part of a much more fluid building process, and like a good wine that matures with time, we will eventually appreciate the fruits of our endeavours.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich