We have been going downhill for some seasons but after the latest nail in the Blues coffin, it is time to contemplate life below. After 62 seasons spent either in this division or the one above, life beneath us will take some getting used to.
So many things have conspired against us this term, it almost seems as if we have been cursed! Yet, the warning signs were there for all to see from day one when Paul Hurst was appointed too late to make the necessary preparations for the new season. He was playing catch up from day one and yet our owner Marcus Evans seems oblivious to the risky strategy he had employed. Some of the best prospects in management applied for the post; from Rangers boss Steven Gerrard to Frank Lampard, who is doing excellently at Derby County these days.
We all wanted a young and ambitious manager and the pair of them fitted the bill but Evans went for little known Paul Hurst. He seems to like the name Paul, as he has hired three in his time here and they have all producing similarly disappointing results. Hurst was a victim of circumstance from the start when his leading strikers all wanted to leave. As he said admitted later if a player wants to move to pastures new, there is very little you can do about it. He is right of course because players need to remain motivated and belief is a big part of this. I suppose the next question is, would they have stayed if Paul Lambert has been installed at the beginning of the season and not when we were at the bottom of the table?
So it was a bad start to our league campaign from day one and things deteriorated with every increasing rapidity from that moment on. We have suffered some outrageous refereeing decisions during the course of the season; and some equally horrendous injuries and add to that the ‘sick leaves’ from last term and you can quickly see that Lambert already had his work cut out. It seemed that every striker that we hired ended up with a long term injury, from Jon Walters to Will Keane, and without goals in your team, you have little chance of securing wins. Even our defence and midfield failed to make much of an impression here either.
No team wins anything without an element of luck but that is not something that the football Gods have bestowed on us, and whether it is the Mick McCarthy mantra of “I told you so,” or the Alex Mathie warning that we must be “careful what you wish for” the reality is that we have roundly under-achieved all season.
Thankfully, the Portman Road crowd are keeping the faith and Marcus Evans has realised that to get bums on seats certainly improves the atmosphere – even if it does nothing to improve his bank balance.
Next season is a whole new ball game and how we start it might just decide where we end it, so it is vital that we hit the ground running and hope that along the way Lady Luck might just smile on us once again.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich