Fuller Flavour: Wolves show there is hope, but Town are stuck in a cycle of Groundhog Days
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Walking back to the train station after Saturday’s game was a rather sombre affair, writes Karl Fuller.
My friend Jason and I were silent. There was nothing by way of speech of any description and as we crossed the bridge we both released a sigh at the same time before Jason said there are no words.
That’s easy for him to say that I thought – just as I was trying to think of 650 of them to offer this column!
Earlier in the afternoon, friends enquired as to how I kept going with so many Groundhog Days. They reckoned that they could only recycle the same column every week, changing names of the opposition such is the fact that there is very little different to write about from one week to the next.
Before the game, I was sat in the buffet bar at Manningtree train station, with just a Strongbow (other ciders are available) for comfort, deep in thought as to whether my Saturday afternoons were being spent effectively after a hard working week.
Surely my time would be better spent with the family I questioned myself? But as they say, a working man is entitled to his leisure and watching Ipswich Town has been my leisure for so many years.
Besides, I missed the win over Leeds and did not really want to believe that my absence was really the main factor for winning that game (four wins and a draw have come from the last five games I’ve missed – maybe it is me).
I wondered why so many of us kept chasing the glory that really isn’t there to be chased and what the point of it all was.
But then again, this is football, the addiction that grabs you like no other. If you cannot shake the addiction off, there’s always that next game to pin your hopes on and then it becomes a vicious cycle.
With my thoughts on the opposition of the day, I was also grumbling at how powerful money has become in not just the game itself, but the Championship too.
If there’s a club for us to draw parallels with at this level of the game in recent years then it is Wolves. Since the formation of the Premiership in 1992/93, Wolves and Ipswich lead the way with the most points amassed in the Championship.
Prior to Saturday, they led the way, just, with 1,441 points to date to our 1,429. The sway in their favour has obviously been caused by this season’s points haul thus far.
A little over six months ago, there was equally very little between us. Remember, 2016/17 was our worst season for 58 years and yet they only managed to finish three points and one place ahead of us.
They’d equally had a season to forget and the 0-0 draw the last time we both met at Portman Road in March epitomised the seasons of both clubs as it ranked as one of the worst home games I’d ever seen. Both sides were dire!
Since then, Wolves have completely turned themselves around thanks to spending big on their squad. Ironically, the only player that played in both games for them was Matt Doherty, who scored their winner on Saturday.
In the blink of an eye, their supporters have gone from the doldrums that we are currently languishing in to a journey that will inevitably end up with a place in next season’s Premier League.
And this is why I don’t think that the lack of words from Jason and I were necessarily a result of Saturday’s defeat, more a realisation that to be at the level Wolves are at in such a short space of time requires a lot of money which we know is not going to happen anytime soon.
It’s what it is and yet, we still cling onto hope that one day soon will not be yet another Groundhog Day for us Town fans.