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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: Town’s increasing lack of ambition filters down from the very top

PUBLISHED: 14:03 11 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:03 11 February 2018

Joe Garner pictured during Ipswich Town's drab goalless home draw with Burton Albion. Photo: STEVE WALLER

Joe Garner pictured during Ipswich Town's drab goalless home draw with Burton Albion. Photo: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

It’s no wonder Ipswich Town fans are walking away in their droves.

Time and time again they have been offered hope that a state of inertia could finally be broken only for a slow burning fuse to quickly fizzle out.

Saturday’s dreadful goalless home draw with rock-bottom Burton Albion was the latest case in point. It was a golden chance to back-up victory at Sunderland and lay a good platform for this Sunday’s trip to Norwich.

• STU SAYS: ‘Players must take responsibility’ – Four observations on Town’s 0-0 draw with Burton

Yet Town failed to lay a glove on an injury-hit, out-of-form team who have been leaking goals at an alarming rate.

It was reminiscent of the way England were frozen by fear during their infamous Euro 2016 exit to Iceland. Mistakes proved infectious. Where was the urgency? Who wanted the ball? Where were the leaders?

• REACTION: ‘I’m cool getting the stick for the team’s performance,’ says McCarthy

The game was watched by a crowd of 13,815 - the lowest attendance for a league game at Portman Road since October 1998 and a record which has fallen four times over the last six months. Those that stayed away will say they were simply protecting themselves from some predictable heartache.

Whether it be East Anglian derby matches (no wins in nine), FA Cup ties (no wins in 13), games shown live on TV (two wins in 20), or simply occasions like the weekend – the Blues always seem to go flat on the bigger occasions.

Mick McCarthy said afterwards that being firm favourites does his side no favours. He added: “At the end of it you just make sure you don’t get beaten.”

• Like our Facebook page for all the latest Blues news and video reports

Sadly, that rather sums up the ambition, or rather lack of it, being shown at the club these days.

Marcus Evans’ annual £6m investment pales into insignificance compared to the growing number of foreign billionaires involved at second-tier level.

• RATINGS: Andy Warren gives his grade following drab draw

McCarthy’s recent open chat about ‘mind-boggling wages’ had, for the first time, an air of defeatism about it. You sense he knows a glass ceiling has now been reached.

The players, meanwhile, often talk about ‘punching above our weight’.

From owner, to manager, to players – that state of mind filters down from the very top. This is a club seemingly getting a little too accepting of its place.

• Kieron Dyer reveals he was sexually abused as a boy

That’s why the atmosphere is so sterile on match days in Suffolk. Even the chants and boos are half-hearted.

The annual talk about always aiming for the play-offs seems more out of duty and habit than genuine deep-rooted belief.

That’s hard for the older generation of fans who remember the halcyon days to hear. And it’s doing little to inspire the next generation who are needed to take on the baton.

Of course there is no divine right to success, but all football fans – no matter where their club is at – deserve a few memorable moments along the way for their time and money. And there have been precious few of those in recent times.

With season ticket renewal packs soon to drop on doormats, the club needs to do something to inspire its supporters and fast.

Highways chiefs are monitoring gusts and wind speeds as Storm Ali makes its way to Suffolk.

A man who was racially abusive to a Suffolk bus driver after he was asked to stop drinking alcohol from a bottle has been jailed for 70 weeks.

A tree brought down in today’s high winds is has blocked part of the B1067 near Bramford.

A prisoner has absconded while on leave from an Ipswich medical facility.

Ipswich is finally getting a brand new buffet restaurant in the town centre after two years of planning and development.

Broadcaster, author, explorer and geographer Nicholas Crane will be speaking on the challenges facing Suffolk’s coastline at a conference in the county next month.

A fallen tree is blocking the railway tracks at Needham Market causing severe disruption to passengers.

A traditional pub in Suffolk has become the first in Britain to go cashless, its landlord has said.

We have been all over Ipswich visiting primary schools to take pictures of your children in their new classes - find out when you can pick up your copy.

The site of a former fertiliser factory in Ipswich which has stood derelict for 30 years is set to be developed for homes – despite concerns over contaminated land, noise and lack of affordable homes.

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