Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: Stayaway fans can fall back in love with this Ipswich Town team
PUBLISHED: 15:09 03 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:11 03 December 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Come join the revolution.
Around two thousand Ipswich Town fans understandably gave up their season tickets in the summer after becoming disillusioned with the club.
Six months later and we have a team that should make stayaway supporters fall back in love with football again.
Sensational back-to-back wins against Derby (1-0 away) and Nottingham Forest (4-2 at home) have made a mockery of this writer’s claim that mid-table mediocrity almost certainly beckons.
A missed opportunity at Hull (2-2), a home draw against Sheffield Wednesday that was snatched from the jaws of victory (2-2), followed by an ‘ifs, buts and maybes’ 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa led to that assumption.
Never assume with Town though because, as David Brent once mused, ‘it makes an ass out of you and me’.
When the chips are down, Mick McCarthy sides pull unlikely results and runs out of the fire. It happened back in February, it happened at the start of this campaign and it’s happened again in the last few days.
A team that was among the favourites for relegation before a ball was kicked, and who have had some key injuries, is just three points adrift of the play-off places with the halfway stage fast approaching.
It’s not just results that have picked up either; it’s the product too. This is a soap opera worth watching again.
COMMENT: Town coped with captain Chambers
Only mega-money leaders Wolves have scored more goals in the Championship thus far.
In 10-goal forward Martyn Waghorn – a £250k buy from Rangers – Town have got the bargain of the season. His computer game themed celebrations are fun and appeal to the younger generation of fans.
In Bartosz Bialkowski – who added two more outrageous saves to his growing collection – they undoubtedly have the best goalkeeper in the division.
Everything that anyone could realistically asked for has come to pass. Bolder and more balanced team selections, more entertainment and more game time for youth team players.
NORTH STANDER: Come on Mick, I’m prepared to forgive and forget. Are you?
This is a vibrant, close-knit group (the average age of outfielders was 24 on Saturday) playing with smiles on their faces. They get on off the pitch and it shows.
McCarthy says he’ll ‘always remember’ the stick he faced during a tough 18 months. That was then, this is now. Maybe it’s time for all parties to forgive and forget.