Who is to blame for Ipswich Town FC’s awful form? The players? Paul Lambert? My dad?
PUBLISHED: 11:56 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:56 25 February 2020
The match against Oxford United was a poor show. But could the fans be doing more to help?
I've been supporting Ipswich Town since the age of seven (42 years for those who would like to guess my age) and I have often said: "It's the worst I've ever known it to be".
We fans like our hyperbole. But what the heck? I'm saying it again now because even if it isn't, it certainly felt like it on Saturday.
The game, against Oxford United, was a new low point.
All I could hear around me in the North Stand was misery.
But whose fault is it?
The ref took some of the heat.
He wasn't much of a homer, let's be honest, but the result was hardly his fault, surely?
Oxford put in the perfect away performance, catching us on the break and being organised and solid throughout.
They also scored a perfectly good goal, despite the lady behind me claiming it was offside.
She was wrong, and I was irked because there is nothing I like less than a woman getting the offside rule wrong - men always think we don't know it, so if you don't know your offside ladies, please hold your peace!
My Mum blamed my Dad, of course.
"He's the Jonah," she said. "We beat Burton last week when he wasn't here."
This is hard to dispute but I wondered if a Norwich-supporting friend I also knew to be at the game might have had some Jonah-esque impact as well.
"Agent Lambert is doing a great job," he texted later, cheerfully.
A joke, of course, but all the fans around me were wondering why Town didn't bother with any meaningful substitutions and throughout the second half were as flat as a pancake so Lambert needs to have a look at his game-plan and I'm sure he will.
But we fans need to look at ourselves as well.
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My reading of the match, such as it is, was that Ipswich don't seem to be playing like a team at the moment but we supporters aren't helping with that because we are getting stuck into the players, and Lambert, rather than fighting their corner alongside them.
At the end, the players came to applaud us, as did Lambert, but I'm not really sure we deserved that and very few of us were clapping back.
Of course we're annoyed by what was an awful result and performance, as well as the loss of discipline at the end of the game, but it's not exactly going to help matters moaning about Lambert, who has signed a new contract until 2025, and booing him and his team off the pitch.
Why would the players and our manager want to play for us if we are basically telling them to get lost?
Norwich fans know what Lambert is capable of and so do we.
It's all gone wrong of late but, as another lady said as I was leaving the ground: "We were top five minutes ago".
Exactly, so this isn't unrecoverable.
ITFC football expert Stuart Watson tells me statistics show that Town still have a 25% chance of making the playoffs and we all know what a couple of good results can achieve at this level.
Town just need a bit of momentum.
I'm so old I can remember the times at Portman Road when the fans pulled the ball into the back of the net.
We used to do it for my favourite player of all time, Kieron Dyer, cheering him on, revving him up, leveraging his best ever performances out of him because he wanted to do his best for us and in my experience always did.
It doesn't matter if the players are local. It matters if we have a relationship with them and we have their backs, rather than being on their backs.
I'm happy to blame my Dad, the Jonah, because it always amuses us as a family.
But it's not really Dad's fault.
If we want to enjoy the glory, we have to take responsibility for when things are going wrong alongside the players and manager, don't we?
The fans need to give 100%.
If we do, we might find our players do as well, and, if they don't, with the whole of Portman Road roaring them on, only then will we really have something to moan about.
* I'd love to hear from other Town fans on this. Have we every right to be furious about the current situation? Or should we be showing more solidarity? Write to email@example.com