North Stander: Sadly, it was all just so predictable in this dreadful season
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North Stander Terry Hunt reflects on another heartbreaking weekend for Blues fans...
Football is more than cruel for Ipswich Town supporters at the moment.
Sadistic is the word I would use after Saturday’s heartbreaking events.
The saddest thing of all was that it was so predictable. I’m sure I wasn’t the only Town fan who knew exactly the way things would unfold in the final minutes of Saturday’s games.
Thousands of us will have had the same thought process going into injury time:
If we hang on, and Reading draw with Rotherham, the gap to safety is down to seven points.
Beat Reading at Portman Road next Saturday, and it could be only four points!
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But many of us will also have had the same sense of foreboding. Absolutely nothing goes right for Ipswich in this dreadful season, and it was always going to be Joe Garner who spoiled the afternoon.
We were within touching distance of having a glimmer of hope, but it was snatched away from us.
They say it’s the hope that kills you, and it’s true.
I was more gutted on Saturday than if we’d been thrashed.
That’s the most frustrating part at the moment.
We are no longer the whipping boys from earlier in the season. We’re playing some decent football, and matching teams, but the results still aren’t coming.
The Reading game really is the ‘Last Chance Saloon’.
Anything less than a win and even those admirable fans who look at the world through blue and white tinted spectacles will have to accept that the game is up and we’re heading to the less-than-glamorous world of League One.
But, despite the results, there is a renewed sense of togetherness at our club, for the first time in the 11 years of the Marcus Evans era.
Paul Lambert’s obvious passion for the job and recognition of the fans has made him hugely popular, and owner Evans is – at last – doing the right things in terms of rebuilding the relationship between the club and its loyal supporters.
I asked last week what Evans was going to do for season ticket holders, and within a few days I had my answer – a free pie and pint before the Reading game.
Sadly, I can’t get to the ground that early, but it’s the thought that counts and I’m sure thousands will take advantage of the offer.
The big issue remains season ticket prices for next season, almost certainly in League One, and it sounds like we’ll have that news in the next few weeks.
I really do hope the club gets it right. Having a busy, buzzing stadium will be absolutely crucial next season.
They say every cloud has a silver lining, and maybe the good thing about this absolutely wretched season will be that the hierarchy at the club has learned a few lessons about how to deal with their most important customers.
Of course we all want the team to win every game, but most of all we want to feel valued.
That’s been missing for the last few seasons, and it’s great to have it back.
On the pitch, I said nothing has gone right for Town this season, and that’s certainly the case with injuries. I’ve never known so many long-term absentees, from Huws and Adeyemi (will either ever play for Town again?) to Sears, Ward and others.
I really hope Will Keane’s hamstring problem doesn’t keep him out for too long, because he has made a difference up front.
All through the season, I’ve bemoaned our lack of quality.
No complaint about commitment, we’re collectively just not good enough. Three wins in 34 games tells its own sorry story.
Jonas Knudsen’s disastrous return to first-team action sums it up.
At fault for Derby’s goal, at fault (with Bart) for Stoke’s comedy goal, and a red card at Wigan. This from a player who represented his country at last summer’s World Cup finals.
I’m not picking on Knudsen, just saying his blunder-strewn comeback kind of sums up this whole disastrous season.
I’ll see you in the Last Chance Saloon on Saturday!