Town faces tough challenge

EVER since Ipswich Town were relegated from the Premiership back in 2002, this newspaper has been right beside the team's efforts to get Back to the Top.

EVER since Ipswich Town were relegated from the Premiership back in 2002, this newspaper has been right beside the team's efforts to get Back to the Top.

Now necessity has demanded that is changed - now the rallying call has to be Back from the Brink as the club's future in the Championship looks increasingly precarious.

This Saturday's match against QPR takes on an increasing importance as Town play one of the few sides below them in the table.

An end to the appalling run of no goals and no victories in six matches is vital. Defeat at the weekend will leave Ipswich tottering on the precipice.


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Nerves will be very frayed at Portman Road on Saturday.

The club's whole relationship with the community and its supporters is now very fragile and the time is rapidly approaching when the board - led by chairman David Sheepshanks - needs to really consider whether it is able to do what is needed for the Ipswich Town FC.

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Over the last few years the club has lost a great deal of goodwill among the local community - many businesses lost large amounts of money when it went into receivership and fans have been left feeling sore as the cost of going to matches has rocketed ahead of inflation while the standard of football on show has fallen.

Watching football is no longer a cheap entertainment - even prime minister Tony Blair recognised that yesterday when he told reporters: “Anyone who watches the Premiership can notice, in the past couple of years, rows of empty seats.”

That is a situation which clubs further down the league ladder, like Ipswich Town, face even more. And by putting up season ticket prices by more than the rate of inflation when supporters don't know which division the team will be playing in next season is hardly a recipe to boost attendances.

It is encouraging that the club may be able to rid itself of the burden of debt - but the fact is that few fans will be celebrating that good news if the club spends 2007/8 in League One (or the third division as many fans still know it).

AS the clear up of the Cumbrian rail disaster continues, it is becoming clear that state of the track was nothing short of a national disgrace.

This is not the first time that Network Rail, or its predecessor Railtrack, has contributed to a fatal accident. It is starting to look like a carbon copy of Potters Bar.

The Crown Prosecution Service must now throw the legal book at the company.

If found guilty, are fines the appropriate sentence . . . they will merely be passed on to passengers. Surely those involved should be jailed.

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