Town special part two

The manager:-Jim Magilton comes second in my Portman Road review because I believe he will walk into Ipswich Town history, sooner rather than later.

Nigel Pickover

The manager:-

Jim Magilton comes second in my Portman Road review because I believe he will walk into Ipswich Town history, sooner rather than later.

So many of us wanted our hero to succeed but there have been too many concerns for me.

Some utterly dreadful team performances, notably at Colchester last season and Doncaster and Swansea this, have left me wondering if he has been able to motivate and inspire when the chips are down?

Has the “dressing room” been playing for its manager and has Jim been able to get the best out of players?

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Did he allow the list of professionals to grow too large - so that only a few players could be happy most of the time?

Has the club been buoyant and happy with Jim around? Has he been able to radiate both warmth and confidence in equal measure with the much-needed terrier-like qualities of being the gaffer?

Why has youth not been given its chance, with fans accepting a mid-table position as long as emerging talent got a chance?

This weekend the manager showed a na�ve touch when he said the play-offs look like a distant dream after the dismal 1-1 home draw with Blackpool. Owners do not like the prospect of a multi-million pound team going nowhere and becalmed.

Jim is clutching at the mahogany handrails of the bar in the Last Chance saloon - but he could still resurrect a last dash for the play-offs with a resounding win against Nottingham Forest this week. So his words were premature - and self-defeating.

Season tickets:-

From Marcus Evans downwards, there is an understandable concern about season ticket renewals. Or lack of them - here's why:

- Credit crunch

- Recession: People with concerns about jobs are making tough decisions.

- Lack of quality and of success for too many years means fans will go “casual” and turn up for a handful of matches.

- Lack of fun on match days. The Portman Road atmosphere has bombed.

- Too expensive fare at the ground on match days. Fans who pay for tickets find more huge expense and feel ripped off.

In the Sheepshanks era the fan base went up to around 25,000, and stayed there even after relegation and administration.

My view is that a 2009/10 year in the Championship will see gates in the mid-teens.

So could all the expansion of our club, the march across East Anglia to gateways as far as West Essex and Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, be under threat in year two of the Evans dynasty?

The challenge:-

For owner Evans, the first challenge will be to see that mistakes have been made - from himself and the manager downwards - but that smart, quick, moves can put the club back on track. Many of my criticisms, if attended to, would help, I hope.

Hope springs eternal among Ipswich Town fans and my clarion call today is to keep a great football club alive and kicking.

There are many towns and cities in the UK that are bigger than Ipswich - with football clubs that are not a fraction of the same pedigree and tradition. That position is what's at risk if changes aren't made and that's why this newspaper has spoken out today.

Today's piece isn't “kicking the club or an individual while it is down”.

The criticism is made from a position of relative strength and it is intended to stop a slow reversal of fortunes for one of the best football clubs around.

Come on Marcus - and Come on You Blues.