Karl Fuller: Death, taxes and Town after an international break!
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Ipswich Town lost heavily at home 2-5 to Bolton at the weekend. KARL FULLER went along - and took guests. He shares his thoughts.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote that there are only two guarantees in life – deaths and taxes.
Two sorry facts that we all inevitably have to face at some point in life. But I would also throw into the hat a third one - Ipswich Town performances after international breaks.
What on earth do we do with additional time on the training pitches to look so lethargic and bereft of ideas after an international break? Saturday wasn't the first time.
Oh, I nearly forgot, and a fourth one.
How many times over the years have Ipswich Town laid on ‘promotional’ games where season ticket holders can buy up to four tickets for family and friends, we take them along in the hope they’ll have a great day, only for Town to lose miserably and our guests leave it a long while before returning?
I took two guests with me on Saturday as my nephew Jack, who is a Liverpool fan, and my daughter’s boyfriend Seb, who is a Spurs fan.
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On the way to IP1, I was probably more excited than they were as I was proudly reeling off thoughts about how although we haven’t won yet this season, we’re playing good football, the atmosphere is much better these days and that they could just be the lucky charms to bring us our first win of the season.
I shouldn't have bothered.
The first ten minutes were okay but after that, it was a complete shambles. By the time we left the ground, I felt embarrassed, humiliated, angry and disappointed that our day had been completely ruined.
When Mark Ashton recently said that the club needed to grab the enthusiasm and positivity that was engulfed in the local community, days like Saturday will do little to help.
I think for many, enthusiasm and positivity have evaporated now and all the scars of concern from recent years are well and truly open again.
In more than 700 Portman Road games, that was only the seventh time I have seen us concede five or more goals and aside from that heavy defeat against that lot up the road more than ten years ago, this debacle ranks as the most disconcerting of them all.
Mainly because of the level at which we now find ourselves losing by such a scoreline.
Partly because of the opposition who just a few months ago were in League Two – although admittedly, they were excellent on the day – but also because of how we are having to fall from the highest we’ve felt about things at Portman Road for years, to a big bump back down to earth.
I am worried by our winless start, especially against the opposition we have faced to date, but for 15 minutes after the restart, I was really concerned with our reaction.
Bolton scoring on the stroke of half-time was a blow but it then gave Paul Cook 15 minutes to drill into the lads how we were going to come out showing some fight and grab the game by the scruff of the neck to turn it around.
What followed was a performance as limp as we’ve witnessed in years and there has been some serious competition for that title.
I saw a team crumbling at every ounce of pressure that Bolton applied on us, I saw heads drop as soon as the fourth goal went in, I saw nothing to suggest that we would turn it around.
The bigger picture now has been the clamour calling for Cook’s head. But then what? We can’t just keep changing managers every season or two.
Yet something has to change and quickly. My biggest concern is the lack of experience of those working with Cook.
Maybe without Leam Richardson by his side, we really are at Paul Lambert without Ian Culverhouse Mark II.
If we could add one more body to the project then surely it has to be an experienced assistant and preferably one who knows how to defend. Somebody like John McGreal for example.
But will Cook concede that he needs help?