Mike Bacon: It's not perfect... But Blues fans have their club back!
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Late goals, great atmosphere, a club united once more. It's not all 100% rosy in the Ipswich Town garden, but things are heading in the right direction. MIKE BACON takes a look.
If, as an Ipswich Town fan, you're tired of people telling you how good the atmosphere used to be at Portman Road when, 'back in the day', Town conquered Europe, then fear not.
Because while today's opposition isn't as headline-grabbing as Barcelona, Arsenal, St Etienne or Manchester United, the atmosphere created by Blues supporters is right up there with those 'good old days'.
Indeed, when Kayden Jackson's thumping shot hit the back of the net on Tuesday night and AFC Wimbledon had finally been 'put to bed', it was like a cork popping from the most potent bottle of Prosecco!
What a din!
What a noise!
What a set of supporters.
As someone who could bore you with all the fun and frolics of the Super Blues in Europe back in the '70s and '80s, the FA Cup win, the UEFA Cup triumph, I'm telling you, the atmosphere Town fans have created at the start of this season is right up there.
Marcus Evans... You should be one grateful owner for Town fans' loyalty after much of what they have had to put up with in the past few seasons.
... Still, let's move on...
'That was the worst Norwich City team I've seen in years,' said almost everyone after Town had drawn 1-1 with them back in September last year in the Championship.
Gwion Edwards had given the Blues the lead in front of another partisan and boisterous home crowd, before City equalised.
Most commentators felt Town had missed a big opportunity to at last get one over their local rivals.
And then... Norwich go on to win the title and Ipswich get relegated. How did that happen?
Well, Town fans might want to make a note of this, if they didn't know already.
Norwich's rise up the table, with Daniel Farke under all sorts of pressure going into that first derby game with the Blues, may have been as surprising for City fans as it was painful for Town fans to watch.
The Canaries' biggest secret of all?.... Scoring late goals!
In just the first half of last season the Canaries salvaged 14 points from goals in the 80th minute and beyond as defeats were turned into draws, draws into wins, even defeats into wins!
Hard as it is to stomach, City were the comeback kings on their way to the Premier League.
Yet (whisper it!), after what we have witnessed so far this season, is it Town's turn to become the late goal specialists?
Already Luke Chambers' 90th-minute header at Peterborough and two 80th-minute plus goals against AFC Wimbledon have salvaged Town four points.
It's a great habit to get into, a never-say-die attitude.
Some call it a 'get out of jail free' card...
... Call it what you like. I'll call it more points on the board!
FANS HAVE THEIR CLUB BACK
With Ipswich supporters making Portman Road buzz and with a decent squad of players, Town need now to set their stall out early - home and away.
On Tuesday night, the first half was so poor, I couldn't even bring myself to move from my seat for a cup of coffee!
Town lacked energy, urgency - the formation wasn't great. There were a few boos.
How was this going to pan out?
Yet, with a manager prepared to roll the dice, fans behind the team and a team never giving up, it turned out fine in the end - and of course everyone loves a last-minute winner!
Two home games in and for all the ups and downs, Portman Road feels a place to go and enjoy supporting the Blues once more. It's been a while.
No, it's far from perfect and there's a long way to go.
But we are in this moment, so let's enjoy it.
Town are fifth in the table and an unbeaten start to their league campaign. What will be, will be.
At least Ipswich fans feel they have their club back.
And that means alot.