Bacon's Bites: Town fans know they have no divine right – just make us feel proud again!
© Copyright Stephen Waller
As the new season kicks off, Mike Bacon calls on Paul Hurst and his players to bring back the feel-good factor to Portman Road.
We are quite easy-going folk here in Suffolk.
A stroll along the prom at Felixstowe, fish and chips at Aldeburgh, a night at the Wolsey, shopping in Bury St Edmunds.
We don’t demand the earth, a relaxed way of living, ‘Sleepy Suffolk’ – if that’s what you want to call it... And, right up there, among the coastline, piers, countryside walks and idyllic settings, we want a football team to be proud of.
Ipswich Town FC. Our team, our community, always has been, always will be.
Oh, yes we know we’ve been lucky.
Two (of now three) of England’s most successful-ever managers cut their teeth at Portman Road. The Blues have been feared throughout Europe and in England’s domestic leagues. We’ve enjoyed a couple of spells eating from the ‘top table’ in the Premier League. And we rarely looked out of place.
OK, we know times change, many things change. Money talks.
Foreign billionaire owners, huge TV deals. If you are not invited to the party, it’s tough... And can be lonely.
So, Ipswich Town fans, like many fans throughout the land, whose teams are not blessed with £200k a week players, Champions League football or Match of the Day highlights, look for the little things to make their football ‘fix’ worthwhile.
We know there is no divine right to be the very best.
We know there is no divine right to thrash teams week in, week out.
We know there is no divine right to be in the play-offs each season.
But Town fans do think it is not asking too much to enjoy a little Cup run, League or FA, once in a while, not as is currently, once in a Blue Moon.
They do think it is not too much to ask to beat their fiercest local rivals Norwich City on the odd occasion! We always used to!
I know, old chestnuts.
But don’t you believe for a second that Town fans aren’t fed up and embarrassed with these two well-worn scenarios playing out year after year in recent times.
It’s not asking the earth, is it?
n Paul Hurst’s new broom has a brand new brush and looks like it may well work hard.
A new manager deserves time to get things right, and Ipswich Town fans, so disgracefully ridiculed in recent years by the previous manager, are some of the very best in the country when it comes to getting behind their man. We are a community club and we enjoy good football.
Exciting football would be good. Then again every fan says that!
OK, you can’t go gung-ho everywhere, but you can have a style, whether it is with wingers or passing through the midfield.
Ooops, there I go again, sounding like a fan who pretends to know about football!
Then again, if you seriously, seriously think I don’t know football from hoofball...
Remember, like the vast majority of Town fans, I’ve been brought up on proper football at Portman Road! We know the difference. We don’t have had to been ex-professionals.
And no, we don’t live in the past. We are realistic. We understand much about the modern game, from ice baths to big-bucks contracts. But at the end of the day... It’s still football.
n So, fast forward to May 2019 and what will I and Town fans have wanted from their Super Blues?
Well, 100% effort each and every game is a must, but I think it’s fair to say the vast majority of Town players over the years have always given that.
Attractive football, maybe a play-off place – but maybe, just maybe, that’s being greedy right now.
An FA Cup run of any sort would be a delight/surprise and that long-awaited victory over our ‘friends’ up the A140 would make Hurst an overnight success! We are so fickle!
But Ipswich Town is our club.
You can change the manager, and players can come and go like a revolving door. But we’ll still be here.
And we will still be here long after the present boss and his squad have departed.
All we ask is that when you pull on that blue and white shirt – a shirt that has been graced by some superb international players over the years – make us all part of the team, wear it with pride.
We all dream big, but if you can’t, why bother?
Play-offs, FA Cup, League Cup, derby victories... Ipswich Town won’t do it all and fans don’t expect them to.
Just make us proud again.