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Mike Bacon on the Blues: Our kids are not kids anymore – time to nail those shirts!

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 September 2020 | UPDATED: 19:30 10 September 2020

Ipswich Town have already played four competitive games in front of empty stands. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town have already played four competitive games in front of empty stands. Photo: Steve Waller

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Mike Bacon takes a look at our pre-season hopes. And says it’s time for the young guns to really break through...

Luke Chambers is congratulated by Teddy Bishop, Alan Judge and Toto Nsiala after his header put Ipswich Town 2-0 up against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Steve WallerLuke Chambers is congratulated by Teddy Bishop, Alan Judge and Toto Nsiala after his header put Ipswich Town 2-0 up against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Steve Waller

It’s 20 years since Town began, what was to prove, one of their most exciting seasons ever - the 2000/01 campaign, which saw the team finish fifth in the Premier League table, the wonderful Marcus Stewart topping our goalcharts with 21 league goals.

Halcyon days, wonderful times.

Of course, as we all know, it didn’t last.

Relegated the season after, it’s been a steady decline since, to where we are now in 2020 - a mid-table League One outfit.

And yet we live in hope, especially at the start of a new campaign. It’s what football fans do. The hope that this is going to be their team’s year.

For us Ipswich Town fans, hope that surely, please, this season, things will get better.

Paul Lambert - a little less tinkering this season?Paul Lambert - a little less tinkering this season?

The tide has got to turn, hasn’t it?

The trouble is, do any of us Blues fans, seriously have any idea what is likely to happen to the fortunes of our team in League One this season?

In all honesty, no!

MORE: ‘Quietly optimistic’ hopes Wigan will face Town on Sunday

Because if you take away those who think we will get 100 points and 100 goals, or those who think relegation to League Two is a certainty, the truth of the matter is, Paul Lambert’s side are as capable of finishing top, top six, middle of the table or in the bottom six - simple as that.

How many fans can say that about their club at the start of each season - not many, I’ll wager.

And that’s the crux with the Blues.

Which squad of players is going to turn up this season? The one with all the techically gifted youngsters and experienced senior players that is capable of shooting us back into the Championship? Or the haphazard group of players who fail to kill games off, make basic mistakes and throw away silly points?

I just hope this season is the time the likes of Teddy Bishop, Andre Dozzell, Myles Kenlock, Luke Woolfenden and hopefully Flynn Downes (although his head has been turned and I can’t see it being turned back), really come to the party. And I mean, REALLY, come to to the party.

These lads - good players - are not kids anymore.

Blocking out the critics: Luke Chambers celebrates his goal against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Steve WallerBlocking out the critics: Luke Chambers celebrates his goal against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Steve Waller

If they can steer clear of injury, they have the ability to grab a game by the scruff of its neck. It’s clear their guile and quality has the ability to unlock defences, create chances and win games and with Freddie Sears already finding the back of the net, who knows? Hopefully Kayden Jackson and James Norwood will both stay.

MORE: Which keeper should start against Wigan

Maybe this will also be a breakthrough year for the exciting Armando Dobra, Idris El Mizouni or Jack Lankester?

One important question is, will we see Kane Vincent-Young back soon?

James Norwood volleys in a late shot towards goal, but his effort cannoned off Tolaji Bola in the game against Arsenal U21s
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comJames Norwood volleys in a late shot towards goal, but his effort cannoned off Tolaji Bola in the game against Arsenal U21s Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

If so, what a boost that would be.

Lambert has already said there will not be so much tinkering this season and the shirts are for players to lose. I hope he sticks by those words. They are easy to trot out.

Our win over Bristol Rovers was a tonic, the defeat to Arsenal’s kids shouldn’t even be bothered with.

I find it a bit of an insult that teams with smaller squads who have so much to play for in their own league, have to play basically Premier League second/third strings just to fulfil a tournament.

The quicker the EFL Trophy is put on the scrapheap, the better.

If Premier League teams want 50-man squads and go around gobbling up all the young talent from lesser clubs’ academies, that’s their business. They should just play each other each season - 10 times!

Fans back in the stadium in the form of cardboard cutouts ahead of the EFL trophy game against Arsenal U21's.
    Hopefully real fans will be back cheering Town onto a successful season. Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comFans back in the stadium in the form of cardboard cutouts ahead of the EFL trophy game against Arsenal U21's. Hopefully real fans will be back cheering Town onto a successful season. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

MORE: Lambert on Bishop’s encouraging start

So, there we go.

Optimistic? Worried? Confident? Apprehensive? Fearful? Excited? Anxious?

I’m a mixture of the lot to be honest as we take on Wigan on Sunday in our opening league clash.

20 years on from that famous Premier League season, wouldn’t it be fitting if Town could do something similar again?

OK, so we aren’t going to be back in the Premier League anytime soon.

But a promotion back to the Championship would be wonderful.

Just something to put a smile on Town fans’ faces.

We’ve all waited long enough.

COME ON THE BLUES AND GOOD LUCK FOR THE SEASON AHEAD


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