Mike Bacon: Oh, what have we done to deserve this?
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
It was the Pet Shop Boys who sung, 'What have I done to deserve this?'
Oh, my goodness. Could you make this up? What have we done to deserve this?
I'll tell you something. Ipswich Town fans are some of the most resilient out there if you think of what we've had to put up with over the last 10 years or more. We all so hoped it was going to change in the blink of an eye. Never mind.
Some say our history is a burden to the current. The shackles of it all. I just thank goodness we have a history to wallow in because, without it, I think our club would be history itself by now, the alarming rate we've capitulated over the last decade.
Sometimes I think it's only the past that keeps some of us going.
It's hard to find words. It really is.
What on earth our owners across the Pond are making of it all, I can't imagine. Please don't tell me they expected us to be totally winless by the time we are almost in October. Please don't tell me they expected us to be in the League One relegation zone six games in.
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Paul Cook says we're a soft touch. He's right. At least he's also admitting the 'gel' word is wearing thin.
We've gone from being a dull, hard-to-beat McCarthy side, to an expansive, exciting one with a soft underbelly under Cook. What went on in between isn't worth talking about.
What would I prefer? Well, neither of the above to be quite frank. Too many McCarthy games have long vanished in the mists of time as total bore fests, while today, admittedly we're on the edge of our seats much of the time, but too often with our heads in our hands.
Is it too much to ask to have an exciting team who can mix flair with dogged determination and aggression? Cook flair, with the McCarthy mantra, if you like.
Of course Cook should stay. He's just brought in about 3,000 players. Can you imagine the carnage at Portman Road if a new man arrives next month and decides he doesn't like 2,995 of them?
My only (and starting to become final) hope, is that Sam Morsy and Bersant Celina come into the starting XI next month and hit the ground running. I genuinely believe that will be the time we can truly say, this is it. Let's see what we've got.
I'm not suggesting the pair of them will cause us to go 14 unbeaten. But if they can be the crucial pieces in what, let's be honest, is a decent squad, then I'm all for giving it time.
But time is not a key word in football in 2021. The days of Sir Bobby Robson, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson getting years and years to build their most successful of clubs are long gone.
If a manager gets two years in the hot seat these days he can consider himself lucky.
I like Paul Cook. I liked him when he arrived and I like him now. I just hope he's not too stubborn to address issues on and off the pitch with his playing and coaching staff, if he knows in his heart things aren't right. But that's his call.
As for me, you and all Town fans.
As, I said, I don't know what we've done to deserve this. But I'm still confident (although not as confident as I was on August 1), that things will not only get better, but have every chance of getting better at a rate of knots when something, somewhere clicks. But the team is treading a very fine line here between fans' patience and frustration.
So, to one final thing and sadly, I have to say this.
As a club, our disrespect to cup competitions in recent years, I'm sorry, is an embarrassment. Not fielding strong sides in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup or EFL Trophy has got us nowhere and caused angst and fury among paying supporters.
We are sick of it.
The excuse that promotion is everything, so we need to get out of these cups ASAP to aid our aim, has proved not to be justified. We've continued to get knocked-out of cup competitions apace in recent decades. We haven't been promoted for more than 20 years! (We have been relegated twice!)
So, with a bloated squad this season, and a 'new era' upon us, we could have afforded to have put out strong sides to try and beat both Newport in the Carabao Cup and West Ham U21s in the EFL Trophy. We failed to do so. And the pressure mounts. The club and management have brought it on themselves.
And, who knows? We might have just picked up a bit of confidence and momentum on the pitch into the bargain had we won one or both of them. We'll never know.
I expect us to go very strong when the FA Cup first round comes round (how I hate saying FA Cup, first round and Ipswich Town in the same breath), later this year.
And I don't give a diddly squat where we are in the table at the time.
Please let us beat Lincoln!