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Stuart Watson: A new celebration gimmick – but was there really that much noise to block out?

PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 September 2020

'Blocking out the noise': Luke Chambers and Teddy Biship (inset) celebrate IpswichTown goals. Photos: Steve Waller

'Blocking out the noise': Luke Chambers and Teddy Biship (inset) celebrate IpswichTown goals. Photos: Steve Waller

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Teddy Bishop became the latest Ipswich Town player to celebrate a goal by ‘blocking out the noise’. STUART WATSON tries to make sense of what it means.

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers puts his fingers in his ears after scoring against Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup. Photo: Steve WallerIpswich Town skipper Luke Chambers puts his fingers in his ears after scoring against Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup. Photo: Steve Waller

Fingers in ears to ‘block out the noise’, fingers on lips to ‘shut up the critics’.

First Luke Chambers, then Toto Nsiala, now Teddy Bishop. Yep, it looks like we’ve officially got our new Ipswich Town celebration gimmick.

What a difference a year makes.

In the early stages of last season, we saw the team all stood in a line, holding hands, acknowledging the supporters post victory as if it were the end of a stage show.

Silencing the critics? Teddy Bishop with his fingers in his ears after scoring in Saturday's 2-0 home win against Rochdale. Photo: Steve WallerSilencing the critics? Teddy Bishop with his fingers in his ears after scoring in Saturday's 2-0 home win against Rochdale. Photo: Steve Waller

That ‘we’re all in this together’ visual concept was one that Paul Lambert came up with. It was something he took from his love of German football. It was part of a wider strategy to further get a previously fractured, frustrated and fed-up fan base back on side.

Not all the players looked comfortable doing it. Some outsiders took it as an act of arrogance so early in the campaign. Indeed, Fleetwood boss Joey Barton questioned whether such a gesture was built ‘on solid foundations’ (words he later admitted to being designed to ‘test the boundaries of Ipswich’s psychology’).

Barton was, of course, ultimately proved to be correct. Nevertheless, there was logic behind the idea. It was important that Lambert came up with a new rhetoric to replace Mick McCarthy’s previous assertion that you were ‘either inside the building and peeing out, or outside and peeing in’.

Now, oddly, it appears we’ve gone full circle. The siege mentality appears to have returned.

Whether it’s emanated from the manager or the players is not entirely clear.

Back in January, Lambert said cryptically ‘I know there are some people who want us to fail’. After this weekend’s 2-0 win against Rochdale he said, without any kind of prompt, that ‘you guys will write what you want to write’ (which was strange given the coverage has been universally positive thus far).

Chambers, who has kept a very low public profile since the restart, has discussed ‘a hell of a lot of nonsense that gets written and said’ and used the phrase ‘more love, less hate’ on social media.

MORE: ‘I want to shut a few people up’ - Nsiala on his journey back to the Town first team

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers says 'a lot of nonsense has been said and written'. Photo: Steve WallerIpswich Town captain Luke Chambers says 'a lot of nonsense has been said and written'. Photo: Steve Waller

Quite who this is all aimed at is pretty ambiguous too.

Is it a message purely for the media? Or is it designed for sections of the supporters? I’d imagine it’s a mixture of both. Either way, it’s not a great look.

Ipswich Town recently finished 11th in the third-tier, the clubs’s lowest end position since 1953. Of course there was going to be some criticism. Suck it up.

It must be tiresome being constantly picked to pieces by people who have never done your job. I get that. But it is also, as well-paid professional sportsmen, part of the gig.

They are certainly not alone. This column will be publicly critiqued. Tradespeople get customers critique their work. Many jobs include some sort of outside feedback. Some of it is fair, some of it not. None of us stick our fingers in our ears as a response though.

MORE: ‘There’s a lot of nonsense written and said... it’s water off a duck’s back’ - Chambers blocking out the noise

Who are we talking about making this ‘noise’ anyway? A regional newspaper, BBC Suffolk, the TWTD forum, social media users and the actual crowd in attendance (ah, the good old days).

Was any of the criticism that came out of those limited portals really deafening? Did it really over-step the mark? Or was it mainly just honest attempts at analysing how a grand old club had fallen, the over-riding tone being that of sadness and frustration rather than outright rage.

Thsi was Ipswich Town's more inclusive celebration gimmick at the start of last season. Photo: PagepixThsi was Ipswich Town's more inclusive celebration gimmick at the start of last season. Photo: Pagepix

That noise would have been a hell of a lot louder at other clubs up and down the land that’s for sure. Lambert played for Celtic and managed Aston Villa. This is sleepy Suffolk by comparison. He should know that and he should be telling his players as much.

Let’s not have short memories here. This team was clapped and serenaded all the way to relegation. Now nine thousand of those fans, despite all the false dawns and disappointments, have forked out for a season ticket they can’t actually use.

MORE: Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 2-0 home win against Rochdale

Nsiala and Chambers have come in for their fair share of criticism, sure. But what on earth is Bishop blocking out? The general consensus on him has been ‘fabulous player, shame he’s had so many injuries’. There’s been nothing but goodwill there. That’s appears evidence this is a squad discussed concept.

Maybe they all watched the Netflix smash documentary ‘The Last Dance’ over lockdown and saw how Michael Jordan fully fabricated slights against him to constantly stay fully fired up.

Players have to find whatever pushes their buttons. If it works, and the wins keep rolling in, then everyone’s a winner.

‘Them and us’ is a dangerous game to play though.

Toto Nsiala has said he wants to 'shut a few people up' this season. Photo: Steve WallerToto Nsiala has said he wants to 'shut a few people up' this season. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert proclaimed 'I know some people want us to fail' earlier this year. Photo: Steve WallerIpswich Town manager Paul Lambert proclaimed 'I know some people want us to fail' earlier this year. Photo: Steve Waller


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