Northstander: Please, please, I hope I’m wrong but as Private Frazer would say... ‘We’re doomed’!
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Northstander Terry Hunt would love nothing more than to be ridiculed at the end of the season over this column. But after Saturday’s defeat at Forest....
I’m writing this in the hope that I am ultimately proved to be hopelessly wrong.
In fact, nothing would please me more than being well and truly ridiculed at the end of the season.
Right, here goes...To steal a catchphrase from Private Frazer of Dad’s Army fame, “We’re doomed.”
Set the satnavs for Accrington, Rochdale, and a host of other glamorous League One grounds. Prepare for the glories of the FA Cup first round.
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I know, I know...We should all stay positive, and there are still shed loads of points to play for between now and May.
We also have a very experienced manager who clearly knows his way around the footballing world.
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But, honestly, can you see this squad turning it round? We are awful. Certainly the worst I have seen in half a century of supporting Town.
Probably the poorest since before 1957, when we last plied our trade in the third tier. So you have to be pretty, ahem, mature to remember a Town team this bad.
I said last week that we needed at least three points from Bristol City and Forest for the belief to be sustained. Well, I won’t reopen old wounds, but we all know what has happened. Two defeats, and the gap - vast chasm, actually - grows wider by the week. Can you see us getting anything at Stoke next weekend? Go on – be honest!
All of which sees us heading into the unknown territory which is League One. What will our Portman Road crowds be like? 10,000, maybe 12,000 for the “big” games. In a 30,000 capacity stadium. Now there’s something to look forward to!
Of course, the constant through the last decade and more is the owner, Marcus Evans.
He bought a team flying high in the Championship, with very real play-off aspirations. What he’s got now is an outfit which, bluntly, would probably finish mid-table in League One.
It has been a steady, sad decline, punctuated by a few highlights, such as McCarthy’s unlikely play-off season in 2014-15.
At the same time, the managerial swing door at Portman Road is revolving ever faster. Paul Lambert is the sixth manager in Evans’ 11 years at the club. None of them has achieved the ambition of Premier League football, but that would have been a miracle given the level of investment.
The truth is that, these days, football is pretty predictable: The more money you spend, the more success you have.
Sadly, the days are gone when soccer geniuses like Bobby Robson could upset the odds and take a “small” club like Ipswich to glory. Yes, I know “little” Leicester won the Premier League, but only after spending a lot of money.
Ultimately, what we’re suffering now is the almost inevitable result of Evans’ level of spending. And you know what? I think it’s understandable that he doesn’t put more money into the club than he already does. Frustrating, but understandable.
He is, of course, a very wealthy, very successful businessman. This year’s Sunday Times Rich List put the value of his business empire at £800 million. But that money isn’t sitting around waiting to be spent on Ipswich Town. It’s wrapped up in his companies. He is not a Russian billionaire, for example.
Will he invest in the January transfer window? He might try to – but which player worth his salt will happily pack his bags to come to a club which looks for all money to be doomed to relegation?
All of which leaves us in a right old muddle.
The only thing I can suggest is that we start again. Rebuild the club using our promising youngsters as the core of a new team. Always assuming that they haven’t been taken by the vultures who are no doubt circling round our stricken club!
Financially, relegation will make life even tougher. Revenues will be squeezed, and we will have to rely on ultra-clever work on the transfer market, along with developing our own kids.
Sad times. Frustrating times. Worrying times.
As I said, nothing would please me more than being proved wrong when May comes round. Unfortunately, I’m convinced that won’t happen.