It is almost impossible to feel optimistic about Ipswich Town Football Club after the owners have pilled up huge amounts of debt and settled the team into a mid-table Championship side, but I don’t believe it is time to give up hope.
During the years of underachievement fans were always given the same lines of “it will be better next season” or “we are just one or two players from being a top side”.
For a while it seemed like the majority of fans, including myself, bought into those ideas and were always optimistic about the future of the club. However over the last ten years we have seen a series of bad managerial appointments and even worse signings that the club are now starting to pay for in more ways than one.
Naturally the majority of fans that were optimistic about the future of the club are now extremely pessimistic about the chances of things improving. The shift in the supporters mindset can be seen in the form of dropping attendances in more recent years.
When the club was managed by Roy Keane and then Paul Jewell there was still a reasonable amount of positivity floating around even though the results were a lot worse than they are now. Due to the disappointment of that era I think that fans are now a lot more negative about the future of the club even though things are slowly improving.
At the risk of sounding naive, I do believe that the Tractor Boys are now finally heading in the right direction under Mick McCarthy. The term ‘more money than sense’ springs to mind when I think back to when Marcus Evans first bought Ipswich but that can’t be said now.
Mick McCarthy may not be a modern day football manager but for all the criticisms you can aim at him he does have a lot of common sense and organisational abilities that have stabilised the club.
Although it was never confirmed it seems extremely likely that Mick McCarthy was the one who forced Simon Clegg out of the club, which for me was the first sign that common sense was starting to return to Portman Road.
It might appear to be a bit of a crude argument to say that common sense will be enough to get Ipswich moving in the right direction but so many clubs now are run by incompetent owners with neither money nor sense. The Suffolk side have appointed a sturdy manager and have stopped over spending whereas other Championship sides are struggling to appoint a manager that will last even one full season.
The team no longer have the big names or Premier League experience that they once had in the form of signings like Ivan Campo or Jimmy Bullard but instead they are a tight unit of average players that are well organised and managed.
It is hard to see the bigger picture when you see the team get out classed by others like Leicester and it is also difficult to build up optimism after so many years of under achievement. I wouldn’t go as far to say that the current squad are good enough to get promoted but I am certain that Ipswich will improve under McCarthy as he continues to separate the wheat from the chaff and build a strong unit.