Sunday, 9 December 2007

BBC Honours Our Bobby

Congratulations to Sir Bobby Robson who was given the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 'Life-Time Achievement' Award.

Sir Bobby made a moving 10 minute speech tonight after receiving the award - with specific mention to his old club Ipswich Town.

David Sheepshanks and Jim Magilton were there to support the ex-manager and the EADT have released their report on the event.

Congratulations to Sir Bobby, who I have grown up admiring as a figure well loved and respected not only at Portman Road but throughout the world of football.

There's only one Mattie Holland...

I have wanted to go to the Valley for years... four years to be precise... because that was when my favourite ever player moved there - Matt Holland

As one of the Chamionship to Premiership 'yo-yo teams' I have always respected Charlton Athletic and had been looking forward to travelling to South London for a long time.

Not just to see my Mattie!

An appalling first half was partly made up for by a passionate second half performance, as this report from the Website describes, with a contender for the goal of the season from Counago!

But yesterday my high opinion of our hosts was severely damaged by the dirty tactics used by their players. I'm sure it sounds like sour grapes but the red card awarded for an foul after the final whistle proves my point.

Jonathan Fortune was sent off for punching Alan Lee to the ground just seconds after the five minute injury time had come to an end.

The incident has been only vaguley described by reports today but if you ask me he should have been forced to take an early bath long before the fight broke out.

Fortune had conceded a free kick for pulling Lee down just outside the area, the result of a number of nasty fouls on our striker - which continued until the end.

There was time wasting from every Charlton player, frustrating when Ipswich were trying to maintain the momentum they had build up following the Pablo goal.

And then there's Danny Mills....

Foul after unsportsmanly foul on Jonathan Walters who spend most of the second half with a bandage round his head, fighting off the bullying of Mills.

After a particularly bad foul on Walters he refused for at least five minutes to answer the referee's request that he join him.

Even once he did listen to the official he refused to take his punishment - wasting more precious time.

I cant understand why football clubs employ such awful players - he is hardly a role model to young footballers, is he? And not someone that I would want associated with my family.

Lucky then that Charlton had Mattie Holland to make up for it.

As the teams entered the pitch my heart skipped a beat when i saw him for the first time since Richard Naylor's testimonial.

During the warm up he walked over to our half to shake hands with old colleague Jim Magilton, and when the squads were read out he recieved a huge appluase from the 3,000 Ipswich fans.

Best of all was the respect he showed the away fans at the end of the match.

My Dad and I have long considered Holland's lap of honour at Portman Road a beloved tradition... so to recieve that honour again yesterday, I dont mind admitting, brought tears to my eyes - just as it had the last time he did it at Derby County.

Matt has kept up his relationship with the Tractor Boys, often travelling to Suffolk to watch games and even picking us as his promotion favourites - along with Chalrton of course!

When he came out of the ground over an hour after full time he was so friendly and welcoming to the waiting Town fans.

He asked us if we'd had a nice day, said he was sorry the result wasn't better for us and chatted away about how pleased he was to be playing again after his knee injury.

What an asset to any club he goes to.

And I swear that as we were asking him if he'll ever come back to us... there was the tiniest hint of a twinkle in his eye!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Good Night Southampton

Attending evening matches has got to be my favourite past time, the atmosphere is something truly special.

Like going on a school trip or waking up on Christmas morning, you know its not something you get to do every day and so you treasure it.

Saturday's attract a much larger crowd and so on a Tuesday you get the feeling that those who have made it have made an extra special effort. Like at away matches you feel like you are an extra specially committed to the boys for attending.

Two years ago Ipswich faced Southampton in an evening game that ended 2:2, a result which just won't be enough tonight according to Alan Lee.

He told the EADT that the failure to pick up more points away means that we MUST continue to achieve maximum points when playing at home: 'By seeing of Southampton and then Barnsley on Saturday we will be right back up there again'.

Winning at home makes us real contenders for promotion, without that we might be closer to our friends in Naaaaaarwich. I fear that the pressure from this may have become as huge as the desire to start winning away.

Can we handle the pressure?

The return of Gavin Williams on Saturday was very welcome but he is unlikely to be playing tomorrow. He feels that two games in four days may be too much at the moment and Jim doesn't want to risk aggravating the injury.

My man Jonnie Walters looks set to miss the game aswell due to a groin injury.

Other than that the squad looks good, which is more than can be said for Southampton.

Former Town manager George Burley is without seven of his main players, meaning they will field a 'make-shift' defence.

Town have scored the most goals at home, Southampton have conceded the most away from home and with the added bonus of putting a few past ex-tractor boy Kelvin Davis, surely the players can't miss...

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Need a bit of Magic

If you'd have been a fly-on-the-wall of my SU bar on Wednesday night you would have heard me declaring that the story would be entirely different if Jim Magilton were England manager.

Magic would not have kept De Vos out of the team, he would not have played Garvan if his previous performances had been bad and he would not have given Andrew Plummer a place if Supple was available...

Our Jim would not have settled for that first half performance, he'd have screamed and shouted and thrown some boots at their heads to get a result.

Turns out he and Steve McClaren have more in common than I would like to admit. Yesterday's performance in Cardiff was disappointing and though we improved in the second half we just couldn't pull out a goal.

Remind you of Wednesday night anyone??

Now I am in no way starting a man-hunt to get Magilton sacked - he's our greatest asset, I believe - but his interview following the match was as vague and full of cliches as McClaren had given on Thursday.

He may be becoming tired of answering questions about our away performance, but until there's an answer those questions won't stop: 'You sit here and I will ask you, because I have no idea.'(Derek Davis quotes Jim in the EADT)

Fair point Jim, no-one understands your frustration more than us - but it is not our job to sort this little problem out.

20 second highlights

Having been featured on the Championship two weekends ago it was sad to see us reduced this morning to just 20 seconds. Sadly that may have been all that was necessary.

Alan Lee hit the bar and the post in one shot twenty seconds after kick-off and Tommy Miller had a shot cleared off the line.

As unlucky as these were, no other chances materialised.

It's hard to believe we put six past Bristol just two weeks ago.

One thing got to me - Jim told the website 'We did not have enough leaders on the park. We cannot rely on Jason De Vos for that'.

The best leader other than Jase, and Alexander whose rants from goal have made me giggle, is Sylvain Legwinski.

But Leggi remained on the bench and the team remained unorganised.

Even McClaren figured out he needed the passion of David Beckham, maybe Jim should have taken note.

Saying that it made little difference in the end on Wednesday!

So Jim I will not for one second criticise your puzzlement on this issue as I have no idea what you should do either.

But please think of something quick before the Naaarwich catch up with us.

Friday, 16 November 2007

International Blues

The sports pages have been full this week of statistics on foreign players in the English Football league.

Arsenal, a team who used to be known for its youth training, fielded a completely non-english squad. Seeing as they are top of the Premiership it is a telling statistic of the direction in which the league is moving.

I had always believed that Ipswich, with their famous youth training academy, were an example to all with their home grown talent - Kieron Dyer, Richard Wright, Titus Bramble and Darren Bent have all done us proud (to some extent!).

But when I thought more about it I realised that our starting team actually contains a majority of non-English players:

Neil Alexander: Scottish
Tony Wright: English
Alex Bruce: English
Jason De Vos: Canadian
Dan Harding: English
Jonathan Walters: English
Tommy Miller: English
Owen Garvan: Irish
Billy Clarke: Irish
Alan Lee: Irish
Pablo Counago: Spanish

(N.B. English player Bruce has been called up for the Irish squad and Walters has been linked to the country's B team!)

6 out of 11 foreigners in the first team - and when Wilnis and Legwinski play that can go up to 8.

But is that a bad thing? Counago, De Vos, Alexander and Lee are all from foreign shores but Town's story this season may have been completely different without them.

So I say thanks to the Spanish for giving us Pablo and I raise my glass to the Canadians for Jason.

What difference does a player's nationality make if that player is passionate and committed to his team?

As for the worry that these international players will overshadow our own talent - perhaps the English should develop the mentality that a little competition never did anyone any harm and maybe it could even improve us.

So I say all for one and one for all - unless you are from Naaaarfalk!!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Walters Wonderland

My favourite Tractor Boy, Jonathan Walters, has been tipped for International football after hitting his first ever hat trick on Saturday, in another thrilling game at Portman Road.

When I was travelling back to East Anglia on a train full of grumpy commuters I began to wonder if I'd chosen the best game to come home to.

Bristol have had an impressive season so far and have the record of never having lost when they have scored the first goal. With our shaky defence I was concerned by this statistic.

But five minutes in and the nerves had worn off, Johnnie had scored and less than a minute later Pablo had an almost identical shot go just wide of the post. I started to believe we might be ok.

On the fifteenth minute a goal from unexpected source David Wright set us 2:0 up. Walters and Wright had created some clever moves on the right hand side, much to the crowd's pleasure, and the defender deserved to get on the scoreboard for his part so far.

Fifteen minutes from half time Jim Magilton substituted Alan Lee for Danny Haynes. Lee had controlled the Bristol defence until this point and I was a little concerned by his early exit - especially as Haynes seemed to look somewhat lost in the fast paced game.

Lee was suffering from a knock to his Achilles but has declared he should be fit for our next game in 10 days time.

The second half flew by in a flurry of goals, I almost didn't dare close my eyes in case the world had changed when I opened them again!

Walters, of course, added twice to the score and Pablo and Miller were the others on target.

Despite Johnnie's hat trick I believe that the best man on the field was Pablo Counago. As my Dad has said after every game, 'Chamionship defenders just don't know how to handle him', he's got skill, speed and an imagination that ties them in knots.

How wonderful is it to not have to worry about loosing him in the transfer window to raise funds for the club?

By the end of the game the 20,000 fans were singing 'We want 7...!'

How about at Cardiff next Saturday??!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Wish I was there

My sympathies go out to those people who are, for whatever reason, unable to travel to Town matches. Yesterday I became an 'Armchair fan' for the most important game of the season and it was torture!

I was so nervous I was jumping around and punching anything within arms reach which is not a good idea when the closest thing to you is your wonderful boyfriend who has given up his Sunday afternoon to watch a football game for you. (I'm sorry if I bruised you baby!)

It was however nice to hear the commentators raving about a game that was, genuinely, really enjoyable to watch. There was some nice attacking football and so much passion from both teams.

Pablo Counago was our star player yesterday - even though his habit of falling over in and around the penalty area was again made clear! His assistance for Alan Lee's goal was pure class, holding the ball up for Lee and he caused their defence no end of problems.

It was nice to see him rewarded with a derby goal. Replays showed that the ball should have been given for a goal-kick but these things happen, especially when Rob Styles is refereeing!

Our exciting attacking play was overshadowed somewhat by the shakey defence. It should have been easy enough to pick Dion Dublin out as a the main threat so I was gobsmacked when he came close to scoring no less than FOUR times.

Equally, as Sky said - when a player is given a job for defending corners he should fulfill that, not just stand there whilst the player he is meant to be marking nips in front and puts the ball in the back of the net.

As such their first goal was scored and Alan Lee was the man to blame. My Dad reckons that the corner in quesiton should not have been a corner. As my whole world had come to an abrupt halt at that moment in time I am unable to confirm or deny this claim. If he is correct - which he normally is- I would suggest it was a case of swings and roundabouts.

Kudos to Alexander though who made save after incredible save to keep us in the game AGAIN.

Derby day results are so hard to predict, the normal rules of football just don't apply. Each team will relish the point earned, with ours returning us to fourth place and their's moving them a little closer to the rest of the relegation strugglers.

Now we can get back to concentrating on the Championship and focusing on tomorrow night's game against Sheffield United. Even my Kev, a lifelong Blade, reckons we are set to win that.

Could this finally be our first away win?

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Ten in a row, fourth in the league!

Town's defeat of Wolves on Saturday was quite honestly the best game of the season so far.

Three wonderfully taken goals and a clean sheet summed up perfectly an afternoon which saw us climb to fourth in the Championship.

Wolves could have taken the game in the first five minutes when a penalty was awarded for a foul by Neil Alexander.

Alexander told the East Anglian Daily Times: 'I had to go for the ball and I did touch the lad, so i didn't have any complaints over the penalty'.

Wolves' failure to convert the penalty gave The Blues a confidence boost - just as it had when Colchester made the same mistake. Whilst Wolves had played some nice football for the first half hour, Town were finally able to take control of the game.

Alan Lee looked to have taken the ball too far into the box but slotted it past the keeper calmly. The goal was timed perfectly by allowing Town to go into the break 1:0 up.

He later told BBC Suffolk that he believed the team should now be looking to move to second in the table. A little ambitiuos for my liking but aim for the stars and you'll reach the sky I guess!

Pablo also looked to have taken the ball too far on his own with Clarke to his left providing a more than viable option for a pass. But cleverly, if a little arrogantly, he side stepped two defenders and the keeper to put Town 2:0 up.

Jim Magilton told the Ipswich Town website: 'Alan's goal was a terrific finish and the first goal was always going to be crucial. Pablo showed great strength to get the second and that gave us the breathing space we needed'.

Haynes showed a touch of class too - so much so that his goal was featured in the early highlights of the Championship on Sunday morning!

Being the kind person that I am I will not mention the league position of our friends in Naaarfalk - I guess it must be hard enough for them, wayching us from such a long way behind!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Legwinksi goal should have ended away day blues

Sylvain Legwinski showed his team mates how it's done with the best strike of the game to put Ipswich Town ahead on 53 minutes.

His pinpoint volley from a Garvan throw in slipped inside the top right hand corner of the QPR goal and we really thought our poor away record had come to an end.

The first half had been a poor show from the Tractor Boys, QPR prevented us from playing our best passing game and no clearcut chances were created. Magilton moved himself from the dugout, to jump around at the edge of the technical box. I was glad I wasn't in the changing room at half time.

The second half saw much better football but a number of well created chances went without the end result of a goal. The play did eventually lead to the Legwinski goal, though.

The QPR goal seemed to come from nowhere; against the run of play, Nygaard had made his way through our defence and finished well. De Vos and co. looked gutted and angry with the officials, though I'm still not entirely sure why!

Town would have deserved three points had they taken advantage of the huge number of chances that came up.

Lee found the ball just a little out of reach on a couple of occasions, De Vos rose above the QPR defence to see his header go inches wide of the post, and Clarke pleaded to the heavens as shot after shot was too high, too low, or just completely miss hit.

Danny Haynes brought a new energy to the front line after he swapped places with Clarke on 80 minutes. A beautiful cross form Gary Roberts found Haynes but the striker couldn't get enough power on the ball to see it past the QPR keeper.

The mood of the Town fans after the game might have suggested we had been defeated, but a draw just did not seem enough. The disappointment was briefly lifted with the news of another home defeat for Naaaarwich and thoughts were turned to the derby in two weeks.

The coming week sees two home matches, against Colchester and Wolves, and there is a small hope that we will be 6 points better off afterwards. But thoughts are already turning to the local derby.

The one thing that got me through yesterday was the possiblity that our first away win of the season could be Carrow Road... dare i jinx it?!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Should we be getting our hopes up?

Queens Park Rangers are bottom of the league and Town are looking for their first away win of the season... maybe just maybe this will be the turning point for our boys in the road.

Captain Jason De Vos has overcome a knee injury, Tommy Miller will play his 150th game for Town and fellow midfielder Sylvain Legwinski is expected to return to the team as a result of his good performance against Burnley.

Add to that the fact that our last visit to Shepherd's Bush provided us with the first away win of the season, many would back us for a win.

Jim Magilton has spoken of his belief in our ability to move into the play-off positions within the next few games.

Mathematically we could do so next Saturday with a win at Loftus Road and a continuation of our home form against Colchester and Wolves.

But you know town, they like to do things the hard way and I for one am determined to remain pessimistic, I REALLY don't want to jinx us this year.

As Jim said 'I dream about us being in the top six, I wouldn't be happy if my players were dreaming about it, but I allow myself to'.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Home form continues without me!

'Easier than the score suggests' my Dad said to me after the game.
His opinion has been reflected across the media, another fantastic home performance:
Ipswich Town: 2, Preston North End: 1.
The EADT's Derek Davis complimented no less than eight players during his report, a good sign that the team is playing well together.
Most notably all of our attacking players have been complimented by boss, Jim Magilton.
The boss was pleased Lee has added to his goal run, with a headed goal from about a foot off the floor!
He feels Pablo Umbongo's (nickname awarded by my boyfriend who kindly endured the Palace match with me!) skill is causing trouble for defences across the league.
Unfortunately the striker has been warned for 'card waving', but I believe this is a trait which alot of fans find endearing, not least amusing.
My man Walters has been singled out again as having a big impact on the game. One to watch that one.
And it is good to see Billy Clarke not only getting on the first team, but being a key player in the majority of our moves.
As for their penalty: seems a shame to have lost a clean sheet for a foul that nobody seem to be able to pinpoint - Was it Wright, was it Alexander, was it a slightly long blade of grass that tripped him up???
I only wish I had been there to see it... a sentiment I'm sure is reflected by the people who left huge gaps in the usually packed North Stand.
Looking forward to visiting Loftus Road in 10 days, perhaps a chance to improve on that away record?
Although for keeping Naaaarwich in the relegation zone I almost feel like letting them have a point anyway!
My friend Ibs was at the match, his blog has had me thoroughly amused for the last ten minutes and will do so for days. Although I must apologise for his mispelling of Naaaaarwich.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

No comment...

Due to the dismal performance yesterday I will be unable to comment on the disappointing result against Hull City. At least until I have figured out how to put my anger into words that I am allowed to publish...!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Tigers look forward to 'attractive football'.

Hull City manager Phil Brown, has told his team to expect an attractive game of football from Ipswich Town today.
The Tigers will enter the game with a degree of confidence following a good performance against Chelsea during the week, despite loosing 4-0.
Dean Windass will return after a two game absence due to injury. The forward scored twice against us when we played there last year.
Although I should add we did win that game 5-2!
However, Town's superb result against Coventry along with the burning desire to improve our away record should lead to an equal level of confidence in our camp.
Defender David Wright is a possible doubt, with an infected blister on his heel - ew!!
I'm always worried when we have to change the defence around because I feel consistency is important for them.
On a lighter note Danny Haynes will be back, so he can put pressure on their defence with his speed.
Jim Magilton seems to disagree with my worries about the changed kick off time though: He told the club website; 'we will be prepared correctly as we always are and will deal with the start time in a professional manner'. Good to know Jim!
Good luck to the boys, and of course to those of you who got up in the early hours of this morning to travel up north... wish I was there...!!!

Friday, 28 September 2007

Delia's a Muppet...

Just had this short video e-mailed to me from YouTube. It tickled me greatly!
As an Ipswich Town fan I can't sympathise enough with asking why I put myself through the pain and frustration that we experience.
But then I wouldn't be totally opposed to The Canaries being frustrated for a little while longer...!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Loosing the faith?

The attendance for Ipswich Town's impressive victory over Coventry was just 18,840, the lowest since March 2000 - when the stadium had a vastly smaller capacity.
As a season ticket holder, my pet peeve was the 'part-timers' that graced us with their presence for Town's bigger matches.
Unfortunately travelling up from London has proved to be too expensive on a student budget, so I am joining the ranks of my least favourite people.
However, I am beginning to understand the idea of having to choose one or two games a month to go to.
Coventry at home would not have been one that jumped out at me at the beginning of the season and with it being on Sky I decided to watch it from the comfort of the pub.
However, it seems a little telling that the lowest attendance of the season so far follows two defeats away from home.
Are there two many fickle fans loosing faith already this season?
Super Jim Magilton told the East Anglian Daily Times yesterday that he believes it is his duty to bring the fans back by winning the games.
But after seven straight home victories shouldn't we be showing him more confidence?
Would love to hear people's opinions...

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Early kick-off

Ipswich Town's season so far seems to have been plagued by the rearranging of kick-off times.
Recently, the bringing forward of the Hull City kick off to 12:30pm has affected a number of travelling Blues fans.
To those of you who are making the effort to visit the delights (!) of Hull: Good on you. Its an arduous enough journey from East Anglia, without having people fiddling about with your travel times.
As part of his new regime Jim brought in the idea of pre-match training/ warming up sessions to allow the players to prepare physically and mentally for the game ahead. If we loose the pattern of 3 o clock starts - we equally loose the pattern of psyching ourselves up for the game. Perhaps this suggests why our away form has not been what it should be - a disruption to the pattern.

It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has been affected by this, in particular how the club's promise to refund train fares is being fulfilled.

Of course, I wouldn't mind all of this if it was for Sky, at least I'd be able to watch my boys, but when its for the flipping rugby I can't help but feel a bit miffed!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Welcome to my world!

Hi, I'm Amy Downes. I am studying Postgraduate Journalism at Westminster University, for which I am currently exploring Web design. It has given me the opportunity to finally begin my own Blog.
I am a life-long Ipswich Town fan - for my sins - and have been going to watch them play for over 13 years!
I spend every minute of my life thinking and talking about them so I figured this blog would be an ideal opportunity to write about them too.
I'll be keeping you updated with the latest news from the Super Blues and comments on my travels to see them play.
Would love to hear from fellow Tractor Boys and Girls so please feel free to comment on my posts.
Click here to see the greatest moment of my life - if it sends shivers up your spine, you're in the right place!