Saturday, 14 May 2011

Was 2010/2011 just the season we'll soon forget?

If this was a school report it would probably read: 'Town have tried hard through this difficult year, but they must do better next year'.

Roy Keane this week told reporters, 'my only regret is that I signed the contract before I met the Chief Executive. I won't be doing that again' ( My opinion: if he found it that difficult to work with the board at Ipswich he should have left. But c'est la vie and we seem to be happily drawing a rather thick black line under that particular chapter of Ipswich Town history. Time to move on.

The introduction of Paul Jewell as the new boss could not have been more different to the media hype of Roy Keanes entrance. Keane was practically brought to the club with a fanfare and fireworks; followed by a promise that he would get the club promoted within two years. A promise that was inevitably left broken.

Whereas the conference with Paul Jewell seemed much more calm: here was a familiar face with a reasonable reputation in the Championship, who's outlook on the coming season was somewhat more realistic: 'We all want to be in the Premier League but if you go in and you're not quite ready you can be eaten alive...Promotion is definetly the long term goal' (

Town fans breathed a sigh of a relief... that's what we've all been saying!

Having come to a team who had lost ten of their last 14 games (including a 7-0 FA Cup defeat at Chelsea), Jewell's magic seemed to work immediately when we won the next three games on the trot. Something Keane had never managed.

But Town fans remained cautious, wary of getting too excited too soon, and press reports of us making the Play Offs were mostly laughed off. The inconsistency of the following results served as justification for the scepticism.

Whilst one minute the team were experiencing the highs of a wonderful Carling Cup run and an unexpected win over Leicester in extremely heavy snow. The next minute they suffered some seriously awful lows: the game at Carrow Road being the best example. They never seemed to be able to settle down and find some form.

Such is the nature of the Championship, to be fair. From game to game you never know what the result is going to be because any club can win on any day. It's what makes it exciting and it's why I love it. But, sometimes you do think you'd give up that excitement for a bit of consistency.

And that's what I wish for next year; some consistency and good form. To know that we put our all into every game and did the best we could. I'm not sure that can be said for many of the games this year.

Game of the Season:

For most people there's no question: it has to be beating Arsenal 1-0 at Portman Road. What a special night for everyone involved with the club.

Another game worth noting is the 3-0 win over Sheffield United: the day the world discovered Connor Wickham thanks to that goal!

But for me the Game of the Season was Doncaster away. I've been wanting to go to the Keepmoat stadium for years as it's less than half an hour away from where I live. I arrived on a really miserable night huddled in my car before kick off eating a packed lunch tea. But the atmosphere among the Tractor Boys was electric; still reeling from the recent win over Arsenal. That mood seemed to transfer to the pitch as the boys ruled Yorkshire for the night. 6-0 was a thoroughly deserved scoreline thanks to the organised football and pure passion from a team that actually looked hungry for a win for once. Of course Connor was on fire too, which helped a bit!

Player of the Season:

Part of me wants to say Connor for that hat trick alone.

And a personal favourite of mine is Jamie Peters; who earned standing ovations when he was brought on as a sub for the last four or five games.

But my final decision goes the same way as the vast majority of Town fans who voted overwhelmingly for loanee Jimmy Bullard. It's been a long time since we've had a player who can single-handedly change the attitude of the whole team. From the moment he joined us in January we were transformed into a team that looked like we could win any game, and more importantly like one that wanted to.

So, Mr Paul Jewell: Please do whatever it takes to bring Jimmy to Portman Road permanently. I'm sure he's tempted by the lure of the Premiership and its larger wage packets; but if he came to Town he would instantly become a living legend, a name to go down in history, quite simply - a god.

Chant of the season:

Once again so many that deserve a mention:

My personal favourite was 'Barnsley's a s****hole, I wanna go home'. To which my response was, it's alright for you mate, I AM home!

Then there's the befuddling 'shoes off for the town' which I still don't totally get, but enjoy how much it confuses the opposition fans!

But the number one spot goes undoubtedly to a chant that we apparently 'borrowed' from Newcastle. It rates up there with 'Finidi, ohhhhh, Finidi ohhhhh, he comes from Africa, he drives a big tractor' and 'Matteo Sereni he comes from Italy, Matteo Sereni, better than Wrighty'. Hopefully it's one we'll be singing for many years to come...

'Oh Jimmy Bullard,
You are the love of my life,
Oh Jimmy Bullard,
I'll let you sleep with my wife,
Oh Jimmy Bullard,
I want curly hair too'.

Quick thank you to my Dad for sorting me out with Naaaarwich tickets this year, buying me the new away shirt when I couldn't afford it and remebering to call me on that emotional night against Arsenal.

And also to my sister who joins me on many games in the North as she is a fellow long distance fan. But she mainly deserves a mention for singing the above song at the top of her voice in Leicester train station!

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