Saturday, 5 April 2008

Match 21 - Ipswich

There's been a lot of chat in the last week about season ticket prices. That's not really what I want to talk about here, except to say that perhaps we should pay for our tickets AFTER each match, and based on the result and team performance. In this case I would gladly have paid treble the normal price for the display we were given today.
All sing: "Oh what fun it was to see, Ipswich lose away".

It reminded me of last season when we felt invincible at home. What's more, a clean sheet for the second time this season. It's still more than 50 years since the tractor boys won at Layer Road (and they'll never do it again!). The biggest crowd of the season saw arguably the most important result. I can accept relegation, based on results over the whole season, but what I couldn't accept is losing to Ipswich twice in one campaign. The lads didn't disappoint me.

A solid and experienced central defensive display meant the full backs and keeper could get on with their jobs. The forwards played together, linked up and continually threatened the Ipswich end. Midfield bridged the gap and generally frustrated attempts to build against us. I had to admit today that we have a half decent team at last. Mind you, I'll stick with 'half' decent for now. Given time they could become a fully decent team. At last there's something worth building on.

It was significant for me today that several injuries showed where the weaknesses have been at times over the season. Did we miss Virgo and Platt? Not at all. Did we yearn for Sheringham? Not at all. That was an interesting diversion in the first half of the season and it might have come off, but sadly it didn't really work. It's ironic that Teddy was meant to draw in bigger crowds, and maybe draw some more players in our direction. Well we did get a lot of draws, but we needed wins. Did we need to use our substitutes today? Not at all. We didn't last season either, when incidentally we slaughtered the Suffolk side 1-0.

What was especially pleasing was that the majority of the crowd stayed to applaud the team off the pitch. Even better was the response of the travelling fans to the Ipswich team as they walked towards them to thank them for coming along - they didn't boo them, or jeer at their players, they just waved them away, ... priceless!

Talking of priceless, in our section today we got to discussing what parts of the ground we might want to salvage as souvenirs of Layer Road after the last match of the season. It didn't take long to decide that there probably isn't anything material worth having. What you can't put a price on, or replace, are the memories of beating Ipswich here twice in two years - and they couldn't get a goal past us in either of those two encounters.

Let's hope there's good news in the coming week about some realistic ticket prices for next season. (Oops, sorry, I said I didn't want to mention those!)

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