Date: Saturday 11th December 2010
Result: 1-0 Preston (the seventh time I have seen a 1-0 loss)
Scorer for Town: N/A. Barn door, banjo, etc.
It's not really a match report, more a collective amount of thoughts on today's game.
I knew it was grim before I sped across the Lancashire countryside. I've listened online and I saw the East Anglian derby, but until I finally witnessed us in the flesh, I had no idea just how grim it was. Who are this team? Why has our defence become rubbish again? Where's the team spirit? Where's Delaney gone? Why's Jaime Peters on the bench?
Today we looked like a bunch of strangers. We passed in the middle well, but had no vision for the runs that Norris and Edwards were trying to make and just ended up hoofing the ball up to Scotland. Preston's defence was rubbish, but our final ball and strikers made them look like Brazil. Do these players actually enjoy playing together? If a run goes unnoticed, arms flay about and frustration comes out, but when a play comes into the box, nobody calls for it and suddenly it's in the back of our net. Communication seems to have evaporated from the side. Murphy doesn't seem to shout. Today we had both Brown and Zuiverloon miss the ball and were lucky not to concede. Tommy Smith (I think it was him) nearly scored a superb own goal.
I just cannot understand how we've gone from beating West Brom (albeit, a weakened West Brom) to a team that looks like it can't tell its arse from its elbow. Bringing in more and more loanees is not the answer. How many players did Norwich use when they went down? How many did Sunderland use when Keane was in charge? Someone said to me today that he thinks all the Sunderland lot stick together. Perhaps I'm wrong to misjudge the role of a football captain. In times like this, someone has to stand up and take charge and it looks like David Norris is giving it a shot, but is anyone listening to him? His tensions boiled over as he and Parkin exchanged handbags towards the final whistle.
I've come back from Deepdale today once again feeling sad. I'm not angry any more. What's the point in being angry about this? We need a lift from somewhere, but I just can't see where it's going to come from. I've read that people are saying that the League Cup run is distracting us. It's not distracting me. We've lost six on the bounce and are sinking down the league table faster than a cardboard kayak.
I studied the players hard in the warm up. I'm going to be honest, I did double take at a couple of them because I've not seen Ipswich play since early November. When the team were playing the different coloured bib vs different coloured bib warm up, only one side actually looked good. Can we play ourselves every week?
We dominated in the first half, but both defences were making ridiculous errors that were going unpunished. Our passing looked good in the middle, but again, the final ball through, not having enough people in the box or in rare cases, an actual decent piece of defending, cost us. 0-0 at half time and I just knew something had to give, one of these defences would crack. At half time, the Preston announcer said that they'd have "two or three penalty shouts." Sod off. It's the rub of the green. Last week cost us and we had one against West Brom turned down which could've cost us. Besides, I'm pretty sure I saw a handball from a Preston player in their box...
I often wonder what it'd be like to be a fly on the wall in the Ipswich dressing room at half time. Does Keane shout and throw teacups? Is he cool, calm and collected? Does he insult the players? Does he ramble on about Rooney's house, because he thinks he's being interviewed by Sky Sports? Either way, I'd like to know what he says, because in the second half, Preston looked a new side. They'd changed ideas. We hadn't. It was an all too familiar story.
In the build up to Preston's goal, they had a shout for a free kick. Whilst Iain Hume's touch and finish was something Jason Scotland can only dream of at the moment, we seemed to just switch off. Play. To. The. Whistle. It's something I've always found with Ipswich Town, even in the years of Matt Holland. Hume seemed to skip through our defence. Tommy Smith looked solid enough today. Troy Brown seems uncomfortable. I'm all for giving the youth a go, it makes me feel old, but when you've got someone like Delaney (alright, he got sent off against Norwich, but did you see where it happened? And did you see how easily that lump Holt went over? AND DID YOU SEE DARREN O'DEA?) in the ranks, surely him and Smith would be a decent enough partnership until the return of McAuley? Also, Mark Kennedy. How did the man pass his medical? Let him heal properly Keane, before throwing him back into the mixer.
I go home in a week, and will be back in the North Stand for the Leicester City match. We're on the telly. Again. I don't know why they keep showing us, we're not really playing football at the moment. Keane vs Sven is not really interesting. If it was Keane vs McCarthy, yes, possibly, but it's just going to be another humiliating defeat on TV. Money? Yes. But the crowd will probably be less than 19,000. It'll be cold, it's the last shopping weekend before Christmas and Ipswich Town ticket prices are ridiculous.
To be perfectly honest, if you're looking for entertainment, you're probably better off watching X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing. It'll only be offence to the ears and eyes. We'll make all five of your senses bleed. Even taste.
Will Keane be here on Monday? Probably. When he goes, will we still get the headlines? Definitely not.