Ipswich On The Up
Blues fan Mikey offers his season summary for 2012/2013 and looks to the future under Mick McCarthy
The 2012/2013 season saw The Tractor Boys embark on what they knew would be a difficult year ahead of them.
The season before wasn't a very good season with The Blue's crashing out of both domestic cups at the first hurdle and finishing in the bottom half of the table.
Luckily for Town, we narrowly avoided our worse league finish for 55 years. So things could only look better for us, surely?
As always, we're looking for a bargain, Jewell and Co. began making their summer signings. Cheap signings, the likes of Scott Loach, Luke Chambers and the promising Elliot Hewitt things were looking good.
Ipswich were identifying targets, and getting them. Paul Jewell was signing players on 3 year contracts and tying up deals, clearly bolstering our defence with the vision of the future.
Well, that's what I thought. Town secured a whopping FOURTEEN loan signings during this campaign. Some performed well, and some didn't.
Not meaning to be facetious, but half of the 14 signings were a waste of a tight wage budget.
DJ Campbell, my loan signing of the season, scored 10 times in 17 matches. That's a loan deal to be proud of.. Unlike the signings of Aaron McClean, David McGoldrick and Tyrone Barnett who played 23 games between them and managed a dismal five goals.
These players, with the exception of David McGoldrick, will all have left by the end of this season and that's it. The team we are trying to build, will have gone.
I do believe the loan signings of DJ Campbell, Bradley Orr, Jay Tabb and Richard Stearman helped us avoid relegation, no doubt, but I can't help think that they were signed with no vision of the future. They were basically mercenaries for a year, and have now gone back home. Let's hope we sign a couple of these for the next season, namely Tabb and Stearman.
This means, for the 2013/2014 season, we need to again build for the future and make some longer term signings.. Like Loach and Chambers.
With a promising pre-season, including a 3-1 win over newly Premier League side West Ham United, things were looking up for The Blues.
After conceding 10 goals, out of 11 matches, the defence looked pretty tight and we were scoring goals.
The first two games of the season were looking promising. After getting points from an under-perfoming Blackburn Rovers and breaking the Vicarage Road hoodoo things were looking great.. Well, that lasted for a pathetic four days, when Blackpool shoved reality in our faces and we lost 6-0!
That was the beginning of the end for Paul Jewell as the months that followed resulted in his sacking. After 10 games without a win, sitting bottom of the table, Paul Jewell was sacked.
Mick McCarthy, our saviour, was drafted in on November 1 and he made an instant impact.
Wins over Birmingham City and Burnley followed, sandwiched between 5-0 and 6-0 losses to Crystal Palace and Birmingham City respectively. Either way, in my opinion, we'd still performed better in those four matches than we did, under Paul Jewell, in previous months.
A new feeling started to grow around Portman Road, with Ipswich fans believing we could fight relegation.
Ipswich managed to grab points left, right and centre. Over the next couple of months we picked up wins over impressive sides such as Millwall and Nottingham Forest who at the time were fighting for a play off place.
Even through a winless January, fans still had faith, backing McCarthy. And why not? A new month came, and so did our performance of the season against Middlesbrough.
By the end of the season, Ipswich were looking to a mid-table/lower-top-half of the table finish with 60+ points. Who would have thought it?
Ipswich finished only one place above than when they did, the year before. However, things don't feel like they did two years ago.
Getting to the semi finals and beating Arsenal 1-0 at Portman Road was amazing, to think that was three years almost.
Unfortunately we couldn't emulate that. Crashing out in the second round to League One side Carlisle ensured that.
Then we got Premier League side Aston Villa in the FA Cup, who were going through a difficult season of their own! Either way, we crashed out at the first hurdle.
I'm not fussed, really. I'm sure this contributed to our impressive defence against relegation from the Championship.
We may have only finished the season one place higher than the year before, however things look a whole lot different. Since Mick's taken over Ipswich have not suffered back to back losses in the league.
Things look promising for The Blues. With the permanent signing of Cole Skuse, already, from Bristol City things look like Mick McCarthy has already got his short-list drawn up and he's acting fast.
I'm hoping we don't abuse the loan signings system too much, I'd prefer more permanent signings but if the **** hits the fan, I'm sure I'd not complain at the occasional loan deal.
To conclude, I'd like to thank you for reading my first article for Vital Ipswich and I hope to write again soon.
Over and Out,