The forgotten little brothers

Ferdinand, Wilkins, Rooney, Terry.  Legends in their own way I am sure you will agree.  But what if I was to tell you I was talking about Anton, Graham, John and Paul?  The siblings of Rio, Ray, Wayne and John?  Not quite in the legends bracket are they?  The same can be said for some clubs as well.  Whilst some towns and cities can boast two (or more) clubs playing at a professional level, other places in England have a definite big brother v little brother arrangement.

Norwich City v Norwich United
Last season was a good year for the two teams from Norwich.  Whilst City triumphantly returned to the land of milk and honey, beating Middlesbrough in the Play-off final at Wembley, United stormed to the Eastern Counties League Premier Division Title, finishing 26 points above 2nd place Godmanchester Rovers.  However, for a number of reasons the club declined promotion to the Ryman League.  United were originally formed as Poringland back in 1903, playing at the superbly named “The Gothic”.  They were renamed in 1987 and moved to their current home, Plantation Park back in 1990.  With United’s best run in the FA Cup coming last season when they made it to the Second Qualifying Round it may be some time before they meet in a competitive match.

Cambridge City v Cambridge United
Just a couple of seasons ago the two teams from Cambridge were separated by just one division as United were playing in the Conference Premier and City in the Conference South.  Today they are separated again by three divisions as United have returned to the Football League whilst City suffered enforced relegation in 2008 when their Milton Road ground failed a FA Inspection.  Worse was to come for City as they became embroiled in a legal battle over the ownership of the ground, which has now been demolished, forcing City to first groundshare with Newmarket Town, then Histon and now as of this season with St Ives Town. There will be playing in the Southern Premier League this season.

Oxford City v Oxford United
In recent times Lewes have actually played both City and United in competitive games, although few Rooks fans will want to remember our visits to the City of Spires as we lost in the Conference Premier back in 2009, then crashed out of the FA Trophy in November 2014 to Oxford City now playing in the Conference South as of this season after being shunted across from the North Division.  Last season City’s experiment of importing La Liga cast offs almost paid off as they finished just outside the playoffs, although the locals didn’t appear to warm to the experiment with crowds at Marsh Lane rarely broke the few hundred mark.  City were once managed by Bobby Moore, with Harry Redknapp as his assistant.

Lincoln City v Lincoln United
Whilst both Lincoln City and United play Non-League football, they are light years apart in terms of facilities.  Conference National City have the 10,000 capacity Sincil Bank with four almost new stands, perhaps a permenant sign of the excessive spending that caused their downfall out of the Football League, twice.  As each season passes, climbing out of the Conference becomes a harder and harder job, with last season’s 15th place finish a hard pill to swallow for many fans.  Travel West from Sincil Bank for a couple of miles and you will reach the leafy tranquillity of Ashby Avenue (or the more impressive Sunhat Villas & Resorts Stadium), home of The Amateurs, Lincoln United.  Currently played three levels below City in the Northern Premier League Division One South, their local derbies are against the likes of Goole AFC and Rainworth Miners Welfare in front of a hundred or so fans.

Ipswich Town v Ipswich Wanderers
In May 2013 Ipswich finally got their hands on a trophy in front of an excited crowd at Portman Road.  Ipswich Wanderers that it, not Town.  Wanderers won the Suffolk Senior Cup in that year on penalties in front of a crowd of 1,000.  Whilst The Tractor boys have been stuck in the Championship ploughed field for a decade, The Wanderers are on the up.  They were promoted back to the Eastern Counties League Premier Division in 2014 and finished last season in 9th place.  Their chairman is a familiar name to some – Terry Fenwick – the man who decided not to tackle Diego Maradona when he scored “that” goal in the 1986 World Cup Quarter-Final.  If only he did perhaps he could have now been chairman of Ipswich Town.

There are others of course.  Swindon Town may consider their local rivals to be Oxford United or Bristol City but Swindon Supermarine, the original works team from the Supermarine airplane company, will have a different opinion.  Southend United fans may think that their local rivals are Colchester United but what about Essex Senior League Southend Manor?  There was a story a few years ago about a disillusioned Newcastle United fan deciding to turn his back on St James’ Park and support Newcastle Town.  The only problem with this one is that the teams play 191 miles apart – Newcastle Town are based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

2011 a year to forget for Ipswich Town

Thomas Rooney takes a look at events in Suffolk and what has been happening with the Tractor Boys.

It has been another hugely disappointing year for Ipswich Town. Going into the New Year, they occupy exactly the same position as they did this time last year – 19th.

Even those looking at casinos mobile  note how it was almost a year ago that Paul Jewell appointed by the owner, Marcus Evans to replace former boss Roy Keane, who the club had finally lost patience with. A year on, though, and things do not seem an awful lot better.

A plethora of new players have hardly turned out to be the answer, with Jewell’s current record standing at a dismal 19 wins, eight draws and 23 defeats. It does not point towards relegation, true, but at this rate, promotion looks a long way off. Continue reading

West Ham are the best team in England….for 85 minutes

Do you know what happened at 3.15pm on Sunday 7th August 2011? Last time anyone on X-Factor was any good? Good shout but no. It was actually the last time West Ham lost in the nPower Championship. I can see you are more impressed with the X-Factor trivia aren’t you.

Since the defeat to Cardiff City West Ham had looked impressive in places, scoring four against Watford, Forest and Portsmouth, not conceding against Doncaster Rovers, Millwall and Peterborough United but then disappointing in the home draw against Leeds United, and of course THAT game versus Aldershot Town. The football, as predicted under Big Sam hasn’t been good on the eye but there is an argument to say “who cares” as long as in May we are celebrating a return to the land of milk and honey.

I hadn’t been for a few weeks, preferring my fix of entertainment at equally unbeaten Lewes where an afternoon out of football, some of the best beer in the world and a home-made pie weighed in at less than £15. A recent BBC Survey had revealed that a similar afternoon at Upton Park would cost £38.50. But tonight wasn’t one of those times – instead admission alone was a staggering £43. We were playing Ipswich Town for Christ Sake not Inter Milan! Continue reading

Is there a need to boo your own players?

William Taylor gives us his view on the reaction of fans to defeats so early in the season.

Ipswich Town’s defeat to Peterborough on Saturday was probably one of the most embarrassing moments as a Blues fan in some time. In what was quite possibly one of the worst defensive performances since the 9-0 defeat to Manchester United, Town crumbled to a 7-1 thrashing.

However, having supported them all my life, there was nothing more embarrassing than some of the chanting by a small section of the club’s fans at the game.

It was an issue that Liz Edwards, chairwoman of the Supporters Club raised a few weeks ago – and in doing so, she became the victim of verbal abuse on Saturday.

In truth, however, that was pretty harmless, with fans merely having a laugh about the comments she made – I can understand that. Albeit pretty spiteful and inconsiderate, that chant was not detrimental to the team, and is, thus, not what bothers me most.

When the ‘fans’ turned on their own players, though; that was utterly disgraceful, and completely unforgiveable. The language used in the chant is too obnoxious for me to quote here, but essentially is involved the fans making it quite clear how bad they thought the defending of their team was.

I’m sorry, but if anyone thinks that is going to make the team play better – or indeed want to play at all – they must be unbelievably deluded. And it is not the first time a small section of Ipswich Town supporters have acted so mindlessly. Last season, when losing at home to Barnsley, they proceeded to cheer the visitors’ every touch of the ball.

Indeed, almost every time the side are losing at half-time in a home game, the players leave to a chorus of boos. None of the most successful clubs we see playing at the moment have to put up with that.

Of course there is the not inconsiderable argument that these are all very highly paid young-men, and they should be able to take a bit of stick.

These people pay their money week in week out, buy Cheap boots for new season for their kids who have just seen their heroes play and, according to a BBC survey at least, have to put up with paying the most amount for a cup of tea in English football.

Perhaps, but I would not be surprised if one day soon, a player simply walked off the pitch and refused to play for the club again, because of the fans.  I  totally understand the frustration of Ipswich Town supporters right now. The football in the last three games has been so poor, it hardly seems real.

It quite possibly cannot get any worse than back-to-back thrashings at the hands of two promoted sides, but you have to wonder what role the fans have played in that.

There is nothing wrong with creating a hostile atmosphere at a football stadium – although there are better ways of doing it – look at Stoke. Booing the every touch of an opposing team might be one thing – even the referee if you really must. Directing abuse at the travelling supporters could be another, but please Ipswich fans, give your own players a break.

Promotion will never happen until the fans are totally behind their side

The play offs beckon at last for the Swans

Abigail Davies reports on a monumental win for Swansea City that secures a place in the Play offs.

Ipswich travelled to The Liberty looking to bounce back from the comprehensive defeat they suffered at the expense of local rivals Norwich City last Thursday, while Swansea were aiming to take a step closer to cementing a play-off place.

There were four changes to The Swans side that faced Portsmouth on Saturday, as Joe Allen, Stephen Dobbie and Neil Taylor returned to the starting line up in place of Mark Gower, Darren Pratley and Alan Tate. While there was also a place in the side for Luke Moore who started ahead of Scott Sinclair- the Swans top scorer rested after a jaded performance at Fratton Park. This change meant loan signing Fabio Borini started out on the left wing to accommodate for striker Moore. Continue reading