Sixer’s Ipswich Soapbox: a quick one, but who cares?


Sleek Sixer now …

John McCormick writes: there are cries from some of our readers for our manager to go, there are others saying he should have more time, and there are those saying it’s not his fault and there’s nothing he can do. I must confess I’m expecting any day to hear he’s been sacked or walked as it seems to be the SAFC way of dealing with things but I’m not sure if it would solve anything.  Pete Sixsmith, who has been to far more matches and lives much nearer to the action, was at last night’s debacle. What does he think? He’s past caring. Perhaps that tells us all we need to know …

Our last 5-2 defeat was at Everton in December 2015 when it looked as if we were doomed under Sam Allardyce. We played a back three of O’Shea, Brown and Jones that night. The manager knew that we needed reinforcements, wheedled some money out of the owner, brought in four players and bingo….. we stayed up. Fast forward to a sultry night in Suffolk and we lost by the same score to a competent Ipswich side who may have a real push for the play offs at the end of the season. By that time, we could well be relegated.


Simon Grayson is struggling. There was no money to spend during the summer, he inherited players who were probably as sick of playing for Sunderland as I am of watching them and he has others who are neither strong enough or good enough to play in this tough, physical division. Put all that together in a mixing bowl and you have the ingredients for a catastrophe and it is starting to roll itself out before our very eyes.

This was the nadir – so far. There will be worse to come as we play sides who are organised, have a bit of pace, can control midfield and have a goalkeeper who can actually make saves. And who, crucially, are not made up of failures at Sunderland and failures at other clubs.

a disgrace

Not one of the 14 who played can come out of this with any form of credit. Some ought to hang their heads in shame at the performance they turned in. Lamine Kone was a disgrace from start to finish, showing no desire to win the ball either in the air or on the ground. To be beaten in the air by Martin Waghorn for the opening goal was as low as he has been in his time with us. The quicker that ends the better for all concerned.

Others were little better and the manager has to tak some responsibility for this. What on earth possessed him to play Oviedo in midfield? Barely adequate as a full back, his feeble performance was terminated early after he was once again bullied by those ever so big, ever so nasty Ipswich players. Why wasn’t one of McGeady or McManaman played alongside Vaughan? No point in putting in crosses if your centre forward cannot win the ball and, if by some miracle he does, there is nobody there to pick it up.

We really are the softest of soft touches and as long as we have players like Gibson, Kone, Oviedo and Wilson in the team we will continue to be so in a league where physicality is mixed with skills. Leeds United, Barnsley, Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City have them in abundance. We have neither. Opposition managers and scouts must chuckle all the way home after watching us. Whoever Preston sent to Portman Road will surely deliver a damning verdict which may well say something like;

“Run at them, get a decent cross in and you will score. Growl at the midfield and they will run away. Look at the teamsheet and if Kone, Gibson, Jones and Oviedo are playing, give the first eam the afternoon off and call up the Under 18s.”

Mick McCarthy has assembled a solid team. Waghorn played well, took a good goal and set up two more as our defence crumbled like a sub standard Bake Off cake. They were full of running and energy and they must have gone off at the end wondering if they will play a team as wretched and as uncoordinated as this one was. I shall watch their progress with interest. I always had a lot of time for Mick – I am running out of patience with his fellow Yorkshireman.

I am missing Preston on Saturday in order to attend Shildon’s FA Cup tie with Banbury United and taking in a game at Rushden and Higham United tonight. Then we can have a couple of weeks off thank goodness which may give the managerial team an opportunity to find a coherent system and stick with it. The constant fiddling around does not help.

Post match was spent in good company in the Mermaid on Yarmouth Road, where I spent the night. This is being written in Ipswich Library so thanks to Marston Inns and Suffolk County Council for helping me to get rid of some of the angst – but the main problem is that I am largely past caring. I suspect that there are many others in the same boat.

8 thoughts on “Sixer’s Ipswich Soapbox: a quick one, but who cares?”

  1. Tractor boy here who recalls us both winning the cup! (Is it so long…so long) Just wanted to congratulate you on a fantastic website gents. Always impressed by your support and a top ‘proper’football club. Felt for you last night but if it’s any consolation spent most of last season feeling glum and strange how quickly things can change. Hope things turn for you soon. Thoroughly enjoyed the read – quirky and different – will continue to follow your site as the season progresses. Here’s to a better result for you soon, keep your chins up…

    PS. Is little Eric Lazenby Gates still playing…absolute star

    • Played until 1991. According to Wikipedia, “he later worked for Century FM North East (now Real Radio North East) on The Legends Football Phone-In until May 2007, when he allegedly [the curious use of “allegedly” makes him sound like the defendant in a criminal trial- Ed] attempted to join BBC Radio Newcastle. Gates is now a pig farmer.”

      Lovely anecdote, if true, also from Wikipedia: “Gates’s career came to an end in a bizarre circumstances, after the Carlisle United manager had firstly annoyed him by making him travel to Brunton Park to catch the team coach for a midweek away fixture rather than catch it as it passed his home some 60 miles away, Gates then found himself to be on the bench. With only a few minutes of the match remaining on the cold wet night the manager told Gates to get warmed up. With no further ado Gates rose from the bench to proceed straight down the tunnel, stripped off and jumped straight into the bath.”

  2. Actually, the performance just gets worse every time you watch the highlights!!!! on u-tube, that has to be the most limp wristed attempt by a Sunderland team that I have ever seen.

    How any of them on the pitch last night can take their pay cheque beggers belief.

    Grayson can’t save us, he’s out of his depth, as many would be in this dysfunctional club, we need a messiah now more than any time before.

    Anybody seen King Arthur kicking around lately?

  3. As an Ipswich fan watching last night it was clear right from the first minute that the confidence of the player’s is shot to bits. At halftime we couldn’t believe that a team relegated from the Premiership would sit back as much as they did, they looked terrified to go forward as one.

    As much as I’d like to think we played well, Sunderland’s defense simply melted away far to often. This is Ipswich, for god sake, we were spraying 60 yard diagonal balls, Sunderland were making us look like Real Madrid. That hasn’t been seen at Portman Road for nearly a decade(s) (maybe 3)!!!

    Full credit to the 800 or so Sunderland fans who in the 2nd half went ‘full vocal’ in order to get the team playing and they did respond and at 4-2 they looked good for a third. To be honest the fans were Sunderland’s man of the match by a country mile.

    Keep the faith, the oil tanker will turn at some point for you

  4. The whole club is going downhill quickly,relegation is a real threat this season.These players are just not good enough for this division.In 4 years time this club will be playing in some lower semi-pro league and doing nothing but struggle season after season and playing at Hetton or some other local league ground.I really think we are going to slide through these leagues like Northampton and Huddersfield both did,(I think)I think im being hard but I am really fed up with all this thats happening to my club.Short has killed this club,brought in crap managers and crap players for years now and I myself think it is time that Grayson to leave,he is not good enough to get these players playing well,no tactics savy,they are just picking up wages for doing nothing.I have had enough of all this crap,so I will say goodbye and never will I return until were in the Champions League,so till then i’m off to watch some team that tries.

  5. I expected you to be even more visceral in your criticism, Pete, as last night, even by our lamentable standards, seemed to be plumbing new depths. I suspect, however, that things will get much worse before they get better. I hope to be at Brantford next month, but, like many, I feel more apathetic than angry, which is really worrying.

  6. Spoke to my son in Brisbane this morning (via Facetime whatever that is). When I tried to swing the conversation around to SAFC he told me “Dad, I’m in Oz for four months to get away from that crap.” Enough said.

  7. Another well written piece about the state of our club, I hate to get on the manager’s back as his track record shows he’s not an idiot, but anyone who continues to play players out of position with square pegs in round holes, must be on borrowed time.

    We can’t score goals but let in loads, the defence must be the priority, play a left back at left back and not Oviedo! Thomas Robson can’t be any worse than him or Mathews. I thought John O’Shea would be long gone by now but he has to play alongside Browning & Mathews (best of our trio of poor right backs)

    Midfield is a real problem with no energy at all in the middle of the pitch, Lee Cattermole offers nothing apart from taking over the clapping from the departed Seb, he jogs around the place thinking he’s Pirlo, when all he does is lose the ball in dangerous positions, can’t create, score or tackle! what’s the point!

    We need players who if not physically strong can still get around the pitch and hassle the opposition, I would like to see Williams & N’dong with maybe Honeyman in the middle with McManaman & McGeady out wide. I’d also play Asoro upfront, if the kid is as highly rated as we are led to believe he must be given a chance.

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