Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: Feeling of hurt proof that fans have started caring again

PUBLISHED: 19:35 02 September 2018 | UPDATED: 19:35 02 September 2018

Town fans celebrate as Gwion Edwards wheels away after giving Ipswich a 1-0 lead against Norwich. Photo: Steve Waller

Town fans celebrate as Gwion Edwards wheels away after giving Ipswich a 1-0 lead against Norwich. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town drew 1-1 with rivals Norwich City at Portman Road earlier today. STUART WATSON gives his considered verdict.

Town players celebrate Gwion Edwards' goal against Norwich. Photo: Steve WallerTown players celebrate Gwion Edwards' goal against Norwich. Photo: Steve Waller

The wait for the first competitive win of the Paul Hurst era goes on.

The wait for an East Anglian derby win goes on.

The wait for Town to be a truly competitive force in the Championship goes on.

Town fans are used to waiting. And that’s fine if it’s with a sense of purpose.

A feeling of belonging again for Town fans. Photo: Steve WallerA feeling of belonging again for Town fans. Photo: Steve Waller

MORE: Northstander: ‘It’s certainly not boring at Portman Road these days that’s for sure!’

Increasingly there was a sense that good things would probably not come to those who wait. Or that there was any danger of bad things happening either. And that’s when people start leaving the queue.

Now, for the time being at least, it feels as though patience could be a virtue again. It might not be either. But that uncertainty is exciting.

The wall of noise which greeted Gwion Edwards’ opener today told you as much. Fans feel reengaged and emotionally invested again.

MORE: ‘We are due to have another conversation’ – Hurst on Town’s attempts to sign ex West Ham defender Collins

And the feeling of hurt which came after drawing a game that was there to be won was, bizarrely, perhaps a good thing. It was a reminder that people have started caring again.

There is much to work on if this renewed hope is not to dissipate. But the fact it hasn’t after a seven-game winless start speaks volumes.

It flies in the face of the opinion of those from the outside looking in who are smugly suggesting Blues fans are getting all they deserve after ‘hounding out’ an experienced manager because they felt their club had some sort of divine right to be doing better.

MORE: ‘I felt our better spells were longer than Norwich’s’ – Hurst on Town’s East Anglian derby draw and Skuse injury

So now we continue to show patience in the plan. Not blind faith, of course, but a belief, rooted in what we have seen so far, that things can and will improve.

Finally, Hurst gets two full weeks to work with his new-look squad on the training pitch. Last week’s additions took it to 12 summer signings. These players will get fitter. And they will get to know each others’ games better.

There’s no hiding from the fact that today’s game, for large parts, looked like two very average sides destined for a bottom-half finish.

MORE: ‘He’s no different to any other player... he has to perform’ - Hurst on dropping Bialkowski

Town are at the start of their new journey though. Norwich (whose ‘decade of derby dominance’ has seen them draw four of the last six meetings and finish below Town last season) are now nearly 18 months into their project.

‘Farke Life’ isn’t being sung with quite as much gusto north of the border these days. Portman Road is as noisy as it’s been in a long time.

Let’s hope the wait is worth it.

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