Steve Mellen: ‘I’m bored of all the moaning that has gone on over the past year or two from fans. Let’s not wallow in the mire’
© Copyright Stephen Waller
It hasn’t been great. You don’t have to tell Town fan STEVE MELLEN. Like many, he’s tired of the change and the merry-go-round at Portman Road... But let’s not count the sorrows, be positive – and who knows? Here, he brings you a short tale!
Suffolk, the year 2050, a frozen wasteland.
The deal Delia Smith made with the Underworld in return for all those late goals in 2018 has come to pass and the Gods have not been kind, stripping East Anglia of all its natural resources and blotting out the sun.
A band of tough survivors, who have had to do unspeakable things to survive, struggle against the icy winds as they make their way around what used to be the eastern outskirts of Ipswich.
They spent last night under the shelter of the half-completed Northern Bypass, but know they need to keep moving in case the giant mutant squirrels that now sit on top of the food chain pick up their trail.
The leader of the group picks his way through the gloom and then suddenly stops, the people behind him also pausing.
A strange creaking comes from up ahead.
Stealthily removing his knife from his belt, the leader moves forward again, only this time slower, taking care with every step.
Out of the dark emerges a strange sight, a large white sign, below which what looks like a long-dead man is slumped in a camping chair.
The leader looks behind him and motions for his followers to approach.
With one gloved hand he begins to scrape the snow and ice from the sign. After some vigorous scraping, the words 'Ipswich Town FC Training Ground' are revealed.
One of the group approaches the man in the chair, wondering how he died.
The food from the farm shops ran out in 2030, and many starved, refusing to buy supermarket-own brands. Maybe this poor fellow passed to the next world dreaming of an artisan biscuit or vegan dip.
Suddenly the eyes of the seemingly dead man flicker open.
The group all gasp, stand back, then crowd round him, offering water and their meagre rations.
It's no good, the water simply runs around his parched lips. It's clear they can do nothing for the man, whose creased skin and bright white hair indicate he has been sat there for a long time.
A cracked whisper emerges from his lips, inaudible in the howling wind. His hands reach out and he battles to repeat the words.
"What is it old man? We cannot stay here long," says the leader.
He kneels down right next to the dying man, pressing his ear as close as he can.
"Please, I've been sitting here for decades, I just want to know one thing," comes the feeble croak.
"What do you want to know?"
"Is Tom Adeyemi fit yet?"...
... Relegated to League One, it's far easier to count your sorrows - like the fact that last season our injury room often looked better than our subs' bench - than your blessings, so let's wallow in the mire for a moment.
We appointed Roy Keane who had the backing of big crowds, a generous transfer budget and inherited a settled squad.
He then dismantled that squad, spent millions on the likes of Priskin and Lee Martin, sold - for a pittance - the best striker to come through our ranks in years, and tried to get us relegated twice.
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He then handed the reins to Paul Jewell, who also tried to get us relegated but not before he'd spent millions on the likes of Paul Taylor.
In came Mick, and the sunshine returned briefly.
We stayed up, somehow, and then he took us to our first play-off campaign since Joe Royle.
Then it all started to go sour, ending with Mick appearing to tell fans to f*** off at Carrow Road and as good as resigning on the spot.
Then came the new era where we all believed Paul Hurst was some sort of magician sent to us from the north.
He only appeared to have one spell - sell all your strikers and replace them with players from Accrington and Shrewsbury - but we believed him because he was both funny and serious in press conferences.
When it turned out we'd been sold a handful of magic beans instead of a special potion, Hurst was sent on his way - although perhaps they should have built some stocks for him and Chris Doig as part of the revamp of the Cornhill - and in came Paul Lambert.
Tired of change and the merry-go-round?
Me too. So it's time to stick with Paul.
I'm bored of all the moaning that has gone on over the past year or two from fans. I know, I know, much of it understandable.
But let's not wallow in the mire forever.
Yes, we are in League One.
But we've got a man who knows what success is like in that division, and knows what type of players we need.
And do you know what I really like about Lambert?
Sure, the multiple olive branches he has offered fans are welcome, and his embracing of the club's traditions are touching, but it's the impression he is bedding in for a long stay which makes me hopeful.
Of course I would have liked a few more wins in the 'last six matches' form guide by the end of last season, but hey....
For too long we asked why Mick didn't barge into Evans' office - especially in the January transfer window in 2015 - and demand an enormous bag of money. Well it seems Lambert is happy to be pushy to get the players he wants.
We know last season was the worst season many of us can remember.
Yet I'm old enough to recall the grim days of 1994-95 when teams were pretty much handed three points as soon as they got off the bus at Portman Road. But at least we beat Man Utd and won at Anfield that campaign. Last season it was all gristle and no meat.
And yet, and yet. This could be the first time in a while that the club stood at a crossroads and took the right path.
I hope Lambert stays and builds the team/squad he wants. Norwood is/would be a good start!
I hope Evans continues to back him.
I certainly will.
THIS article appeared in Issue 10 of Kings of Anglia magazine.
Issue 11 is out this week, with more from Mellen, as well as features from, among others, Andy Warren, Carl Marston, Mike Bacon, Karl Fuller and Amy Downes.