Stuart Watson's Sunday Verdict: They think it's all over... it is now - This season can do one

PUBLISHED: 13:15 03 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 03 March 2019

A disappointed looking Toto Nsiala reflects after the defeat by Reading.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.com

A disappointed looking Toto Nsiala reflects after the defeat by Reading. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town look destined for the drop following Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Reading. STUART WATSON has his final say of the weekend.

Collin Quaner and Cole Skuse react after the German had missed a late chance.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comCollin Quaner and Cole Skuse react after the German had missed a late chance. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

They think it’s all over… it is now.

West Germany only had a few seconds left to play after that fatal blow back in ’66. Ipswich Town still have 11 whole games to endure.

The Blues went for a drink in the last chance saloon on Saturday and staggered out drunk – sadly not in a good way.

Another major missed opportunity.

Teddy Bishop pictured after the final whistle.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comTeddy Bishop pictured after the final whistle. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Another stinging sub-plot with Nelson Oliveira scoring.

Another injury blow with James Collins going off.

Yet more late heartbreak.

Tweaks to systems, changes in personnel, but it’s so often been the same old story.

Cole Skuse, Luke Chambers and Teddy Bishop pictured following Ipswich Town's 2-1 home defeat to Reading Photo: Steve WallerCole Skuse, Luke Chambers and Teddy Bishop pictured following Ipswich Town's 2-1 home defeat to Reading Photo: Steve Waller

Don’t score enough, concede too many.

Just three wins in 35 games.

Norwich top.

Eleven players in the treatment room.

James Collins walks fro the pitch at half time, with a bag of ice strapped to his leg, after being taken off shortly before the break. Substitutes Cole Skuse and Gwion Edwards are also pictured.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comJames Collins walks fro the pitch at half time, with a bag of ice strapped to his leg, after being taken off shortly before the break. Substitutes Cole Skuse and Gwion Edwards are also pictured. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

David McGoldrick fit every week and scoring goals for high-flying Sheffield United.

Adam Webster fit every week and starring for high-flying Bristol City.

Yep, this season can do one.

MORE: North Stander: My lowest point in 52 years as a Blues fan...Let’s hope this is as bad as it’s going to get

The writing has probably been on the wall since that 3-2 home loss to Bristol City in late November; certainly since the 3-2 home loss to Millwall on New Year’s Day.

In truth, the damage was done long before Paul Lambert’s failed rescue mission though. That was, in reality, always mission impossible.

Town messed up with their muddled recruitment last summer, but that’s not where this tale of decline starts either. This club was sleepwalking towards the third-tier long before Paul Hurst’s arrival.

The slow bleed of the Marcus Evans era has finally become a haemorrhage.

Nelson Oliveira receives a talking-to from referee Geoff Eltringham, for celebrating in front of the Ipswich fans after scoring.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comNelson Oliveira receives a talking-to from referee Geoff Eltringham, for celebrating in front of the Ipswich fans after scoring. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

He arrived as one of the wealthiest owners in the Championship little more than a decade ago, but has gradually seen those funds dwarfed. Football’s finances have boomed and Town have stood still.

MORE: Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 2-1 home defeat to Reading

Following 62 years in the top two tiers of English football, the Blues, who have tired after frantically treading water for so long, might just benefit from hitting the reset button a step down the pyramid.

Then again, they might not. Let’s not kid ourselves.

A masked Nelson Oliveira celebrates with his Reading teammates after giving the visitors a first half lead.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comA masked Nelson Oliveira celebrates with his Reading teammates after giving the visitors a first half lead. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Sixteen senior players are returning to parent clubs or will be out of contract as it stands. A clean slate could be a good thing.

We can’t keep having these complete summer rebuilds though. No business builds momentum with such a continual high turnover of staff.

Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Brighton, Coventry, Fulham, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester City, Norwich, Nottingham Forest, both Sheffield clubs, Southampton, Sunderland, Wolves…

All have had time in the third-tier in modern history. There are more success stories than cautionary tales in that list.

Town manager Paul Lambert sits in the directors box next to general manager of football operations Lee O�Neill.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comTown manager Paul Lambert sits in the directors box next to general manager of football operations Lee O�Neill. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

These are uncertain times. They are worrying times. They could also be exciting times.

MORE: ‘Until it’s mathematically certain you never, ever give in’ – Lambert reacts to Reading defeat as gap grows to 12 points

That doesn’t make the now virtual certainty of ‘r’ appearing next to the club’s name any less painful.

Is it a sign of desperation that we’re pinning our hopes on Lambert – a man who has won four of his last 37 games as a manager? For all the fine PR, is there a danger he might be the false messiah?

Gwion Edwards celebrates scoring to level at 1-1.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comGwion Edwards celebrates scoring to level at 1-1. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Give the man a summer transfer window and a pre-season. He’s not had one of those at a club since 2014. So much of what he’s doing currently is through necessity not design.

For now though there’s pride to play for. A mood to maintain. A dream to sell. Fans to keep on board.

Those drinks might be to numb the pain right now, but when they are eventually consumed in celebration – whenever that might be – they’ll taste all the sweeter.

Fun while it lasted. Town fans celebrate Gwion Edwards goal to level the score at 1-1, but they were left disappointed after the visitors scored a late winner.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comFun while it lasted. Town fans celebrate Gwion Edwards goal to level the score at 1-1, but they were left disappointed after the visitors scored a late winner. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Gwion Edwards wheels away as the ball hits the back of the net to level the score at 1-1.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comGwion Edwards wheels away as the ball hits the back of the net to level the score at 1-1. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

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