At the end of last season and at the start of this campaign there were quite a few Norwich City fans getting on Daniel Farke's back... poor results and negative football being blamed. The mood has changed after eight wins in the last 10 games.
With old boy, Paul Lambert joining Town, we thought it would be good to look the effects of managerial change from an Ipswich fans perspective and his view on welcoming an ex Canary.
Turn the clocks back a matter of eight and a half months to Sunday 19th February, a few minutes to go and Luke Chambers scores at Carrow Road, much to the delight of the vast majority of the ITFC supporters in the Jarrold Stand, however short-lived it turned out to be. The majority, but oddly not all of them, as by this time some had decided they disliked Mick McCarthy more than they disliked Norwich.
McCarthy in his moment of joy/relief was spotted turning to the Town end and mouthing 'f... off!' towards these supposed 'fans' who were getting ever more vitriolic with their abuse towards him. The abuse was disgraceful, but he didn't do himself any favours either. Nearly all Town fans were of the opinion that Mick had run his course with Ipswich and he would go at the end of the season, the football was dire and the crowds were continuing to drop off. This one brief moment at Carrow Road was certainly one of the final straws for McCarthy and his departure was confirmed a few weeks later.
The calls were for a new, young up and coming manager to take the reins at Portman Road, and whilst he may not have been everyone's first choice, we appeared to have got just that with Paul Hurst, who had worked minor miracles on shoestring budgets at Grimsby and Shrewsbury. In he came and the first thing he did was make wholesale changes to the playing squad, bringing in several supposed 'young and hungry' types from League 1 and 2, and as usual some interesting sounding loan signings.
This was all quite exciting, but offset somewhat with the loss of several first team regulars from previous campaigns including the four main goalscoring threats of last season in Waghorn, Garner, McGoldrick and loanee Celina. Nevertheless when it came to the start of the season, most Town fans scoffed at the thought that we were suddenly amongst the relegation favourites, we would surely prove them wrong.
Turn the clock forward to now, and well, what can I say? The bookies and those saying 'be careful what you wish for' when Big Mick went were seemingly spot on.
The Hurst experiment, whilst always something of a gamble, has proved to be pretty much an unmitigated disaster. A disjointed squad lacking in confidence, cohesion and basic skills in some instances, with not much of an idea of who our best starting XI is has us rooted to the bottom of the league. Hurst and his backroom team have been given their P45s.
So, who should be coming in to try to right the sinking ship, none other than Paul Lambert. Blimey, all I can say to him is 'good luck', he's going to need it and then some. As already mentioned, we have our fair share of idiot fans who will say we should never employ any ex-NCFC staff, let alone the manager who oversaw two of the most embarrassingly one-sided thumpings we've ever seen in the derby. I hope I speak for the majority of ITFC fans when I take a rather more pragmatic approach to his appointment, when I say that under current circumstances he's likely to be as good an appointment as we are likely to get.
He had considerable success with you taking you from the depths of where we're currently heading in to League One up to the Premier League in a couple of years, followed by spells at Villa, Blackburn, Wolves and Stoke where though he may not have achieved what he set out to, he was hardly the architect of any problems either. Villa were going nowhere under Randy Lerner, and more recently Stoke were as good as down already. And there in lies the rub, are ITFC as good as down already? Certainly, yes we are if we don’t improve the playing squad soon, both players and systems, we maybe need some experienced out of contract players in before January, and if Marcus Evans's rumoured £10 million war-chest materialises in January, then it needs to be spent, and wisely too. Currently Guardiola couldn't get this squad playing well, not a chance.
Will the £10 million materialise though?
Evans is the real problem at Portman Road, besides the garbage on the pitch you only need to look at the state of stadium itself to see that his years of austerity are doing nothing to enhance our reputation, The Bobby Robson (North) Stand is covered in algae, and the Alf Ramsey Stand has at least four buddleia bushes growing in the gutters. Maybe they're keeping them for Christmas to hang some baubles and tinsel on them?
It's fair to say we are a total shambles right now. I dare say you lot will take a fair bit of enjoyment if 'Agent Lambert' comes in ad finishes the job of taking us down but really, if we do go down, I doubt very much at all whether any of the blame will be down to him.
I look forward to being invited to write a joyous piece on the fortunes of ITFC on this blog in the future, when that day will be, I've no idea but it's pretty unlikely to be this season.