Regular readers will know that I am a lifelong fan of the mighty Ipswich Town. We are currently in the midst of what is commonly known as a 'transitional' season, ie we're a bit crap at the moment but will hopefully get better. At least we have now come out of administration.
And the new manager, our ex-skipper Magic Jim Magilton, has no experience as a manager and was chosen almost entirely because he is cheap. But to be fair to him, he's not doing too badly. We are currently moping around in mid-table and have had a mixed bag of results. I don't expect us to be in trouble come the end of the season, but I think there are quite a few teams better (or more consistent) than us, so I doubt we'll be going for promotion either.
Our biggest problem appears to be in defence, so it was with interest that I read in this weekend's redtops that we appear to be interested in signing one of our old boys, Newcastle centre-half Titus Bramble.
There was a time when we appeared to be the Newcastle reserve team, with many of our players being signed by ex-Ipswich legend Sir Bobby Robson. Titfuck Bumble, as he is affectionately known, was one of those, and we sold him to the toon for £6m. Apparently we would get him for £500k.
Although he is error-prone, on his day he is one of the best defenders around. I remember watching him against Inter in the Eufa Cup when he marked Christian Vieri completely out of the game. He was an absolute collosus in that game. However, I also remember him in the return leg when Vieri got a hat-trick where he was not so much collosus as calamitous. Therein lies the wonder of Mr Bumble. But I for one would be more than happy to have him back.
On a separate note, he is yet another player to suffer the curse of leaving Ipswich Town. It always happens... Players either join us or come through the ranks and play really, really well... And then when they get sold, they just do not seem to be able to play at the same level. I can think of hardly any players that have left Ipswich for so-called bigger clubs that have gone on to do well, Darren Bent being the notable exception.
In recent years, there was Matt Holland - inspirational for us, never missed a game. Bit-part player for Charlton; Kuqi - 20 goals a season for us, sold to Blackburn where he was crap, now rubbish at Palace; Bumble; Kieron Dyer - electric for us, distinctly average at the toon, when he's not injured; Darren Ambrose - scored for fun with us, could barely get a game at toon, now can't even get into the squad at Charlton; Tommy Miller - scored 20 a season for us from Midfield, can't hit a cow's arse with a banjo for Sunderland; Marcus Stewart - same as Tommy Miller, now with Yeovil. Richard Wright - future England goalkeeper with us, but left for Arsenal and now is 3rd choice keeper at Everton. And that's to name but a few.
I don't know if we are just extremely good at getting the best out of mediocre players, or whether they just miss us and pine. Mr Cobbold, when he was chairman was once asked (after a particularly bad run of results) whether Ipswich was in crisis. He replied "Crisis? The only time we have a crisis is when we run out of white wine in the boardroom". I would like to think that is perhaps part of the reason why players don't settle as well at other clubs. Ipswich has always done things the 'Ipswich Way'. We know we're a small club. A small club, with a big history. And perhaps there is a little bit less pressure, a bit more realism of what we can - and can't - achieve.