Some questions need to be addressed by those involved in crowd control at that football ground in that town in Suffolk.
Why were City fans herded from the Station Hotel and encouraged to go to the ground from other parts of that town at a specific moment in the evening, only to find the gates locked for another ten minutes? Don’t they have phones there yet?
Why are the (small) turnstile numbers different from the (large) gate numbers, and why was nobody deployed with a loud-hailer to explain that silliness – so that the 1,800 or so trying to get in at the same time mostly went to the wrong queue and caused chaos at the front of it?
Why were more than 200 City fans, who arrived before kick-off, held outside until after the first goal? And why were they told the kick-off would be delayed when, clearly, that was not discussed inside?
Why were specific, identifiable home spectators allowed to leave their seats, swagger to area where the front of the South Stand meets the Cobbold, swear and make obscene gestures at City fans repeatedly?
Why was there no censure at all by stewards or police? Of course there were similar taunts from the Yellow Army, but when the same offenders continually approach from the blue bit, then, at the very least, have a word.
Why was the phalanx of City fans, which was eventually marched to the station after the game, allowed only a stop-start, ponderous progress by the police horses at the front? If home spectators were hanging around to vent their embarrassment, why were they not moved away?
And one final question, why are we so great?
I can answer that one.
In the five years I have contributed to this website I have tried to use my columns to address long-term, strategic issues. This time, indulge me. I need to write about one game: one moment in the long history of a famous club from a fine city.
Strewth, it was magnificent.
Neither the iniquities of the crowd control nor the Third World amenities at a decaying old ground can detract from one of the most stirring displays of my lifetime. They only get big crowds when we go there, and we won’t be going back.
So let’s talk systems first, and then heroes.
City’s diamond system evolved, I believe, because of the resources at the disposal of the sainted Paul Christoph Lambert. He likes a holding player. He saw the potential of wonderful Wes playing behind two strikers. And the diamond was born very early during last season’s League One romp.
But it is one thing deploying troops in a formation which suits the available players. It is another, more difficult but more important, task to drill them with work on the training ground to give the diamond a cutting edge and an unyielding compactness.
For two seasons now, the team’s defensive brief has been to keep the diamond shape intact when the opposition have the ball.
So Wes becomes the first line of defence, harrying and hassling across the whole width of the pitch, but behind him, the entire unit shuffles across laterally.
No matter which part of the park the opposition use as the focal point of their attack, they are confronted with full ranks of our chaps on guard ahead of them.
Only twice has that system failed significantly. In the two games against Watford this season, Malky Mackay’s men have moved up and down the pitch in such numbers that, seconds after overwhelming our attack, they were able to outnumber our midfield too many times.
But in the Suffolk town which was understandably denied city status, our diamond geezers defended with such confidence and competence that it filled me with hope for what might be a testing season in the Premier League.
City had better cover than Nigella Lawson on the beach.
So let’s talk individuals, and begin with those who made the case for the defence.
Goalkeeper John Ruddy has now completely emerged from the long shadow cast by Fraser Forster. Ruddy has obviously worked on the basics. He gets his angles right, plants his feet firmly, remains nicely balanced and catches the ball cleanly.
Simples! But what a joy it is, time and again, to see him dealing with shots with a minimum of fuss. How dispiriting that must be for opponents.
Russell Martin’s goal against the non-plussed neighbours was a testament to his fitness, adventure and alertness. Those who could not see his qualities when he first arrived should have remembered that he replaced Jon Otsemobor. Enough said.
No, wait. There’s more to say. He was pitched against that big lad in whom the home team place their hopes and dreams. Martin repeatedly funnelled the kid into areas where the boy’s inability to make the right choice was exposed.
Elliott Ward had obviously decided (or been instructed) to get to every ball first. I don’t recall a single occasion when he did not. There was one home game this season (terrible admission, but I can’t remember which…) when our colossus gifted the opposition a goal with a woefully feeble tackle.
Lambert’s response was to retain confidence in him, so that he regained his own confidence. Ours is his eighth club. He’s found a home.
Zak Whitbread had his crisis at Swansea and it affected his self-belief. But at that place north of Essex he was comfortable and composed again, especially after a caution which could have hampered less intelligent defenders.
Marc Tierney had to overcome my reluctance to welcome someone who clobbered Wes illegally at that London overspill town in Essex last season, plus my adoration of Adam Drury.
But Marc has made his mark – and in the 5-1, he tackled with the precision that was necessary after his booking. He still managed to put the frighteners on and to get forward with purpose.
David Fox was another who had a balance to strike after a yellow card. He needed to be a ball-winning screen in front of the back four as usual, but had to be sure of his challenges. He epitomised what Lambert had said before the game about playing with brains in the heat of a fearsome contest.
Andrew Crofts went about his business with an effectiveness which we are beginning to take for granted, but which we should cherish.
Over the years, that berth on the right of midfield in the City team has often gone to touchline huggers and crowd-pleasers. But it is hard to recall anyone whose contribution has been as consistent. The team who lost 5-1 had nobody in his league.
Andrew Surman never needed to persuade anyone that his touch is sublime, but he doesn’t go haring about like some of our men. He is a mellow Yellow.
But in the last few weeks, as games have become too important to be enjoyable to watch, this Surman’s message has been that quality shines through the frenzy. Watch the first goal in the Suffolk surrender. See how he appears to saunter during the build-up. Then watch the reaction when it was needed.
Mr Hoolahan’s 96th league appearance for the Yellows did not include a goal, or a mazy dribble passed six opponents. But to understand what Wessi does in away games, you had to be at Vicarage Road, where he wasn’t. Has a £250,000 transfer fee ever delivered better value?
Grant Holt. I chuffing love him, of course, but his performances against Forest and the 5-1 losers have shown what a bright footballer he is.
Hamstrung by his hamstring, he has dragged defenders out of position, made a nuisance of himself and played team-mates in with perfectly weighted passes.
Holt’s centres are delivered as he would like to receive them: driven into the area where a forward can attack the ball and a defender is facing his own line. Against those agitated Anglians, he set up the killer goal.
Holty was hobbling terribly by the time he forced one more gallop and produced the ball from which Simeon Jackson struck. It was a run and a pass which brought the losers to their knees.
Jacko. In the two games in which Holt’s mobility has been restricted, Simeon has done the running of two men.
It has been an extraordinary, unstinted effort which has earned the admiration and affection of everyone with a Yellow shirt – real or replica.
His goal was reward for one more, stamina-sapping run, his utter determination to get ahead of his defender and a natural striker’s understanding of time and space. That resolve and technique will bring goals in the Premier League.
And that is where this team is going.
If it has to be via the play-offs, then so be it. Who can doubt that Lambert would not prepare his men – psychologically and tactically – to beat any of the other contenders?
I happen to believe, however, that we’ll go up as runners-up.
I believe that, because I was at that ground in Suffolk on the night of 21 April, 2011.