I bumped into a fellow River-Ender in the week. It was the first time we’d spoken since the arrival of Daniel Farke and a sizeable chunk of the Borussia Dortmund II backroom team, so we covered the usual ground and concluded, like most, that while there’s an undeniable tingle of excitement it could just as easily go south as it could north.
While the Yellow Army is desperately hoping for the latter, with football being the inexact science it is, just because a similar model is working so perfectly for Huddersfield right now it doesn’t automatically follow that the same thing will happen here.
One comment did hit home though; “This is the good bit, where’s there’s only hope and expectation and no actual football to get wound up about”.
It was said with tongue lodged in cheek but, equally, it was hard to disagree. And in many ways it’s the same for Messrs Webber and Farke.
Both have done nothing but enhance their reputations since arriving in the fine city; Webber by his brutal, clinical and precise use of thumbs up/thumbs down plus the signing of four new faces, and Farke by stylishly donning a Hugo Boss suit while holding a green and yellow scarf alongside said new faces.
In truth the opportunities to blot either of their copybooks have been limited and so on that score my friend was right – this really is a time to embrace and enjoy. Rarely do those in charge enjoy the unequivocal support from the masses that we are witnessing right now and so we all really should make the most of this time.
Pre-seasons by their very nature are fuelled by optimism and hope, and every football fan in the land dreams of a season of success for their team, but with City having taken a left turning that’s never been taken in these parts before, this particular pre-season is truly beyond the norm.
As things stand it’s difficult to envisage Webber’s prophesy of ‘only 12-15 of those [players] in the programme being at the club in August’, coming to fruition but with most players only now returning for duty at their respective clubs perhaps the real moving and shaking is still to come. And besides, given the size of last season’s squad it’s clear there will be more departing than coming in.
The irony of course is that if one year ago Alex Neil had announced the signing of a Barnsley striker, an on-loan keeper without a first-team game to his name, a Bosnian who’s just been relegated from the Bundesliga and an unheard of centre-back from the German fourth tier he’d have been given the treatment – no question.
The difference is Webber and Farke have credits in the bank and the club has carefully (and sensibly) made clear the route down which we are now heading. The expectations have been managed and most are on board.
Quite what will unfold on August 5 and beyond is for now a complete unknown and only then will those with their collective hand on the tiller really be tested. Three defeats on the bounce, one of them a bit a spanking, and the the mettle and nerve will be truly examined. So too the patience of the fans.
But that’s for another day. For now, as my fellow River-Ender reminded me, we should enjoy the calm.
Something else odd occurred this week. Our Suffolk brethren claimed a victory over us.
In the real world it hasn’t happened since April 2009, so perhaps it’s understandable that they perceive the signing of Tom Adeyemi – once one of our own and reportedly a target this summer – as cause for celebration and much gloating.
In fairness, reports of an open-top bus parade and another star above the badge have yet to be confirmed and I’m fairly sure that fans of a club with such an illustrious history are not really as ecstatic at they appear over the signing of journeyman (sorry Tom) who’s played for nine clubs in nine seasons. They’re better than that.
I’m equally sure that reports of a “meltdown” north of the border are greatly exaggerated.
We can do meltdowns – man, can we do meltdowns – and, in fairness, they don’t necessarily have to relate to anything worthy of the name but with the best will in the world, the decision by Adeyemi to adorn blue and white barely caused a ripple.
What did cause more than a ripple however was the reaction of some of our own to said signing.
To attempt to bring some perspective (I did say attempt), I have no idea if City were at all interested in signing Tom or not. My hunch is ‘not’ but even if we were, it’s clear he’d have only arrived here on the premise of being a squad player. South of the border he’ll be competing with footballing greats like Cole Skuse for a starting berth. Do the maths.
And at 25-years old and being from this part of the world, a move to Ipswich strikes me as not the most illogical decision in the world. He’s a professional, he needs to earn a living, he needs to play. So for some to throw four and seven letters words in his direction struck me as pathetic in the extreme.
Maybe I’m just getting old but I say good luck to him. Just not on October 22 and February 18.
This time next Sunday I’ll be penning my thoughts on events at Crown Meadow – home of Lowestoft Town.
A year on from the rained-off testimonial for Lowestoft stalwart Micky Chapman, City are making the trip again. While it’ll be every inch the gentle ice-breaker/cobweb blower Daniel Farke’s dugout debut, in not the most salubrious of surroundings, could be worth the visit.
See you there?