In last Sunday’s column, I tried – unsuccessfully I should add – to dream up a set of results that would, upon the resumption of Premier League battle, see City haul themselves clear of the bottom three.
Even armed with every good luck charm in the book it was nigh on impossible to dream up a set of results that would create the little miracle of which Daniel speaks, but to coin the catchphrase of a previous postholder, they will undoubtedly be giving it a “right good go”.
The consequences of not performing at least seven little miracles were laid bare on Monday night when the club’s executive board, by the wonder of Zoom, told the club’s fan groups of the consequences of the double financial hit of COVID-19 and relegation.
As ever, as described eloquently by our Stewart Lewis, Stuart Webber, Zoe Ward and Ben Kensell were honest and up-front about the difficulties the club faces going forward and on the size of the black hole they are likely to have to contend with.
In a nutshell, the potential financial catastrophe they faced when they arrived – the one that precipitated the sales of James Maddison and Josh Murphy to keep the ship afloat – is likely to be dwarfed by the chasm that will open up if relegation is added to the effects of the pandemic.
Admittedly, this time around, the black hole will be one not of the club’s making and, certainly in terms of resilience, the club will not have the issue of residual, long-term debt to address, but in terms of pure numbers, the task to balance the books will be not dissimilar.
What will be different will be that other clubs, every other club in fact, will be in exactly the same boat. And Stewart (Lewis) reported that any player sales will still be on the club’s terms, so there is a little comfort to be sought there.
So, while we, as ever, come back to the tightrope on which this club constantly teeters due to its self-funding ethos, there remains an underlying belief that the club is geared up to steer itself through these choppy waters.
But it wouldn’t half be easier if those little miracles did occur.
The thought that we may have seen Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia play in the flesh for the final time is not an especially palatable one, however you spin it.
In these difficult and trying times, the chances to smile, even laugh, are few and far between, but I have to thank out friends down the A140 for offering up a routine that was infinitely funnier than anything Mrs Brown’s Boys or Michael McIntyre could muster (which admittedly isn’t that difficult).
To cut a long story short, there’s an EGM taking place this Tuesday during which League One’s clubs will look to agree on a way forward for the 2019/20 season. They will be looking at a range of options, one of which is “alternative play-off formats” that could be used to decide the promoted teams should, as is expected, the clubs vote to end their season early.
Bear in mind that Ipswich are currently seven points adrift of the play-off places, with an inferior goal difference to all but one of the teams above them.
Well, our friends down south have proposed that the League One play-offs be extended to eight clubs based on the current top 10, which would, as things stand… include Ipswich.
They also suggested a tweak; expand it to a wider 10-team tournament also involving the top two with three sides winning promotion, which would, as things stand… include Ipswich.
Or, for a pièce de résistance, according to the Daily Telegraph, they have also put forward a suggestion that the season is settled on where clubs were after 22 matches when they had played one another once, which would, as things stand… *ta-dah*… include Ipswich.
And to think of the ridicule and abuse our club suffered when Liverpool fans – wrongly as it transpired – decided that Norwich wanted to null and void the season under the self-serving premise of preserving their Premier League status.
But, fair play to Marcus Evans and co. If there’s a sliver of hope then why not chance your arm. Just try not to make it too obvious.
With less than two weeks to go to the PL resumption, many City fans are still not feeling it; some citing the fan experience as their raison d’être for going in the first place, and so why should they re-engage when there is literally no fan engagement to be had. And I get it.
Others cite the wealth before health approach of the EPL as they seek to appease their paymasters, and I get it… totally. Two weeks ago that was me. Even one week ago, in trying to predict the scores of the remaining nine games, I struggled to fully buy into the excitement felt by others.
But, after speaking to my dad in the week – someone who has been in strict isolation since the week before the official lockdown began – I’ve started to see it differently.
For him, the footballing void of the summer months is usually filled with cricket on the TV, which he happily views through his partial-vision, but there’s been nothing. Absolutely nothing.
His eyes don’t permit him the gift of reading a book or even a newspaper, he’s not seen a soul to speak to face-to-face, and his only company has been a year-old Lhasa Apso (named after Ben Godfrey) who’s more interested in chewing furniture than discussing the rights and wrongs of Daniel Farke trying a back-three.
It’s been a very long ten-and-a-bit weeks for him (and Ben).
So, when he tells me he “literally cannot wait” for the calendar to read ‘Friday 19th June’ and for the clock to strike 6pm, I understand… 100%.
For him, one of life’s little pleasures is finally returning. As much as he understands why it’s far from ideal for so many reasons, the gift of seeing those in yellow and green perform will mean the world to him. And therefore it will to me too.
Now if the lads could just see fit to deliver him a win…