Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon hopes 2012 will not see the same old mistakes repeated

AS FOOTBALL supporters, we learn to be pretty thick skinned; it’s a way of survival in an environment we have far too little control over.

But the thing that really penetrates that body armour is when your club goes back on their word and breaks a promise.

Chief executive Simon Clegg and manager Paul Jewell told us the contract crisis of 2011 that saw valuable assets Gareth McCauley and David Norris walk out of Portman Road for free, was a one-off. That was not to mention the money lost on goalkeepers Marton Fulop and Brian Murphy departing to the land of milk and honey for no more than a cheeky wave goodbye.

But here we sit, a year on from when the grisly details first began to take on significance with the very real prospect of losing our captain Grant Leadbitter, a player we shelled out £4million for along with Carlos Edwards (also expiring) as well as a host of other first-team players (16 in total in the squad, included highly-rated Josh Carson).

At the recent AGM Clegg told shareholders the club had gone forward over the last 12 months: what planet has he been on?

We need to see foundations being laid to sow the seeds of stability and success, but all I see is players the wrong side of 30 on big wages under-performing and plagued by off-the-field issues. Nowhere, apart from at left-back and marooned in the reserves (who, by the club’s choice only play friendlies now) do I see young, hungry talent. And what worries me the most: do we even have a plan? Or is it just let this side break up like last season and start all over again in the summer?

Someone needs to step forward and explain where we are heading, like the famous ‘operation Premiership’ completed ahead of schedule under the stewardship of David Sheepshanks (oh to have him back) and George Burley (a man who thrived on giving youth the same chance he took as a nipper).

The point at Leicester on Boxing Day was a valuable one, considering the wealth of individual talent in their squad. The game could have ended up very different though, if Paul Konchesky had not been given just a yellow card for bringing down Lee Martin in the area in what was a blatant goalscoring opportunity.

Despite results starting to return, it has been another frustrating and miserable year as a Town fan, so I hope and pray 2012 is better to be in blue and not just a repetition of the same old mistakes.