YOU can tell a lot from the noises coming out of a football club’s PR machine, if only you know how to listen to them.
Sometimes it is the unsaid which you should be tuning into most attentively.
And in the case of the thorny issue of contract renewals at Portman Road, a statement new deals have been sent out to Messers McAuley and Delaney should read: ‘David Norris could be on his way’.
After a five-hour chat in Ireland about plans for next season with Marcus Evans and Simon Clegg recently, you can be sure one eventuality Paul Jewell is now planning for is life without Norris.
After his most successful goal-scoring season (9 in all competitions), the cards are now firmly stacked in the favour of our captain when it comes to negotiations. And the publicity given to Portsmouth’s interest (their manager claiming our CEO made the bid public - note how the ITFC PR machine remained quiet) must only serve to strengthen his hand. And will the club be prepared to bow to that?
I think not. And that is because Jimmy Bullard, despite spin a deal may not be within Ipswich’s financial reach, is the number one target, and Clegg and Evans know if they go all out for the fans’ favourite, season tickets sales will bounce back after the bad PR following the announcement of a 6% hike.
Of course, if Norris leaves for nothing, after our board sanctioned splashing £2 million on his signature from Plymouth in January 2008, you could spin it the fans are about to pay for the club’s mistake - presuming we have to spend to replace him, and if we’re serious about going up, surely that is a given?
The other thing which could have slipped your radar in the last week is another midfielder: Kieron Dyer. It seemed harsh of me to have dampened the mood on his arrival by suggesting he needed us more than we needed him. But it looks like we do now have to face up to that reality. As I write this. Dyer remains receiving intensive treatment in a bid to make one last appearance in blue and white, at Burnley, before his loan spell runs out (April 9). And if he fails that means just over 100 minutes on the pitch from 360 available (under 30% completed).
Burnley are a side (with an injection from Town target Nathan Delfouneso) I heavily fancy as this year’s Blackpool. The decision to leave us with just two senior strikers, by sending Tamas Priskin out on loan, looks strange, though could make good financial sense if a permanent deal is done. But Turf Moor will be a great test of where we’re at ahead of next season - and no-one will be able to spin that.
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