Ipswich Town fan RUSSELL CLAYDON says the lap of shame has become a sign of the times for the Tractor Boys.

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YOU can tell more than just who has been the most consistent player from a supporters’ player-of-the-year winner.

Last campaign, silky-skilled, curly-haired cheeky-chappy Jimmy Bullard (remember him?) took the honour, but after playing just a third of the season it said more about the rest.

This year, 22-year-old summer signing Aaron Cresswell rightly walked away with it while there was no argument for the golden oldies that had joined him.

The message from the fans was again clear: more of Cresswell’s up-and-coming hungry generation and we could have extended our season.

As it is, after the shambles of Millwall’s 3-0 win in Portman Road’s last game, a loyal band will still travel to Doncaster for what could have been an end-of-season party, but could now end with our worst finish for 55 years (17th if we lose at Suanders’ relegated side).

You can see Michel Vorm taking the Swansea award because of how hard it has been to breach them, while Robin Van Persie will take the Arsenal award because his flair and lethal finishing have made him the Premier League’s Lionel Messi and carried the Gunners.

But Cresswell is part of a defence that have conceded an embarrassing 75 goals across 45 games — only two behind Donny’s appalling record. And that tells its own story.

Don’t get me wrong, Cresswell has ability and has often been a shining light, but there haven’t been enough players like him.

Paul Jewell has at least admitted he got his recruitment strategy wrong.

There was no long-term plan, just like with the hugely frustrating contract saga. Why on earth they cannot see you

don’t wait until a few months before to offer million-pound-plus assets the option of staying with you, rather than walking for free, I cannot comprehend.

How many millions have we chucked away through this negligence? Grant Leadbitter, a mere £2.5 million, seems to be next, yet has held down a place in our team instead of giving someone else vital experience ahead of next year.

And that brings me to the kids. I haven’t regularly watched American under-20 keeper Cody Cropper enough to pass judgement on his ability, but should he make it, or all the other scholars we have declined to keep without giving a first-team chance to, that’s another big mistake.

Incredibly, Callum Bennett was the only one we deemed good enough but a failure to offer him more than a six-month deal means he is also leaving.

So where is the youth coming through for this long-term plan then ?

As another forgettable season peters out on Saturday it looks like being another very busy close-season at Portman Road.

But don’t expect big bucks to be spent, Jewell will have to put on his wheeler-dealer hat to convince Marcus Evans to part with any more cash.

If more Cresswell-esque signings do arrive, maybe the lap of shame that again brought down the curtain to a select few at Portman Road on Saturday will become a thing of the past, instead of a sign of the times.