Blues 2 Ipswich Town 1 ... Ron's Report

Last updated : 26 November 2008 By Richard Barker
I apologise to my most loyal fans that the usual structure and superb inter-paragraph linkage is absent...

- Blues started where they left off against Swansea - plenty of tempo to their play, plenty of urgency, some good football and two goals within 15 minutes.

- As I might have mentioned once or twice in the past, I'm not a fan of Liam Ridgewell, and he still looked nervous defensively at times, but it was great for him to score in the first home game after his cock-up and subsequent abuse in the Charlton game. It was a cracking finish too - he didn't rush it and volleyed it expertly. Cameron Jerome would have missed.

- Blues' second goal was excellent - Seb Larsson (who was much better tonight) took the unusual step of not throwing himself to the ground when fouled and did superbly, and just as you thought the chance had gone as Larsson's cross just missed Marcus Bent, Kevin Phillips did what he does best - finished with minimum fuss. You won't see many better goals at Blues this season.

- James McFadden was tremendous. His work-rate was the best I've seen in a Blues shirt - he was constantly tracking back defensively, covering for others and he as much as anyone dictated the tempo for Blues.

- I don't want to sound like I'm moaning again, because in truth, there were plenty of positives tonight. However, the shame was that Blues again seemed to take their foot off the gas. In the latter stages of the first half, and certainly early on in the second half, they got very, very sloppy. Fortunately Ipswich were a lot poorer than I'd expected them to be, and but for Alex Bruce's late goal, never looked like taking advantage. How many times have we all said though that we'd like to see Blues get a couple of early goals and go on to spank someone? They could have done that tonight - Ipswich were there for the taking. It's a shame that Blues did take the tempo out of the game at 2-0 and started knocking more backwards and sideways passes, whereas they'd been bright and direct early on.

- Granted, the injury to Lee Carsley probably affected Blues' tempo and game. Nigel Quashie and Mehdi Nafti both did ok in there, but for every two decent bits of play, they'd then look more like Dumb and Dumber, doing something stupid, misplacing a five yard pass or finding an Ipswich player in space.

- In the end, I'd suggest there were more positives than negatives, but this really could have been a game that Blues drove on in to hammer the opposition, and it's a shame that they didn't. Can't have everything though.

- The attendance was appalling. Yes, there are possible reasons why, but there is a recession in Norwich and there's Christmas coming up in Sheffield. Those are reasons attendances should be dropping nationwide, not just in Small Heath. "But we've had enough of David Sullivan and the Golds!", I hear you cry. Well, fair enough, lots have and whilst I don't necessarily agree with all the points in that regard, trust me, I can understand and accept the grievances there. Sullivan and the Golds weren't playing though, and nor were they on the bench. If you don't like Sullivan's quotes, then dont buy a matchday programme, don't buy the Evening Mail and don't click on any internet links with Sullivan in the headlines. You'll soon get over the "bullshit" that people suggest he speaks.

- People moan about underachievement, well, Blues are in a very good position to achieve something this season. The squad is arguably the best at this level, and some of the players are better than the division that they're playing in. Some of the football (in patches, admittedly) is excellent. If you're a fan of the football club (and that's what it is, not a couple of old blokes with lots of money), then you surely want to see your team doing well and winning more games than they lose? Well, they're doing that, and for pretty much every home game there's offers on or prices are reasonable. As far as I can see, too many people have made it about the owners of the club rather than the club itself.

- "Fair enough, but if we go up, we'll under-invest and come back down again". Well, maybe, but why not wait and see? If that happens, I'll moan as much as the next man, as it is frustrating. We're not there yet though. We held on to our best players over the summer and have assembled a squad that should get promotion (if not win the title). Regardless of the fact that we brought in Kemy Agustien on loan rather than spending £5m on a midfielder, that's still where we're at. If people want to watch a successful team, then this is a good season to do so. Deal with next season when it comes around.

"We're sick of all the hype and broken promises", people say. Well, the hype and broken promises aren't playing each week. The team that is is doing quite well. It's a shame that more people don't want to see that.

- Wolves are flying at the moment, and I don't care what anyone says, Saturday will be tough. I may moan about the performance afterwards, but rest assured, getting a point will be a fine result.