It’s fair to say this season has been a huge flop for Ipswich Town. They started with such high hopes, the fresh young manager with his army of talented players given a chance at a higher level.
It backfired, massively. Paul Hurst was perhaps unlucky, any incumbent of the job was going to struggle. Ipswich have been in decline for a number of seasons and eventually it was going to come to a head.
Now it has, it’s been spectacular. They’ve been rooted to the foot of the table all season and a spell in League One is now inevitable. Some sides use it as a springboard to bounce back, others crash and burn hard.
The key for Paul Lambert and the Tractor Boys is going to be ensuring they make the right man the focal point of their assault. Coventry and Portsmouth lost their way, financially and in playing terms, and paid the price.
Blackburn bought Bradley Dack. Wigan had Nick Powell. Sunderland, well they have a squad of immense talent. All three knew that one bit of quality mixed with good, honest players will get you through.
At Ipswich, the game changer has got to be Alan Judge.
He looked a dead cert to leave this summer, the upheaval at the club was destroying player’s confidence and for a slick, skilful midfielder like Judge, the only answer would be to leave.
Only he didn’t take that option. He’s bucked the trend and signed a new deal. He believes in the cause and has shown some true loyalty to the club. That will go a long way with the fans and that link between the two has to be exploited.
Lambert simply must build his team around Alan Judge next season.
The fans love him and with his Championship ability, he should excel at that level.
If they can get him on the ball, happy in himself and cheered by the fans, the positivity should spread.
It’s not purely about his impact during the game either. The fans need something to cling to, someone to put their belief in. When he signed a new deal, Alan Judge became that man.