Kieran McKenna has given Ipswich Town fans a glimmer of hope and plenty of excitement after years of disappointment


Being a football fan is often like being a keen viewer of a soap series on TV. There are good episodes and there are bad episodes. You endure the lows of a disappointing cast and production team knowing that there will be brilliant episodes with star-studded actors and perhaps at the end of the series it will pick up an award for being better than the rest.

To continue the metaphor, Ipswich Town fans have had to bear the brunt of aging actors who have been some way past their peak for some time. The executive director has desperately tried to revitalise viewing figures by chopping and changing the script writers, cast and production team, but it’s been to little success.

As an Ipswich Town fan born only in 2001, my earliest memories of watching Ipswich Town consist only of second and third tier football.

Volunteering with Chelmsford City as a youngster limited my visits to Portman Road, but the earliest Town moment I can remember is a Tommy Smith scissor-kick goal during a 3-1 defeat to QPR.

Fast forward from that point by around 12 months and I remember sitting disappointed at Town’s play-off heartbreak at the hands of the arch-nemesis, Norwich City.

Christophe Berra’s red card was clearly the turning point in that second-leg, but perhaps the play-off dice wouldn’t have needed to be rolled had Mick McCarthy been given the ability to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window.

After McCarthy stormed away came Paul Hurst.

But 148 days after his arrival he exited the door he had entered with just one win from 15 – the lowest win percentage recorded by a permanent Town manager.

Despite the talk about all of his past experience (did you know he was at Borussia Dortmund?), Paul Lambert was unable to stop Town from suffering relegation to the third tier for the first time in 62 years. He tried but failed to achieve promotion at the first attempt. A third successive Paul (Cook) was entrusted with the reins when Lambert left, but the self-professed demolition man equally found promotion too big a task to achieve.

Throughout my life so far, supporting Ipswich has meant stagnation in the league, disappointing results and the many FA Cup upsets at our expense: I continue to have respect for the 202 away fans who went more than 300 miles north to Barrow and saw us defeated 2-0 in front of the ITV cameras.

But now, putting the half-hearted attempt at entertainment metaphors to one side, Town fans like myself have been reminded once again why they continually tune in to watch this series thanks to the presence of Kieran McKenna.

It is of course too early to make comparisons with the greats of Sir Alf Ramsay and Sir Bobby Robson, but McKenna’s free-flowing and attractive style of play has set the wheels turning in what could be an unstoppable train.

My day job as a news reporter for EssexLive means I won’t be completely focused on Ipswich Town but you can certainly bet that when I’m not tied up in court or writing about other activities in Suffolk’s neighbouring county then I’ll be visiting Portman Road more than I’ve ever done so before, as well as watching countless hours of match footage to try and bring my own angle of analysis.

I want to provide stories on this site about Ipswich Town which you, like me, will enjoy as a supporter of the Blues.

I’ll try to bring in-depth features, tactical breakdowns, supporters’ stories and much more. Let’s get started, and hopefully you’ll enjoy this as much as I will.

This article, written by Matt Lee, was initially published on SuffolkLive on June 15, 2023.


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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