- EFL League One : Champions
- FA Cup : 4th Round
- Carabao Cup : 4th Round
- Papa Johns Trophy : Semi Final
Welcome to my latest blog post that will be covering our first season with Ipswich Town. The Town supporters were quite excited to get the season underway under the guidance of Dutch manager Michael Van Skidder.
The tractor boys had finished 9th last season under both Paul Lambert and Paul Cook without ever being in the race for the title so it was time for a fresh change. Van Skidder decided not to bring any new faces in to the club during his first season in charge at Portman Road despite having a transfer budget of £300,000 all be it a small budget at his disposal.
The Dutch tactician quickly implemented what can described as a Dutch 433 formation something that the Town fans enjoyed with the club playing an eye catching style of football. Before the Dutchman took the reigns the club had already brought in new faces to the first team squad including Van Skidders captain to be 23 year old central defender George Edmundson signed from Glasgow Rangers, Edmundson would go on to be voted the EFL League One player of the season after a fantastic campaign that saw him averaging 7.56 in 38 starts and 7 substitute appearances in all competitions including 7 goals and 1 assist.
Another new signing Tom Carroll shone in the Blues system contributing 24 assists and 9 goals in all competitions after making 47 starts and 3 substitute appearances averaging 7.34 over the season and big factor for Van Skidders Blues going on to win the title and promotion to the Championship at the first attempt.
Joe Pigot hit 20 goals in all competitions leading the way for Town in the goalscoring department followed by Connor Chaplin with 15 and the on loan Macauley Bonne with 12.
Town got off to a winning start by beating Shrewsbury 3-0 in front of an opening day crowd of just over 20,000 at Portman Road with both Kyle Edwards 2 and Sone Aluko with the goals to get the Van Skidder revolution underway. Things continued to go well for Town with big wins against Gillingham (3-0), Cambridge (6-2), Wigan (5-2), Morecambe (7-1) and Rotherham (4-0) before falling to a first defeat in the League at the end of October when Town lost a 5 goal thriller 3-2 at Lincoln City.
A crowd of just over 21,000 saw Town return to winning ways when Sunderland came to town. Wes Burns with a brace was the catalyst of a 4-2 win that put the Blues on top of the table before heading in to a busy last two months to end the year.
Wins against Charlton Athletic (4-1) and MK Dons (2-0) on the road were followed by two more home wins for Town against Plymouth Argyle (3-1) and Burton Albion (3-1). The media was in full flow repeatedly asking questions about promotion but Van Skidder always declined to answer, the Dutchman was just taking 1 game at a time and despite a 1-0 defeat at Oxford United the Blues went undefeated in December to end the year on top of the table with 60 points and an 8 point lead over Crewe in second place.
The domestic cups provided us with a chance to bring a little bit of revenue in starting with the Carabao Cup which we managed to reach the 4th round after wins against Cardiff City (0-0 won on pens), Oxford United (1-0) and Leeds United (2-1) at Elland Road before failing at the 4th round stage losing 2-1 against Middlesbrough.
The FA Cup always provides supporters a rollercoaster journey and Town kicked things off with a 3-1 win over Cambridge United in the 1st round setting up a 2nd round tie up with Charlton Athletic at the Valley which ended in a 1-1 draw needing a replay at Portman Road which we edged 1-0 thanks to a George Edmundson header. The 3rd round draw gave us a an away day at Molineux to take on Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers which we came away with a 1-0 win thanks to a first half strike from Joe Pigott. The 4th round draw set up The Old Farm Derby at Portman Road against Norwich City which ended in a 2-2 draw meaning a replay at Carrow Road which our Premier League rivals won a scintillating Cup tie 6-3.
The EFL Cup (Papa Johns Trophy) saw us reach the Semi Finals before losing to Sheffield Wednesday (1-0) at Hillsborough. We had advanced from the group stage after topping the group ahead of Colchester United, Gillingham and West Ham United U23’s. The first knockout round saw us beat Portsmouth 3-1 before beating Colchester United 3-1 in the 2nd round before beating Wycombe Wanderers 3-0 in the Quarter Final.
The Blues Are Crowned Champions
The January transfer window opened but Van Skidder did not bring any new faces in to the club, deciding instead to work with the players who had fit well and produced within the system that had been implemented on day 1. New contracts had been offered to George Edmundson, Luke Wolfenden and Idris El Mizouni with all 3 signing o the dotted line.
Results continue to be positive in the new year despite two defeats in January against Doncaster Rovers (0-2) and Sheffield Wednesday (1-2). The Blues continued to march on to the title with standout results away at Sunderland (1-0) and Crewe (3-2) Ipswich are heading back to the Championship and its the engine room made up of Sam Morsey, Tom Carroll, Tyreeq Bakinson, Idris El Mizouni and Lee Evans all stepping up when required. The last day of the season brought first and second together when Sheffield Wednesday visited the Blues in front of a crowd of 30,311 who the majority were there to see the Tractor Boys presented with the League One title which overshadowed a 0-0 draw.
During the season we had 3 longer term injuries to Kane Vincent-Young, Macauley Bonne and George Edmundson which we managed to ride out without any detriment to the results.
The Story Of The Season In Screenshots
I am over the moon with the performance of the squad during my first season in charge and felt that I did not need to add to the squad during the two transfer windows. I was pleased to see that the EFL League One team of the season included 7 of our players. The player who I was most impressed with was Tom Carroll who was an absolute beast driving forward from midfield, it was a joy to watch the 29 year old driving forward in the match engine. Despite our success this season transfer budget after getting promoted is half of last seasons budget set at £150,000 so not a lot to play with so I will be looking to our U23’s to make up the 1st team squad next season and maybe bring in a couple of free transfers to make up the squad and maybe look in to the loan market. I do think that the squad may need a more experienced player to come in and blend with the younger players.
A big season coming up with the board wanting us to fight against relegation, building the foundation to become an established Championship team before pushing to the next level of the Premier League and then European qualification were I can attempt to win the Europa League. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to check back to see how Town get on in the Championship next season.