Team – Ipswich Town Nickname – The Tracker Bars, The Blues
The arrival of Mick McCarthy’s Tracker Bars at Bramall Lane will come after a long and tortuous international break. I watched 45 minutes of England’s qualifying fixtures and decided to mute the second half on both occasions. Instead, I took a quiet moment to myself. I poured a glass of wine, put on my CD copy of Da Hool’s “Meet her at the Loveparade,” reclined in my armchair, shut my eyes and very peacefully daydreamed about DEM BLADES. I believe this is what they call mindfulness…
…the McCarthy Era
Michael Joseph McCarthy was brought up on a diet of Barnsley Chop, packets of spice from’t corner shop and doses of anti-communist diatribe. It was an upbringing that would underpin his people-skills. McCarthy’s management style was famously under the spotlight at the World Cup in 2002. Then the manager of the Republic of Ireland, he caught a whiff of a plot that started at the heart of his squad, with Roy Keane.
Keane was angry. Angry at the poor working conditions in the training camp. Angry that the Republic of Ireland squad were made to sit in 2nd class carriages whilst the F.A of Ireland sat in first class. McCarthy recognised the creeping anger and, at the faintest whiff of ‘solidarity,’ lept into action. He prevented the creeping Red Peril and any idea of redistributive economics, which Roy Keane was espousing behind his back.
Indeed, it’s not from the benevolence of the shopkeep, that we can expect our spice but from his/her own self-interest. At least that’s what McCarthy would tell you. Manipulating the situation so that Roy Keane was forced to leave the World Cup, McCarthy left Steve Staunton, an experienced defender of the neo-liberal hegemony, to captain the side.
McCarthyism came to Ipswich in 2012 and his methods were successful in preventing their relegation in his first season in charge. In fact, he’s prevented relegation in consecutive seasons since, finishing in 16th position in the Championship in 2016/17. But 16th is not good enough for Mick.
For Michael Joseph McCarthy, 16th meant one thing – time for a purge. Brett Pitman had played 64 times for the Tracker Bars before McCarthy identified his communistic predisposition. The striker, in a fixture against Rotherham United, had passed the ball in a situation where he should have shot at goal. McCarthy never actually told Pitmann to his face, but in the dressing room after drawing the match, Mick told the squad that there were ‘enemies within.’ That was curtains for his Ipswich career.
McCarthyism is ruthless. Sometimes it’s fruitful, sometimes it’s not. Ipswich have started the season well, but it only takes a Chinese-whisper of Jeremy Corbyn in the squad could be in tatters.
The Tracker Bars are named after the chewy cereal snack that is commonplace in children’s lunch boxes and at the back of the cupboard. Ipswich took this name in relation to the cereal crops grown in abundance on Suffolk’s arable farmland.
With dimensions of 1″ x 0.5″ x 3″, the Tracker Bar is shaped into an oblong form by a large pressing machine. Like McCarthyism, sometimes they are fruitful (Burst of Berry) and other times they are not (White Choc Chip).
DEM BLADES will face an Ipswich side in 8th position who have been defeated in their previous two away fixtures in La Liga. However, if I had a formbook I’d throw it out of the window. Anything can happen in this league! (Well, not a Bolton win.) In a mediation between Mick’s McCarthyism and Chris’s wilder side, there should only be one winner.
Yet some extremely tantalizing decisions await Chris Wilder (O.O.O.O) ahead of the game. Both in regard to strikers – Billy in? Can you drop David Brooks? – but also in midfield – Carruthers in? Lundstram out? – as Paul Coutts (p.b.u.h) is suspended.
At least one decision makes itself. It had seemed likely that two of our right wing-backs would be unavailable for this weekends tie and, whilst Sam Baldock will be stuck in the treatment room it appears that Kieran will indeed be a free man.
I don’t make predictions but I think we’ll come away with 3 points.
Man of the Match