Written by Liam Young
A new era off the pitch. Will we see it on the pitch?
Another wacky 10-month journey that is the Championship kicks off again this weekend as Ipswich Town look to turn from boring run of the mill mid table side to the great entertainers.
This weekend see’s newly promoted Blackburn Rovers in town as Paul Hurst looks to get his managerial bow at Portman Road off to a flier.
It is unlikely that the former Grismby and Shrewsbury manager will turn Town into perennial promotion contenders overnight but the fare on show might bring a buzz around the old ground.
The signs look good especially with what was on show at the weekend in a fairly impressive 2-1 defeat to West Ham.
Hurst had some of his signings on show but more important was his style of passing football with high energy pressing coming through from the opening whistle to wet supporter’s appetite.
Ellis Harrison was impressive getting on the scoresheet and the former Bristol Rovers frontman will have to hit the ground running as he is likely to be a replacement for want away striker Martyn Waghorn.
Losing Waghorn would be a blow after being top scorer and Town’s most inspirational player in his first season in Suffolk but money talks and that is something the club just can’t compete on.
Hurst caught the eye of the Ipswich hierarchy after impressive spells as manager of Grimsby Town and then most recently Shrewsbury Town.
He was so close to leading the Shrews to the Championship last season but lost out to Richie Wood’s extra time goal to lead Rotherham United to the second tier instead.
This is the highest-level Hurst will have managed in his career so it is a gamble of sorts but he is young and upcoming manager that has got the best out of limited resources.
Perfect for Town then.
Just as hungry as he wants to succeed, the players he has brought in come with the same qualities of unproven but excited younger lower league players ready to make an impression in Europe’s fifth best league.
Blackburn will come to Portman Road on a high after making an immediate return to the Championship following their last day relegation in 2017.
The bookies have Ipswich as a favourite to go down so a win over Blackburn on opening day will be massive to put them right and cement the feel-good factor surrounding the club right now.
Results will likely be inconsistent with such a youthful squad but if Hurst can get the style right, then fans will see the building blocks of Town’s long term future.
Town will probably end the season remaining a Championship club for the 17th year in a row but at least the fans may enjoy the football for the first time in a long while.