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Talk of the Town - an exclusive weekly look at Ipswich Town
ESSEX COUNTY STANDARD TOWN CORRESPONDENT MATT PLUMMER DELIVERS HIS WEEKLY THOUGHTS ON THE NEWS FROM PORTMAN ROAD: You've heard the expression about kicking a man when he’s down.
Well, it seems some people want to do just that to Ipswich Town, by pedalling rumours of a training ground bust-up between Roy Keane and Damien Delaney.
It’s said the pair came to blows and the defender was told he would never play for the club again. What absolute rubbish!
Obviously I don’t know that for certain, simply because I wasn’t there.
However, I’d wager a large amount of money on the whispers being total, malicious fabrication.
It smacks of trouble-making and of someone stirring things up to create controversy to destabilise the ship.
We had exactly the same thing last month, when Keane was supposed to have had a spat with Connor Wickham.
Hopefully, though, most right-minded people can see behind the nonsense and good on the club for reacting swiftly with a strongly-worded denial.
In some ways, by responding to the situation, they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Issuing quotes almost gives credence to the rumours, whereas keeping a dignified silence would have prevented them being dragged in.
However, I can also see that a short, sharp and blunt refutal nips the situation in the bud and, hopefully, extinguishes the flames, rather than fan them.
In fact, Town have now reacted twice – once through an official spokesman and then again by quoting Delaney himself. The Irishman dismissed the claim as “total rubbish” and “completely untrue”, saying the only fight on his mind is one to win back his place in the Ipswich line-up.
Hopefully he’ll do just that as soon as possible because he’s clearly a linchpin – a pivotal figure at the heart of the defence.
On a separate note, Ipswich players were due to spread some festive cheer on the children’s ward at Colchester General Hospital yesterday.
I’ve been fortunate enough to report on their last few visits and always found it a humbling experience.
Footballers in general get so much criticism for the extravagant lifestyles that go hand in hand with their absurdly high salaries.
But when players do something good, making a positive impact in their community, they deserve praise.
In addition to gifts donated by Town, the squad paid more than £2,000 of their own money to buy extra presents for the children they visited at Colchester, Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals, St Elizabeth Hospice and Children’s Hospice in Ipswich and St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds.
It means each of the wards they visit will receive further gifts including toys, mini camcorders and portable DVD and CD players. How refreshing and uplifting is that?
I’ve also been really impressed by the players’ personal touch down the years.
Surprisingly, the best of all, from what I saw, was Ben Thatcher.
Far from being the hard man, as he was on the pitch, the defender had time for everyone and broke away from the group to make sure he visited every child and parent.
The players certainly put smiles on faces, as I’m sure they’ve been doing all week.
Now they need to start doing that on the pitch, too, by beating Leicester in tomorrow’s Sky game at Portman Road.
I’ve deliberately avoided discussing Keane’s position in this week’s Talk of the Town, simply because it’s such well-trodden ground after six straight league defeats and nine in 11 games.
However, there’s no doubt another setback and limp performance tomorrow would heap more pressure on his weary shoulders.
A victory, in contrast, could represent a turning point – a perfectly-timed early Christmas present.
Let’s hope it’s the latter scenario I’m discussing next week.