WHEN I went into my editor's office yesterday and told him my back page plans for the Ipswich Star, there was something of a sigh.

My pitch was 'Paul Jewell calls for patience in his transfer dealings as he is made to wait by Premier League bosses still weighing up who is in and out of their bloated squads'.

 

My editor was right to hit back: 'Fans have been patient long enough'.

11 years in the Championship, failed promises, hopes dashed - T the Super Blues have certainly shown their fair share of patience.

But there is something of a sea-change occuring among supporters. They are not daft, they know the Championship is getting tougher, rivals (Blackburn) are spending ludicrous amounts on half-decent strikers (Leon Best) while Jewell dips in the bargain bin and in-tray marked 'free agent'.

After the much-publicised problems in last year's transfer market - Jewell himself admitting his somewhat scatter-gun approach spectacularly failed - expectations have dipped, both in transfer targets and therefore for the season ahead.

Fans don't want big names on big money, they are happy to slowly build with the likes of Elliott Hewitt arriving and more youngsters to follow.

Conversely, this gives Jewell a little more time in what is currently his last season in charge. There has to be an end to mid-table mediocrity but a solid top-ten finish, with maybe a brief flirtation with the top six, would be accepted by many.

Earlier this week, I was going to head the first of this new weekly blog: 'Ipswich Town fans have been spoilt'.

Here me out. While this summer they have been forced to live off scraps of rumours surrounding, largely, Championship or lower league players, 12 months ago it was so different.

Multi-million bids were made for Billy Sharp, Michael Chopra signed on the dotted line, we dared to dream about Jimmy Bullard and there was even a sprinkling of excitement about Ivar Ingimarsson and Nathan Ellington.

It is different this time around. But that's ok, fans have accepted this and will remain patient. For now.

TOMMY Smith is one of my favourite players at Ipswich Town.

Courtesy at all times to the press, mature when his contact situation was up in the air and a young footballer who is improving all the time.

He must be the envy of the dressing room having played in a World Cup and with an Olympic Games on the horizon.

I met up with him this morning when he was asked to address the nation, well Christchurch Park, to launch Ipswich's second day of the Olympic Torch relay.

Happy to help, he gave a small speech from the gallery of Christchurch Mansion before talking to me about the Games, his hopes for Town and also the anticipated signing of defensive rival Luke Chambers (plug time - read all about in the Star and EADT in the days ahead).

While community commitments are rightly part and parcel of a footballer's life, Smith admitted that addressing a few hundred who braved the rain was more nerve-wracking than anything Paul Jewell could throw at him!

LAST, but certainly not least, I would ask anyone who reads this to support a special charity football match and fun day this Sunday for a fantastic young man.

Mason Fountain is a seven-year-old boy from Ipswich, living with a brain tumour, who has decided to devote his time to raising money to provide children who are ill, like him, with special treats.

The fun starts at noon until 5pm at Ipswich Wanderers' Humber Doucy Lane ground and includes two fundraising football matches. The second sees a celebrity team - headed by Fabian Wilnis - take on a team of Town fans who have paid for the privilege.

There is fun for all the family including bouncy castles, gladiator dues and a hog roast and BBQ.

I will be dusting off my boots and showing Wilnis how it is done, or maybe not, in the second match so for anyone playing against me, please be gentle as my knees are weak. And for anyone watching, I am dreading the match report and player rating!

More information on this super charity is available from www.masonsmagic.co.uk

 

* The blog is back and will appear here every Friday throughout the summer and then Monday and Friday once the season starts

* Please feel free to leave comments or ask me any ITFC-related questions (so not about cheese) below or by emailing dave.gooderham@archant.co.uk