Say what you want about Lee Bowyer, and many people say many things about him good and bad, this battling midfielder does what it says on the tin. He can dominate in midfield, he is a ball-winner who plays his heart out closing down the opposition, scraps for every ball, can pick a pass – oh and he can score goals from outside the box on a pretty regular basis.

So why then are many Ipswich fans unhappy, nay disgusted even, at the prospect of Bowyer signing for their club – probably this week?

The puritanical, holier than thou brigade that pervade message boards, point out at his rap sheet, on and off the pitch, shake their heads and groan ‘he is not the sort we want playing for Ipswich player’ yet conversely, as a footballer he is exactly what Ipswich need, and have done for years.

Town have had a soft underbelly for years and one of, admittedly there are many, reasons Ipswich have not been able to return to the Premier League.

Ipswich have not had a genuine, down and dirty, ball-winning midfielder all the time they have been in the Championship.

Matt Holland did the job better than anyone and does not have a bad bone in his body and relied on his incredible engine and outstanding ability to read the game to close down the opposition playmaker.

I lost count of the amount of times when I rated Holland a seven or eight and fans would berate me saying he had done nothing in the game, simply because they did not realise just how big an influence he had been, even in a sometimes in a negative, wonderfully effective way.

He never needed to make foul and stayed pretty clear of injuries to the extent where he set a club record of consecutive appearances.

The nearest to ‘nasty’ player Ipswich have had in relatively modern times was Mauricio Tarrico who did not mind a tackle, however late, but off the pitch was as nice a man as you could wish to meet. No wonder he is such a hit with Brighton fans as a player/coach.

Bowyer is probably the polar opposite of Holland, a captain who epitomized the traditions of Ipswich Town while leading them through a relatively successful period. It is inconceivable to think of Matt in a McDonalds dishing out serious racist abuse, or attacking anyone of any colour or creed outside a night club. You never saw him fighting a team-mate on or off the pitch, and he played alongside Kieron Dyer a few times, nor did he incur the wrath of referees the way Bowyer does.

But you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs and the reason why Charlton, West Ham, Newcastle United and Birmingham City coveted him was for his muck and bullets approach. Yes he is the most booked played the Premier League has seen, 101, which is four more than goals he has scored in nigh on 600 games, but the Premier League and its masters Sky did not invent football and there have been harder, nastier, dirtier, players than Bowyer through the years, although none at Portman Road that’s for sure.

Surely everyone deserves a second chance. Okay it doesn’t always work out, ala David Cameron’s faith in former NOTW editor Andy Coulson, but then again it can as proved so magnificently by John Wark when he rejoined Ipswich from Liverpool and repaid the warm reception afforded by the forgiving Blues fans. 

Bowyer, should he sign on his return from holiday this week, has a long way to get Town fans onside but they are a fickle bunch who seem to forgive most things and have accepted Marcus Evans as owner, so if the 34-year-old one-time England player, can boss the midfield, provide the ball for the playmaker, (and take your pick here from those on some fans’ wish-list Dyer, George Boateng, Nigel Reo-Coker or Jimmy Bullard, but more likely Carlos Edwards) and get Town in among the play-off contenders then he will be hailed as big as hero as any that has worn the three-star blue shirt.