TWO things struck a chord with me at Portman Road on Saturday afternoon.

One was a mesmerising image – that of Town boss Paul Lambert standing motionless in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand, hands in pockets, absorbing the applause and warmth of the Blues fans.

The other was a conversation. A half-time catch-up with a club employee about the devastating repercussions of relegation, including the inevitability of job losses.

Both were rooted in my mind throughout the weekend, cycling round and round while the dust settled on a fateful day in the proud history of Ipswich Town.

The Blues' destiny was finally confirmed following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Birmingham City.

Failure to win was the final nail in their coffin; a desperate situation that has been on the cards for weeks, possibly months, but painless and upsetting nonetheless.

It's been a slow, drawn-out and torturous death, the reasons for which are both numerous and well-documented.

Not least a reckless transfer policy, a former manager who both over-estimated his squad and under-estimated the division and a current boss who has failed to get a tune from the instruments at his disposal.

Not to mention an owner who, despite eye-watering personal wealth, has allowed his club to wallow and languish, moving backwards to such an extent that they are now preparing for third-tier football for the first time in 62 years.

You'd think it would be the perfect time to extrapolate those points, to throw mud and point fingers.

But it seems those arguments have been exhausted already, on a loop since the start of the season and certainly since October, when Town first tumbled to the foot of the table and Lambert replaced Paul Hurst.

Instead, to me, Saturday served as a reminder, if any were needed, that football clubs are about people. Be it non-league, Ipswich Town or Manchester United.

And that's why those post-match images and my half-time chat really resonated.

It's about people – the players, of course, but especially the supporters and employees, the stalwarts, unsung heroes and lifeblood of the club.

For all the hardship, the lows, troughs and nose-bloodying punches, Town's fans have been outstanding this season and genuinely did themselves and their team proud on Saturday.

That's not me being sycophantic to those taking time to read this comment piece. It's fact.

A crowd of over 17,000, unswerving support and then that ovation and singing at the end – an “overwhelming” response, according to a clearly-moved Lambert. Exceptional.

At face value, it seemed perverse, almost inappropriate.

Why applaud a team that are having the season from hell, are without doubt the worst side in their division and now mathematically doomed to relegation?

I can't think of many, if any, clubs where that would happen. It would be jeers instead of cheers; abuse rather than adulation.

Instead, what happened highlighted something special – something that will be Town's greatest weapon in League One.

Namely a connection. A connection and empathy with the players and a connection and respect for Lambert.

That dynamic, unity and togetherness will be key next season, both on the pitch and off it.

In the dressing room, in the stands and behind the scenes; people united by a common cause – to dust themselves down, come back fighting and hopefully bounce back at the first attempt.