|[Blog] For the Sake of My Football Club, Please Go |
Written by GlasgowBlue on Monday, 21st Nov 2011 11:47
I've been supporting Ipswich since seeing my first game as a wide eyed 10-year-old at Portman Road in 1974. I've seen the good times and the bad. I've experienced the joys of winning the FA Cup, the UEFA Cup, promotion and play-off glory with the anguish of relegation and play-off failures. In 37 years of following this club, I have supported every manager, whether good or poor. I've never called for a manager to be sacked and, until now, I thought I never would.
This isn't a knee-jerk reaction to a poor run of results. This isn't a call for us to become a hire 'em and fire 'em club. It's a call for the owner and directors to admit they have made a mistake in appointing Paul Jewell and to rectify that mistake before any more damage may be done.
I would rather Mr Jewell could see his failings, admit that both his failure at Derby and the two years out of the game that followed his departure has left him 'out of touch' with the modern game, and do the decent thing by resigning. If he won't then the club should make that decision for him.
People have asked me on the Message Board, "Why were you prepared to give Roy Keane so much more time than Paul Jewell?", and yes, to the very end, I was a vocal supporter of Roy Keane, as I was of Jim Magilton.
My answer is simple. Roy Keane, like Jim Magilton before him, was a young inexperienced manager. As part of his learning curve he was liable to make mistakes, and for every one step forward I would expect us to take two steps back. We are a club that in the past has allowed young managers to find their feet. In his first two seasons Sir Bobby was flirting perilously with relegation, surviving at the end of the 1970/71 season by goal difference alone.
Like Jim and Roy, there were reports of bust-ups with players in Sir Bobby's early days, but the club stuck by the great man and Ipswich prospered under his management.
Paul Jewell, however, was supposed to be the finished article. The real deal. The experienced manager who had seen it, done it and wore the T-shirt. After all, he had taken two small unfashionable clubs in Bradford and Wigan to the Premier League and kept them there.
However, the catalogue of mistakes made by Mr Jewell in recent months are of the sort you would expect from a rookie. Not from somebody who has managed five English clubs in 13 years.
We should start first of all with results because it's a results business first and foremost. Now I am not a football fan that expects to win every match. We will lose games of football. Of course we will, but it's the manner of our defeats that causes me such concern.
Now I can accept that teams, no matter how good, get a hiding every so often. Already this season we have seen Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United on the recieving end of high scoring defeats. But under the stewardship of Paul Jewell we are making a habit of conceding three or more goals in a game.
And what is most worrying is that these high scoring defeats come back to back. You would expect, after a game where we concede a high number of goals, that the manager would attempt to rectify the situation by both work with the players in training and selecting a more 'solid' team together with the emphasis of not conceding. Paul Jewell doesn't seem to have the ability to do so. Whatever he is saying, the players clearly ain't listening.
In the last seven months of football, September excepted, we have conceded three or more goals 11 times:
March: Reading 1-3, Watford 0-3
You may conclude from those results that we have a defensive problem. However, in those games Jewell used three different goalkeepers (Arron Lee-Barrett, Márton Fülöp and David Stockdale) and various permutations of 13 defenders (Gareth McAuley, Darren O'Dea, Damien Delaney, Carlos Edwards, Troy Brown, Mark Kennedy, Aaron Cresswell, Tommy Smith, Jack Ainsley, Reece Wabara, Ibrahima Sonko, Ívar Ingimarsson and Danny Collins).
Now it can't all be the fault of these 16 players. It must surely bring into question the ability of the manager to set out a team that doesn't concede so many goals on such a regular basis.
I would also call into question some of Paul Jewell's tactical decisions. Taking aside his persistence with the diamond, which most people had acknowledged has been found out by the opposition some weeks ago, he has made some bizarre decisions that has seen Michael Chopra, in the first six games of the season, isolated and unhappy on his own as a loan striker, Jason Scotland completely ignored at the beginning of the season until his goal against Leeds forced Jewell's hand, Grant Leadbitter played as an orthodox winger, Tamás Priskin totally ignored for the entire season then parachuted into the starting XI against Doncaster then being bombed out of the squad again after scoring two goals in the recent internationals.
Then there was the decision to play our third choice goalkeeper against Norwich. With no prospect of making the play-offs ourselves, it was an opportunity to stop our deadliest rivals from making the automatic promotion places. We were humiliated that night thanks, in no small part, to mistakes made by the goalkeeper.
This result was followed by the defeats to Swansea and Leicester as detailed above, and with the departure of McAuley, Brown and Eastman it was obvious that signing two central defenders over the summer was a priority. We signed Ívar Ingimarsson, a 34-year-old injury plagued defender who had been released by Reading, a club with similar ambitions as ourselves.
And hey presto, he is crocked after one game which is then followed by the Saints/Posh nightmare. Games that we may have faired differently in had the manager listened to the come and get me plea from Ibrahima Sonko. Paul Jewell ignored those pleas. Paul Jewell knows best.
An example of what can only be described as reckless gambling by the manager is the current goalkeeping situation. After firstly dropping him for no good reason Mr Jewell sold on Márton Fülöp to make way for the loan signing of David Stockdale. Now nobody can deny that Stockdale isn't a class act but whilst we are sliding perilously closer to the relegation places, we are an injury to 39-year-old Mark Schwarzer away from the prospect of a relegation dog fight with ALB between the sticks. That is negligence from the manger at the very least.
I could add the signing of Premier League journeymen, has-beens and never weres, that has seen our team, synonymous with bringing through our own young talent from Wark to Wickham, become the Dad's Army of the Championship whilst young players who showed great promise such as Luke Hyam or Shane O'Connor have been left in limbo.
Why on earth did we sign Nathan Ellington? A man who has scored just ten goals in English football over the past five seasons. Those who expressed doubt over his signing were assured that if anyone could get the best out of him then it was Paul Jewell. They obviously don't remember his spell at Derby under Paul Jewell where he scored a total of three goals in 27 games. The mixture of loan signings and golden oldies reminds me far too much of the Norwich team that was relegated just three years ago.
Another concern is the poor form of the love of our lives, Mr Jimmy Bullard. On his return I made tentative enquires to the availability of Mrs GlasgowBlue for him and an appointment at the hairdressers for my perm was booked, but he seems a shadow of his former self. Is it the lack of pre-season football? It didn't appear to affect him last season when he seemed to almost single-handedly drag us up the table.
Again, I believe he is the victim of the poor tactics of Jewell, playing deep at the bottom of the diamond. Pressed by opposition attackers, isolated from our forward players he doesn't have the time or freedom to play his natural passing game.
Paul Jewell seems to have assembled a talented squad that is not playing as a team and if we need a crystal ball to see how events will unfold in the next few months then we need look no further than Derby County. The last team managed by Paul Jewell.
Jewell took over a Derby side heading for relegation from the Premier League, of that there is no doubt. Billy Davies had done a remarkable job in getting them to third in the Championship, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion but they were rock bottom when Jewell took the job.
But let's not kid ourselves that he took over in the final few months of Derby's Premiership campaign. He joined in November and was given funds to ensure that they at least put up a fight for survival or plan for life back in the Championship with a much better squad.
In the January transfer window he signed eight new players: Alan Stubbs, Emanuel Villa, Danny Mills, Robbie Savage, Laurent Robert, Hossam Ghaly, Mile Sterjovski and Roy Carroll. They went 21 league games without a victory.
Still, with the core of Billy Davies's promotion-winning squad plus the January additions they should have had more than enough about them to mount a successful promotion challenge. But this is Paul Jewell we are talking about.
In the close season he brought in 13 players: Paul Connolly, Paul Green, Jordan Stewart, Kris Commons, Nathan Ellington (yes him again. Well if anyone can bring out the best in the Duke etc, etc), Steve Davies, Martin Albrechtsen, Liam Dickinson, Rob Hulse, Przemyslaw Kazmierczak, Aleksandar Prijović, Andrejs Perepļotkins and Nacer Barazite, before adding Luke Varney and James Tomkins on loan once the season had started.
After signing 23 players in just 12 months they sat, in December, 18th in the Championship table, just five points from the relegation places. In keeping with the rather bizarre statements we have become used to hearing from him about "lack of pace" and "we can't defend", Jewell came out with another gem, stating his desire to bring fresh legs and impetus into a squad hit by injuries and a busy fixture list. After signing 23 players for Christ's sake.
This is the way I see Ipswich going if we continue to be managed by Paul Jewell.
Jewell seems to be running out of excuses. I'm fed up with him saying how he doesn't talk about other club's players and then coming out in the press with the opposite. I don't want to hear another "I tried to sign him" quote. I don't want to hear him say how he envies the pace of other teams when he is responsible for signing so many players over the age of 30 that lack pace.
To be honest, I'm fed up with Paul Jewell and I wish he'd go now.
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