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[Blog] Paul Jewell Can Stay, But His Transfer Policy Has to Change
Written by ThatMuhrenCross on Friday, 6th Jan 2012 13:28

It is just over four years since Marcus Evans completed his takeover of Ipswich Town, sparking great hope among supporters that a return to Premier League football would not be far away for their beloved club.

We are now in 2012, with another transfer window open for trading, yet on the pitch at least, the club finds itself in a worse position than it did when Evans took charge.

By the end of the 2007/08 season, the club had finished in an impressive eighth place, with nothing but optimism around the club. Many believed that with Evans's money, the club would strengthen significantly enough in the summer to make a real push for promotion.

It wasn't bad, as the Blues ultimately went onto finish ninth, but the reality of the situation was that they had failed to build on what had been achieved the previous season.

The manager, Jim Magilton was sacked, and it proved to be the beginning of a downward spiral that leaves fans wondering whether the club will even be able to avoid relegation from the Championship this year.

The Manchester City-esque formula of spending big equals success has certainly not proved to be the case at Ipswich. It has had the reverse effect. Eye-watering sums of money have been invested in players since Evans's take over, with the club receiving the sort of backing that few clubs these days could possibly dream of.

In theory, then, Ipswich Town Football Club should be much better off than their position of 20th in the Championship now, but the fact is, they are not. They have conceded the most goals in the division, and have certainly not scored anywhere near enough to be considered as even contenders for a play-off position.

Furthermore, a home record that reads won five, drawn none, lost seven is a long way short of what you would expect of a side with lofty ambitions.

Whether 40 per cent of fans believe Simon Clegg is to blame for the club's demise, or not, the plain fact of the matter is that he absolutely is not. The seven per cent who blame Evans must clearly be on another planet.

For all I would be against pointing the finger of blame at the manager, the sad truth is that Magilton, Roy Keane and Paul Jewell, sadly, have been the problem. The current crop of players can hardly go blame free either.

To use Jewell as an example, his transfer policy at the club has appeared shaky at best, with the likes of Ivar Ingimarsson, Lee Bowyer and Nathan Ellington coming into the club the wrong side of 30 and offering very little to the team.

I am all for seeing experienced players being brought in to help the younger players along, but the fact that the average age of the squad has risen from 23 to 27 in the past five years, with no fewer than 11 players over the age of 30 at the club now, is of huge concern.

Just yesterday I was speaking to a good friend of mine, a Southend supporter, while watching the Newcastle versus Manchester United game at McGinty's in Ipswich, and he happened to raise a highly valid point.

“Most of the players Ipswich sign these days,” he said, “have played for many years in the Premier League, earning more money than you could care to think about.

“They come to Ipswich thinking about winding down their careers. If they don't get back into the Premier League, it won't be any skin off their nose. They have got nothing to prove.”

And he was right. He is used to watching League One and League Two football a lot of the time, and told me about the many young, promising players in the lower leagues that would do anything to get the chance to play at a 'big club' like Ipswich, with these supposedly Premier League standard facilities.

You look at players like Aaron Cresswell and Josh Carson; they still have their best years ahead of them, and still dream of playing at the highest level, whether that be with Ipswich or some one else. Both of them give their absolute all for the club, and it is no coincidence either, that Cresswell has arguably been Town's best player this season.

There were some reports linking Ipswich with a move for Newcastle's Alan Smith earlier in the week [subsequently dismissed by the club - TWTD Ed]. Although he was a top player in his day, there is no way in this world that he would have the necessary passion to help Town to promotion.

It is time that Jewell, or as the case may prove to be over the next few weeks, another manager looks to the lower leagues for young, hungry and ambitious players who can take this club on.

Many Town fans will not thank me for this – but Norwich City are the model that Ipswich should be basing themselves on. Before this season, hardly any of their players had played in the Premier League, and there was nothing that each of those individuals wanted more than to play there as soon as possible.

The transfer window is open, and it looks like Evans is going to back Jewell with a bit of money to spend, but now he must spend it wisely. Players from the lower leagues will come at a fraction of the price, but ultimately will be far more beneficial to the football club in the long run.

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

JimmyJazz added 14:38 - Jan 6
Good post and the conclusion regarding players who had already done it at Premier League level was also something I had concluded. PJ said he wanted experience which is fine and I looked at QPR last season. Warnock brought in experience in the shape of Derry and Clint Hill, players with vast Championship experience but no doubt still had the desire to play at Premier League level. That's the kind of experienced player we need.

PimsNumber1 added 14:38 - Jan 6
agree with that

irishtim added 14:57 - Jan 6
Good blog. Lets blend youth with a few senior dedicated pros & build a team for the next decade.

Daleyitfc added 15:58 - Jan 6
Pretty much agree : although I would prefer to see no more (net) money spent on transfers at all from this point on (if we buy we must sell first) - that would focus Jewell's mind on getting it right to a much greater extent.

Garv added 16:20 - Jan 6
Sorry I'm being picky, but Ellington is 29, or atleast was when he signed.

Generally agree otherwise.

With the advantage of hindsight (can't stress that enough) I too would be tempted to give Jewell and any forthcoming managers a shoestring budget and force them to pick up cheap youngsters from lower leagues, and in turn force Jewell/new manager to put more emphasis on coaching and working with what you have.

This is because ever since we started spending big money (Magilton Summer '08, Keane Summer '09, Jewell (less so) Summer '11 it has not helped us progress or made us better one bit.

However the seasons in the last ten years where we saw results and progress and possible future success (Royle 03/04, 04/05, Magilton 07/08) were based on low funded teams (might be wrong about that Magilton season mind).

I think the best bet is to really test your manager and see what he can do with limited funds, that is the sign on a good manager (Lambert) because at the end of the day, being a football manager is/should be more about COACHING than being able to buy good players. Grass roots football is all coaching isn't it? They don't have transfer windows!

llewej_tuo added 16:50 - Jan 6
quote -- the sad truth is that Magilton, Roy Keane and Paul Jewell, sadly, have been the problem ..... --> WRONG

they dont play the game ! the players do. The players are entirely the blame every time. A manager can say and do what he likes, but he can do nothing once they cross that white line ....

Garv added 17:24 - Jan 6
Why is your username llewej_tuo then??

ThatMuhrenCross added 18:05 - Jan 6
Yeah, Ellington is now 30.

brittaniaman added 19:19 - Jan 6
When the players cross that line the manager CAN STILL BE PART OF THE TEAM, After watching Cotterill last mon. he was giving all sorts of directions to his players, even organising there defence of a corner, just part of his job he was doing !!!!!! and they were taking notice of him

Vic added 20:41 - Jan 6
Good blog. I fully expect to see much younger players coming it on permanent deals now; I don't think he'll last long here if they don't.

I for one felt very, very let down by his admission that he succumbed to short termism when all the time he was telling us it was a long term project. I'm not sure I'll be so ready to believe him in future - and I'm firmly in the Jewell in camp (for now).

Dowson added 22:00 - Jan 6
Very good blog , the last 3 paragraphs are spot on like the rest of this blog , young talent is the future for ipswich and football in general so jewell needs to get the young ones in . And ironicly im posting this after jordan roads has just scored a bag of goals ..... Again.

Lightningboy added 22:15 - Jan 6
Agree with the Norwich statement entirely..they have been a revelation since Lambert took over whereas we have become an embarrassment.

It's no coincidence that since we started throwing money about that our club has been on a long downward spiral which could sadly end up in league 1 or worse if something isn't done soon.

40yearsablue added 22:17 - Jan 6
Another 5 from Jordan Rhodes tonight!!

JohnyJohnson added 22:36 - Jan 6
If only we could reload like in championship manager. Just hope the club learn from this disaster and come back stronger

llewej_tuo added 12:26 - Jan 7


sheepdags added 18:23 - Jan 8
Completely agree that the problem has been with poor management and coaching. As you say we should look at the Norwich model - they chose an up and coming manager who had proved himself and his coaching skills at Colchester and was ambitious to move to a bigger club. Get the right manager and he can turn a team of League one failures into a stylish Premiership team in 2 seasons. Getting the right Chief Executive is also crucial though - again as regrettably shown by the mob up the road. Their man knows about football and negotiating contracts and can act as a check and balance on the manager. Shame that Evans didn't stick with Derek Bowden who understood football and the club and would never have allowed an incompetent manager like Keane to sell our greatest potential asset, Jordan Rhodes, to a League One side for peanuts. In fact I believe that Clegg probably told Keane that he had to off-load players if he wanted to sign more Mackem rejects and that that led to the daftest transfer dealing in the club's history.

jas0999 added 19:03 - Jan 8
PJ can stay? WHY? Terrible blog.

singingtheblues added 23:51 - Jan 8
Agree that Town's transfer policy has been misguided - however i think that the problem is that Town have spent 'eye watering sums' on the wages of premiership journeymen rather than investing the money on actual transfer fees - we've lost out on some potential good signings because town have been unwilling to match the transfer fees asked - billy sharpe for instance - instead Town have gone for 'free' transfers with huge salaries attached - false economy - at least if you spend big on bringing in decent players who are actually the players you want then they may be worth something when they move on - rather than the likes of bullard & bowyer etc who will leave on frees & were only signed because they were the best of what was left on the market
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