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Is The Town Job a Poisoned Chalice?
Written by Pessimistic on Friday, 2nd Nov 2012 22:30

We waited with anxious anticipation to see if our man got the job? My man didn't, but probably your man did! if you can believe the TWTD stats about 80 percent of us wanted got what we wanted and the rest of us were left disappointed.

Now that the dust has settled and we can do nothing about the outcome, it is time to back Mick McCarthy. He may be a dour individual with typical Yorkshire grit but maybe that is what we need, as he is guaranteed to instil discipline into the ranks and focus everybody's minds on the job in hand.

Certainly his track record is impressive, not only at club level but also at international level too, having guided the Republic of Ireland on a rare excursion into the World Cup finals not that many years ago.

He makes the best of the tools he has at his disposal and in many cases, he has exceeded all expectations by getting average players to perform well above their football station. There is no doubting his desire to succeed but then again, there was no doubting Roy Keane's or Jim Magilton's and look where that got us!

In fairness to Magic, or Tragic as he came to be known, he knew how to motivate players and he was unlucky to lose his job, given our lofty league position when he was shown the door. I bet Marcus Evans rues his impetuousness now.

Since those heady days however, we have gone perpetually backwards and under Keane we became the Championship's draw specialists. Sadly in the modern era, draws don't get you many points and that was one of the factors that ensured he would have a short life expectancy at Town - along with falling out with just about anyone that happened to get in his way!

The question then on everybody's lips should be, is the Town job nothing more than a poisoned chalice? What is the root cause of the clubs more recent under achievements. Surely it is not all down to incompetent managers is it? Ironically, Mick McCarthy is a good friend of both Paul Jewell and Chris Hutchings and is dumbfounded as to why they failed so miserably. He repeatedly sings their praises and does not pull his punches in recommending them as a great managerial due, which begs the question, can Mick McCarthy actually do any better? Could it be the handling of the club from above that is the real cause of most of our woes?

Only time will tell of course and it is our job as supporters of different shades to get behind the new incumbent and hope he succeeds where other have failed so completely. He may not bring with him colourful football but if he can get the right results then all will forgiven.

There is no doubting that to take on a club that is sitting on the very bottom of the Championship and four points adrift of their nearest rivals is a courageous thing to do. As Thomas Carlyle once remarked," The courage we desire is not the courage to die decently but simply to live manfully."

If a man of McCarthy's substance fails here then we will have to seriously question why. I have never known so many protracted transfer dealings, loan deals and Cheapie Charlie contractual terminations before the Evans and Clegg show got on the road and although financial restraints impact upon all football clubs these days, why I ask do we seem to suffer the most? Answers on a postcard please.

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algarvefan added 09:06 - Nov 3
Well the first card fittingly is from Portugal :)

Good blog asking the right questions and like you my 'man' didn't get the job!

Ipswich has always had the 'label' of a family club and like it or not we are now, in the hands of Marcus Evans, big business. I feel that and the mystery surrounding Evans has done the club a lot of damage. We are now run for the overall benefit of Marcus Evans PLC and not by the Cobbold's or their like. The passion has gone from the boardroom and on the pitch, lets hope Mick McCarthy can reignite things. I personally have my doubts and if it's beyond him ...........

RevAdrian added 09:42 - Nov 3
Excellent blog, and you ask THE key question. I think you are absolutely right that 'only time will tell', if MM fails then we must conclude that three managerial failures in a row cannot be down to coincidence, or even poor selection. If MM succeeds then it will still beg the question of whether it is in spite of or because of the way 'our' club is owned and managed, but through the process of that success things may have become, if not totally clear, at least significantly more transparent.

On the other point - I was one of the 20% but on reflection I wonder how right I was. It is true that MM has done very well with limited resources in the past, he is straightforward, has a sense of humour, and although his sides don't try to emulate Barcelona, the have had guile and craft as well as strength. It will be an interesting few months/years ahead and, I suspect, a lot better time to be an ITFC supporter than the past 5 or more.

IamSpartacus added 10:06 - Nov 3
A good blog, but I disagree that the ITFC managerial post is an acid bath for prospective candidates.

We have great match facilities, awesome training facilities, a fanbase that (even recently with 'low' attendances) is a higher % proportion of its surrounding area than pretty much most clubs, managers get loads (way too much in Jewell's case) of time to produce -and- a history of youth production and acceptance of that by fans.

Magilton was probably sacked too soon (certainly didn't fail based on the subsequent two managers performances). Keane, although enthused a lot of fans on his arrival (including me) revealed himself as having an inability to display man management. Jewell was ALWAYS the wrong person for the job- anyone brought in that has such a vacuum where nurturing youth players is concerned is wrong. Full stop. As far as his subsequent dithering and tactical ineptitude goes, followed by his own dismal man management, well, that just served to ensure him as the worst manager we have ever had- imo.

I seriously have no doubt that MM will succeed in avoiding relegation. I will go as far to say that mid-table is within our abilities, but I'm happy with non-relegation.

Ipswich fans are traditionally patient. As long as we see progression- often in the form of younger players- and hope for the future, we can rationalise issues. It would be all very well buying in lots of players for instant success (as ME tried under Magilton, Keane and Jewell), but unless we have the solid youth foundation we would have nothing to fall back on.


singingtheblues added 02:51 - Nov 4
Fortunately MM has many 'tools' available to him!

Daleyitfc added 11:04 - Nov 4
Agree with much of this, apart from the Magilton stuff : he was going nowhere ; had no idea what his best 11 was (like the next 2 ...) ; and certainly was NOT a motivator.
As to McCarthy : he is out of the same box as Jewell, and as such I would not have appointed him, but he may at least clear out the rubbish from the squad (though I suspect we then won't have enough players left to field a team), and that will leave things in a better state for a fresh young manager to come in, in about 18 months' time.

BlackandBlue added 10:44 - Nov 5
Glad you've raised this, I've been thinking the same. What troubles me in the current set up is the lack of scrutiny. Without any fanfare, the club has gone from a traditional board structure to an owner with his own appointed advisors. This might not sound a big deal, but who is there to stand up to the owner and the CEO and say "you've got it wrong"? I fear nobody. A traditional board of directors provides a wide range of expertise, individual directors have responsibility to speak up and say when things need changing. Instead we have an owner and a CEO who have little football expertise and a board of advisors handpicked from Marcus Evans’ company, plus of course, whatever pearls of wisdom Harry Redknapp imparts on the golf course. I don't know what’s wrong, but I'm certain that this is not the right structure to fix it.

saffronblue added 16:59 - Nov 6
Interesting that many bloggers say they are in the 20% who didn't want MM but then don't offer up alternatives. Personally I think it's an excellent appointment as MM has succeeded pretty much wherever he has gone, and if he could take us from where we are now to a club pushing for promotion (even if we then become a yoyo club like Wolves) that would definately be progress.
ME has a track record of supporting his managers with signings should they be required as he did with RK and PJ and it is down to those Managers to get the players playing for them both of which they failed to manage.
In terms of the structure we are no different from Chelsea and they don't seem to do too badly, although at least RA doesn't keep to the shadows like ME.
Good blog though

Pessimistic added 18:35 - Nov 6
As always thanks everyone for the input. As to who my preferred choice was the big clue is that he will be sitting on the home bench this evening against our very own Town! Nice if I could be proved wrong though I guess...

rugbytomc added 17:00 - Nov 7
I've said it several times in comments but am far too lazy to write my own blog! ;-) Like this blog and again, MM was not my choice - as you eluded too, the survey saying 80% of us wanted him probably wasn't that accurate - but then Town are owned by a PR man so no suprises if he had that story swept through.
The problem is simple - the board have picked 2 managers (Keane and Jewell) who have got teams promoted before, but have done this by just buying in the players they felt they needed to get their teams promoted. At Ipswich though, the board did not back either of these managers financially. For example - Jewell wanted Charlie Austin and even had him down to the ground. The board though didn't want to pay the fee or the wages or maybe both. That is just one example. So what was Jewell left with - loan players. Keane tried some of the reserve players instead. Not identical in the reasons they both failed but the same fundamental flaw. Magilton did well when given no money to spend, but once the money came in his ego grew out of control and he didn't know how to ask for help given how inexperienced he was.
Will it be any different for MM? Well - same type as Keane and Jewell in that he likes to buy in the players needed to get promotion - but we won't know until Jan transfer window if the board is gonna back him - hopefully he won't be so soft as Jewell and just come out and say which players he wanted and then that the board didn't get them for him.
Seems to me like Evans only wants to spend any money he recoups from player sales (Walters and Wickham) so wouldn't they have been better to go with a manager who has a track record of improving the players already at his disposal? Or a young up and coming hungry manager?
I think we're in trouble - but I still think if you picked our first choice 11 that those players should be good enough for top 6 in this league if they play consistently to the best of their abilities so I don't see the job as a poisoned chalice as such - I just hope that the board have been honest in what they've told MM and that he can deliver on what he's promised them!
I would rather see Clegg go next though rather than another Manager! He is the most clueless person about football - ever!?

Pessimistic added 20:38 - Nov 7
I agree Rugbytomc, Simple Simon is so out of his depth it is positively frightening. As Anne Robinson might say, " You are the weakest link. goodbye."

Surco72 added 10:39 - Nov 8
Good read Pessimistic ..What i think has been fundamentaliy wrong with the club and certainly the supporters since Evans arrival is the want for instant success which leads to short term plans and the high number of players we have had in and out .
The saddest part for me is seeing all the youngsters that were coming through under Magics reign let go who are now doing well for other clubs in this league and lower because as a whole we never had any patience . Rhodes,Garvan , Trotter, Haynes even Bowditch .Imagine a midfield with Garvan and Trotter in the centre now compared to our loaness ? Haynes adding pace and goals out wide and the less spoken about Rhodes the better !!
I think Big Mick will do a job but over a few years not in a season as requested by the ever moaning and over wanting unrealistic supporters

rugbytomc added 16:17 - Nov 8
Surco stop - you're depressing me! Trotter and Garvan together would be pretty good. No idea why we ever let Garvan go - he used to be the fabregas of the Championship! (in my biased opinion haha!). Bowditch never fulfilled his potential but maybe because he never got any game time. Same with Haynes - we rarely played him down the middle and not even that often out wide either. Not sure what else Rhodes had to do to be given a go. With all the striking problems we've had this year and last, I notice Murray hasn't been given a go either. Play him or release the poor lad!
I honestly don't know what the long term plan for Evans is - but I read this quote from Clegg - "we honestly can't put our finger on what went wrong and why it didn't work out with the last 2 appointments". Reassuring to know that they've learnt nothing then! Why is he still there?! The arrogance of the man as well, at the recent AGM, to say (when questioned on his experience) that he is now one of the most experienced Chief Execs in the Championship. Well if he is going by the rule that experience=time in a division, then yes he may be right - but if experience=time involved in the sport (like most people would think it means) then he's a clueless novice!
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