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Written by bbg on Thursday, 5th Jan 2017 20:59

None of the club’s successful managers over the years had massive resources available to them, but none have had to compete in leagues as inequitable as the current Championship.

The successful managers (George Burley, Bobby Robson, Alf Ramsey), like for most clubs, also happened to be the longest-serving, who had difficult times along the way as well as good.

But fans insist on a merry-go-round, which usually means quick management turnover and possible short-term success, but almost inevitable long-term failure.

Some now paint the current manager as completely incompetent, who cannot even select his best team in appropriate positions. If that is the case, how has he twice managed to take two clubs from this division into the Premier League as champions?

I can possibly accept someone might be lucky on one occasion. Maybe we should just trust those running the club and team during bad runs as well as good.

Unlike many, I don't think the owner or manager are anti-football, if they could get quality footballers they would use them. But maybe they see in the current era, where Championship clubs get multi-millions in parachute payments, a real risk of slipping into League One, which means solid defenders and work-rate are prerequisites.

At the other end of the pitch, playing Tom Lawrence, Brett Pitman, David McGoldrick and Grant Ward in the same team does not indicate an aversion to flair to me. Neither does signing a footballing centre-back like Adam Webster.

Many are critical of a perceived failure to promote or develop young players. Most of the players signed last summer, were young players. It is not the manager’s fault that Tyrone Mings and Aaron Cresswell were sold. It is an economic fact of life that, in the current climate, some offers cannot be refused.

How many young academy players of the past four years were in loan demand by Championship or League One clubs? Most cannot get beyond non-league.

Who has slipped through the current manager's fingers? Surely he cannot be blamed for Teddy Bishop’s injury problems. Of the current crop, I don't think Josh Emmanuel has shown he can play as right-back in a four. Myles Kenlock looks promising to me, but again maybe more as a wing-back. Andre Dozzell is being well-managed in my opinion. Maybe we should trust the judgement of the manager and his staff.

The solution for many is for a wealthy owner to come in and throw money at it. Even if such an individual could be found, that doesn’t always work and can often result in a bigger loss of identity.

The fact is it is only 18 months since the club reached a Championship play-off semi-final on a shoestring, through hard work, clever management and good judgement in the transfer market from very limited resources. Who was complaining then?

At the start of a new year, an alternative solution is for supporters to be different to those of most other clubs and instead back the club in bad times as well as good. Off the back of a good home win against Bristol City, why not try and create a positive atmosphere in the ground going forward, rather than provide an assist for the opposition with a negative one?

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DurhamTownFan added 21:30 - Jan 5
Why not?

Because the football on display for four years has been nothing short of appalling. Because he ruins players by playing them out of position. Because it just needs a fresh look and anew pair of eyes?

Do you seriously want to see four more years of this?

I sympathise with your basic point and I admire your optimism, but I'm afraid too many of us have seen too much rubbish from MM and ME to feel any more positivity anywhere in the club right now!

HarryfromBath added 21:46 - Jan 5
You may draw a stack of criticism from fellow Town supporters for your blog but I think that there is much truth in what you say and thank you for saying it. Money has turned this division into a rigged contest.

Not only have we had to sell prospects who could have seen us promoted had we been able to keep them, but we narrowly lost a play off to local rivals with multiples of our income and to cap it off, our squad was unbalanced with another rival took our key striker with days of the transfer window left in August and for small change to them.

That said, I can sympathize with Town fans for a sense of being taken for granted with what they have been served on and off the pitch. High ticket prices, no Cup runs, dull pre-season opposition and cautious football for 12 months have driven many to say enough is enough.

Many will disagree, but I would love to see what Mick might have achieved here had he had the resources of Derby's Steve McClaren or the Owls' Carlos Carvalhal. He has achieved a great deal with far fewer resources but I accept this day may now never come.

TrueBlue1998 added 22:09 - Jan 5
A very well put and pragmatic argument. Really good to hear some balance on here. Important to consider that other big clubs have gone down and struggled, look at Coventry and Sheffield United, so its very much a case of be careful what you wish for. I do think though that we're not too far from being up there again, just a couple of well chosen additions would do it, doesn't look like we'll pay the fees and wages unfortunately.

Daleyitfc added 22:51 - Jan 5
Drivel. And as to who was complaining when we scraped into the play-offs playing hoofball? Me for one. Not acceptable, not necessary, and if you're happy with that then I can only assume you've joined this show very recently.

SingBlue added 00:18 - Jan 6
All fair points but....
Of the other town managers you mention they always appeared to be taking the team forward, so fans stuck with them - that's definitely not happening now.
When we got into the play offs we were playing some awful football but we were difficult to beat, the players scraped for everything - that isn't happening to anywhere near the same level now.
MM himself appears to have lost confidence in his team and even when he stumbles across a decent line up (QPR away) he panics when we go one down and reverts to type.
We are in such a deep rut now that we need some blind optimism to give us half a chance - but when you look at his actions, and words for that matter, MM certainly doesn't have any.

Brownie added 07:59 - Jan 6
My view remains it is time for a change.

Your points on MM re past record & having to manage on a small budget are valid but he is not alone in this area. Keane had got Sunderland promoted; Jewell had done the same with Bradford & had a good track record. They both failed at ITFC though & most managers have hits and misses in their careers.

MM has been here for 4 years and are we any better? The standard of football is definitely not.

Some of the problems are not his fault - high prices, transfer policy - but some are of his making - style of football, selections & lack of ambition trying to win rather than not lose.

I enjoyed the read though & that what TWTD should be about. Different views from fans.


blue75 added 09:10 - Jan 6
You might want to watch some footage from Sunderland and wolves teams that McCarthy managed he doesn't play football. And we Ipswich fans of the late 90's early 00's would never accept him, Sam allerdyce or proper goals pardew as our manager they don't have the same values as our once great club!! I do agree chopping and changing manager doesn't work or throwing money at it won't always do the job. I think our owner seems a fair man and always gives his manager time hopefully not much more for McCarthy.

RoyalAscotBlue added 09:37 - Jan 6
Fans insist on a merry-go-round... MM has been here for four years, and the team has been in steady decline for two of them. MM has been given a fair chance. Asking for a new manager, with a fresh perspective and new ideas now is not insisting on a merry-go-round.

You ask how has MM twice managed to take clubs from this division into the Premier League as champions? You forget to mention the fact that he also managed to take a smaller national side to the 2002 World Cup. But football changes; new formations evolve and new styles of play develop. MM last had success 8 years ago. He has never changed his approach or his style of play throughout his entire career. The game has moved on and MM's philosophy is no longer enough. It nearly worked for us in his first two years but the team has been in steady decline ever since.

You don't think the owner or manager are anti-football, and suggest that if they could get quality footballers they would use them... So how do you explain JW recently sitting on the bench and not being played for weeks after regaining his fitness? The team was screaming out for a player like him to bring some ability and positivity to the midfield. But MM believed Douglas and Skuse were a better bet.

Many are critical of a perceived failure to promote or develop young players. You don't think Josh Emmanuel has shown he can play as right-back in a four... Until he is given a proper chance though, in a decent run of games, we will never know. What we do know, for certain, is that Chambers cannot play there. So what does MM have to lose by giving Josh a chance? You say that Myles Kenlock looks promising. Again, as yet he has not been given a proper chance. When we played both of these young players at the end of last season it was like a breath of fresh air, and the team looked an entirely different proposition as a result. They should both have been given a chance at the start of this season.

The solution for many is for a wealthy owner to come in and throw money at it... Not for me. For me the solution is for a different manager to come in and simply play to win. MM only ever sets his teams up to stop the opposition from playing, he never looks to take the game to them. On Monday QPR were there for the taking. A positive manager would have brought on Dozzell (again, giving youth a chance) for the last 15-20 minutes but not MM. MM decided it was better to see the game out with Douglas, and look what happened.

stevieiriswattii added 10:48 - Jan 6
Hear, hear RoyalAscotBlue. There has been a steady decline since an awfully dull 1-0 home loss to Derby at the end of 2014. At the time we were second in the table. Since then fans have tried to be patient, but any positivity has been crushed by McCarthy, is his derogatory comments regarding us, the supporters and in 'safety first' style of football. There is a fine line, between the bottom half of the table and reaching the playoffs. However that is where the manager makes the difference and I'm afraid the McCarthy is not the manager to make that happen.


phantom added 10:51 - Jan 6
positivity and the current set up is laughable, if only some of you knew the truth behind what our youngsters do to help ruin their potential. night clubs and women thats what ive seen, mr bishop splashing the cash in a night club and leaving hammered, hows this for a scoop most of our young players are out on the lash when they should be concentrating on their potential. when fans go to a players night 90% spend their time on their mobile phones rather than showing interest in the fans who pay their wages. football and ipswich town are a joke far to much money being thrown around and far to many egos.


rickw added 11:32 - Jan 6
Your arguments seem to consist on the fact Mick had success in the past well lots of managers have won things in the past but are no longer getting jobs - the game moves on, and mangers need to too!

Mick has only in the last few weeks given opportunities to Emmanuel, Kenlock and Dozzell (when he didn't have to) I don't know know if that has come from demand from the fans or the owner, or maybe both - but Mick still gives the impression he'd much rather stick to playing an average veteran than give a promising youngster a chance.

I don't think it's too late for Mick to turn things around, he just needs to take a fresh look at the team and see what the fans see - Chambers is limited as a full back, Skuse and Douglas isn't a balanced midfield pairing, then hopefully we can move forward again.

brittaniaman added 12:24 - Jan 6
True McCarthy got Sunderland and Wolves up !!! BUT what happened in the End He got the Sack from both Clubs ????

joepublic added 13:00 - Jan 6
An interesting read and I enjoy finding out what all fans think of MM.

For myself I feel MM has done all he can at Town. I actually think it would be relief for us and him if we parted company as I think he knows all too well how hard it will be to escape this league with such financial constraint. And as he has said, he will walk in to another job tomorrow.

Mm is one of the longest serving managers across all leagues and the results suggest he is on the decline. Just doing the math in my head id say a win percentage of about 28% for whole of 2016.

Add to that such conservative approach to team selection, substitutions and in game tactics i feel Towns fans have been more than patient.

After all MM is the man to give the entire world a new football formation of 3 defensive midfielders against a bottom team at home. I cannot imagine the esteemed former managers mentioned above treating us fans to that sort of approach.

Still im sure we all bleed blue and lets hope better times are ahead for Town, whichever side of the debate we fall on.

bbg added 19:12 - Jan 6
Royalascotblue, seeing that you took the trouble to address the points I raised, some of which have also been addressed by others, I reply:
Do you not think the club could try a novel approach in modern football and retain the same management for +7/8 years. It happens in every other walk of life. It did also happen during this club’s successful periods and a small number of other clubs, who end up in the Champions League every year, have tried the same novel approach.
MM is past his sell by date? We have seen him use numerous different formations in this time at Town. While many would try to tell us that those over a certain age are worthless dinosaurs, the facts and our experiences as players/managers at lower levels should tell us the opposite. How old were the managers of the Premier league and Euro winners 2016? I am certain that most managers with any intelligence improve with experience.
I would absolutely trust someone of his experience to assess the readiness to play of JW or anyone else. He is castigated over Chambers, Skuse & Douglas. All are solid pros. He didn’t sign Chambers and like me and everyone else, I am certain he can see his limitations as a full back. But we have all been in dressingrooms with team captains or team leaders who might themselves be individually nothing special but who could lead, and who you would trust with your life. Likewise the other two, you dont play as many championship games as they have, for multiple managers, without knowing your job.
We might never know how good some of the young players are if they dont play, but it’s his job to assess them every day and make that judgement. We do not have sufficient access to judge. With Mings, Bishop, Ward & Webster, he put them in and left them in. Who has slipped through his fingers? What senior or junior player moved on and did well elsewhere after being discarded by him. I dont see many errors of judgement, so I trust him to assess them. I trust him based on what I have seen from him at Town, but equally you dont win two championships with two different clubs without being able to judge a player.
As for style of play, if I watch Champions League/Premier League on TV I demand an open attacking game or wont watch. For my team, I prefer nice football but I accept the reality that it is not always possible on meagre resources. I think he would enjoy attacking football and winning even more than we would. Leicester and Portugal were defensive, counter attacking teams. Did their supporters mind?
Your solution is a new manager. But for how long? Until he has a couple of bad runs? Bad runs and bad performances are inevitable, even if the new manager is doing his job very well. Then we are into the exact same tiresome process again and going nowhere, trying to convince ourselves that by removing the present manager, our problems are solved. Let’s give stability and positivity a chance. It has been known to work, here and elsewhere.


MacMan added 07:20 - Jan 12
bbg...good, well balanced article.
It's so easy to call for a new manager when things aren't going so well, but I remember fans giving Bobby Robson stick and us not doing so well in the league at times under him. The people who want to change the manager have every right to do so and express their opinions. But let's have a look at how that could go: a new manager from a lower league team? Tried that with John Duncan...didn't work out that well. An experienced manager with a proven track record? Like Paul Jewell or Roy Keane?
Suppose we did sack MM, what do people think will happen? It would take at least a week or two to appoint someone. Then, presumably, they would want to have a look at the squad. And that's the transfer window gone. Just as January is a poor month to buy players, it's equally not a great time to get rid of a manager. If MM is to go, doesn't it at least make sense to wait for the end of the season?
I think MM is far shrewder than Lots of posters give him credit for. He knows his job depends on getting results so sends out a team he feels has the best chance of winning a game. we don't get to see them training, or know who is carrying an injury or is having a bad time in their personal life. But that's the thing about football: we all have opinions and like to express them. Just sometimes, though, take a step back and think objectively.
Oh and another thing, we might all want Marcus Evans to put more money in. But the fact is, it's his club and his money. Unless there are a queue of people wanting to buy it off him then we are hardly in a position to criticise his investment. If someone told us how to spend our cash then I suspect the answer we'd give would be less than polite.
And bbg, thanks again for taking the time to write your blog. Maybe MM should go, maybe not. It's everyone's right to express their opinion and no one's view is any less valid than anyone else's.

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