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John Duncan 13:13 - Dec 18 with 11915 viewsel_nino

Was reading a thread below about attendances etc which inevitably turned to MM and better/worse managers than him.
I’ve noticed that people really didn’t rate John Duncan and put him down as one of our worst managers. Looking at the stats his win record was actually pretty decent, albeit in the second division (45% win rate which puts him up there). I didn’t start to watch Town until the end of the Lyall era in 1994, so I was wondering what was so bad about Duncan? Was it the manner of football played? His attitude?
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John Duncan on 19:15 - Dec 18 with 3653 viewsBlueyandCrazy

John Duncan on 18:54 - Dec 18 by stonojnr

I'd add to the rest that he had no relationship with the fans,and seemed to pick random players in random positions constantly square pegs in round holes, it never felt like teams were set out to win,the results just happened and we were just drifting


Agree with all above re expectations versus the reality of what we had.
But the football was dreadful under Duncan and he underachieved with even what we had; given as stated Lyall turned us into promtion material in 18 months.

Worst manager I'd ever seen at town until Keane and Jewell came along.

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John Duncan on 19:38 - Dec 18 with 3636 viewsgainsboroughblue

From memory, John Duncan's rivals for the Town job were Keith Peacock and possibly Mick Mills.

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John Duncan on 10:07 - Dec 19 with 3528 viewsfarkenhell

John Duncan on 19:38 - Dec 18 by gainsboroughblue

From memory, John Duncan's rivals for the Town job were Keith Peacock and possibly Mick Mills.


Yes, Mills was the preferred choice when Ferguson was sacked. He was managing Stoke at the time and earning some rave reviews (before it all went belly up for him a couple of years later). Stoke refused to give Ipswich permission to speak to Mills, at which the chairman (Kerr?) announced that was the end of the matter as far as the club was concerned.

Thankfully Sheepy was a little more underhand in approaching Burley a few years later!
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John Duncan on 10:18 - Dec 19 with 3521 viewsfarkenhell

John Duncan on 14:31 - Dec 18 by JimmyJazz

But he didn't like Dalian and ended up selling him for a pittance. Dalian was too flash and entertaining for a dull ole Duncan side


I think you're being a little unfair on Duncan here. As I remember, I think the board were guilty of selling him - at a pittance as you say (£450,000 to Sheffield Wednesday, who then sold him to a Spanish club for £1.9 million less than 12 months later).

Not the only time when the board at that time sold a player at a ridiculously low price.
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John Duncan on 10:23 - Dec 19 with 3517 viewschicoazul

"I saw Bristol City at home with 8000 other people" crew.

I have it in commission, to comfort the feeble-minded, and to support the weak. You must needs go along with us; we will wait for you, we will lend you our help, we will deny ourselves of some things, both opinionated and practical, for your sake; we will not enter into doubtful disputations before you, we will be made all things to you, rather than you shall be left behind
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John Duncan on 10:24 - Dec 19 with 3516 viewschicoazul

John Duncan on 14:34 - Dec 18 by JimmyJazz

Ipswich under John Duncan were just bang mid table average. Never any chance of finishing in the bottom half, but never troubling the top sides in the league. It only took Lyall maybe 18 months to turn us into champions


Incorrect. 8th and 9th place finishes.

I have it in commission, to comfort the feeble-minded, and to support the weak. You must needs go along with us; we will wait for you, we will lend you our help, we will deny ourselves of some things, both opinionated and practical, for your sake; we will not enter into doubtful disputations before you, we will be made all things to you, rather than you shall be left behind
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John Duncan on 15:23 - Dec 19 with 3467 viewsJimmyJazz

John Duncan on 10:24 - Dec 19 by chicoazul

Incorrect. 8th and 9th place finishes.


The history books are kind on Johnny Duncan with his finishing positions. In 30 years time fans will look back at MM's reign, see steady progress, a play off finish and then 8th the season after, a blip when we finished 16th and the following season back in the top half (???). Some wag will then pipe up and say how MM's reign was rubbish and he was an old dinosaur and the young fans, with just the history books to refer to will think that rather harsh.

You have to be there to get the full picture

I was reminded that we actually made the play offs in 1987, but we were hopeless against the top teams so it was quickly forgotten about.

There are a lot of parallels with JD and MM, but MM took over a club at the bottom of the league, JD took over a club which expected to get back to the top tier.

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John Duncan on 15:44 - Dec 19 with 3444 viewspatrickswell

Statiscally, he was very streaky. He took us to the top of the table at the start of October 1988, but we then lost 5 of the next 6 matches. That seemed to happen a lot as I remember or we would beat a side that was challenging for promotion and lose to a side in the bottom 3.
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John Duncan on 16:12 - Dec 19 with 3425 viewsfarkenhell

John Duncan on 15:44 - Dec 19 by patrickswell

Statiscally, he was very streaky. He took us to the top of the table at the start of October 1988, but we then lost 5 of the next 6 matches. That seemed to happen a lot as I remember or we would beat a side that was challenging for promotion and lose to a side in the bottom 3.


A fair assessment. I remember that we gained a new unbeaten run (might still be a club record?) which came to an end when we were thrashed at Port Vale - 4 or 5 nil.

Port-bloody-Fail of all teams!
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John Duncan on 16:40 - Dec 19 with 3403 viewsBlueyandCrazy

John Duncan on 16:12 - Dec 19 by farkenhell

A fair assessment. I remember that we gained a new unbeaten run (might still be a club record?) which came to an end when we were thrashed at Port Vale - 4 or 5 nil.

Port-bloody-Fail of all teams!


Exactly, stats show that we finished 8th and 9th, yes, but the reality was we never really looked like troubling the playoffs, the football was dire, Duncan was tactically at best limited - hoof ball and playing players out of position. ....

And Port Vale was the nadir and low point for many years, until that muppet Jewell went to Peterborough.........

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John Duncan on 16:54 - Dec 19 with 3390 viewsJimmyJazz

John Duncan on 16:40 - Dec 19 by BlueyandCrazy

Exactly, stats show that we finished 8th and 9th, yes, but the reality was we never really looked like troubling the playoffs, the football was dire, Duncan was tactically at best limited - hoof ball and playing players out of position. ....

And Port Vale was the nadir and low point for many years, until that muppet Jewell went to Peterborough.........


Was also thinking that our captain at the time, the mighty David Linighan, was a right old hoofer. He would have suited MM down to the ground.

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John Duncan on 17:39 - Dec 19 with 3381 viewsfarkenhell

John Duncan on 16:54 - Dec 19 by JimmyJazz

Was also thinking that our captain at the time, the mighty David Linighan, was a right old hoofer. He would have suited MM down to the ground.


He was. Yet Warky rates him as the best pound-for-pound signing that the club ever made (yes, better value than both Muhren & Thijssen!)

Just think what DL could have achieved if only he had stayed off the sauce!
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John Duncan on 17:49 - Dec 19 with 3371 viewsBlueyandCrazy

John Duncan on 17:39 - Dec 19 by farkenhell

He was. Yet Warky rates him as the best pound-for-pound signing that the club ever made (yes, better value than both Muhren & Thijssen!)

Just think what DL could have achieved if only he had stayed off the sauce!


He won the league with us under Lyall so..........not the issue..."....was certainly good enough for the league we were in, if probably found a little bit wanting in the premier league!

Duncan signed Players who weren’t up to it, we’re got rid of/ replaced....ultimately .by Lyall if not already sold on.......Harley, Hill, Woods etc.

Linighan certainly not in that category.

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John Duncan on 17:56 - Dec 19 with 3363 viewsTheBlueBarca

John Duncan on 13:31 - Dec 18 by farkenhell

I think it was a combination of a few things. First, we had been spoiled over many years with the success of the Robson era, which was the benchmark for successive managers (Ferguson then Duncan). Secondly, there was a sense of entitlement that we ought to gain promotion from the second tier to the top division ("Ipswich is a first division club"). Thirdly, the disappointment that a promising young manager acquired from a lower league club couldn't deliver success.

Sits back and waits for the 5-pager...


Some supporters still have that hangover, many believe we should still be the top flight and that we are genuinely a big club. When you point out we haven't won anything since 1981 and in 30 years we've managed just 5 seasons in the top flight it's almost like you spat in their dinner.

In terms of Mick, he's done a reasonable job given the budget but we were nearly relegated last season. The football has been pretty poor, the digs at the fans from him and the Managing Director haven't done the club overall any favours, alongside the perceived lack of investment from the owner, the shirt changes every season and the ST increases and you've got a recipe for a disaster.

I actually expect the gates to fall off even more over the next five years unless things radically change, the feeling of many is enough is enough when it comes to Evans.

Everyone on this forum is always wrong.
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John Duncan on 18:02 - Dec 19 with 3360 viewsParisBlue

John Duncan on 16:12 - Dec 19 by farkenhell

A fair assessment. I remember that we gained a new unbeaten run (might still be a club record?) which came to an end when we were thrashed at Port Vale - 4 or 5 nil.

Port-bloody-Fail of all teams!


The Port Vale game was on New Years Day and followed a 13 match unbeaten run. Seem to recall reading that the players had been out the night before getting hammered.

Beat Leeds away in the cup the following weekend before losing to Barnsley in the next round in a blizzard (open away end, kept in for 20 minutes after the game). David Gregory in particular was shocking that day and the team failed to get a single shot on goal.

The last few games had protests and Duncan's position was untenable. He was sacked at the end of the season despite a winning run towards the end (5 win out of 6 IIRC).
[Post edited 19 Dec 2017 18:06]

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John Duncan on 19:07 - Dec 19 with 3333 viewsThe_Last_Baron

John Duncan on 15:28 - Dec 18 by GeoffSentence

Mostly it was the contrast with what had gone before, I think. Only a few years had passed since the joys of the dutchmen, and passing football , winning major trophies and being one of the best clubs in Europe to being a mid table second tier club whose philosophy was to lump it into the box and see what happened.

On top of that he signed some right old shlt, like Harbey and Neil Woods.


He also signed David Lowe (80k), Neil Thompson (100k), David Linighan (300k), brought John Wark back to the club. Although he did sign Glenn Pennyfather.

We had a good squad during his time at Town and we should have at least been making the play-offs. I think we finished 8th, 8th and 9th under him which is far from a disaster. However the style of football was poor and he was always playing players out of position. A good man who was probably a league higher than his abilities as a manager.

Like in 1982 with Bobby Ferguson, the board made the wrong appointment as manager. Someone like Joe Royle back in 1987 would have been perfect for Town.

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John Duncan on 19:08 - Dec 19 with 3332 viewsThe_Last_Baron

John Duncan on 19:38 - Dec 18 by gainsboroughblue

From memory, John Duncan's rivals for the Town job were Keith Peacock and possibly Mick Mills.


Bot would have been good choices. Mills was doing reasonably well at Stoke and Peacock had just taken Gillingham to the play-offs.

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John Duncan on 19:12 - Dec 19 with 3330 viewsThe_Last_Baron

John Duncan on 15:44 - Dec 19 by patrickswell

Statiscally, he was very streaky. He took us to the top of the table at the start of October 1988, but we then lost 5 of the next 6 matches. That seemed to happen a lot as I remember or we would beat a side that was challenging for promotion and lose to a side in the bottom 3.


I remember we beat a good Manchester City side at home during this time to put us third. The next week we lost at home to Oxford and fell away badly.

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John Duncan on 19:43 - Dec 19 with 3311 viewsimsureazzure

John Duncan on 19:07 - Dec 19 by The_Last_Baron

He also signed David Lowe (80k), Neil Thompson (100k), David Linighan (300k), brought John Wark back to the club. Although he did sign Glenn Pennyfather.

We had a good squad during his time at Town and we should have at least been making the play-offs. I think we finished 8th, 8th and 9th under him which is far from a disaster. However the style of football was poor and he was always playing players out of position. A good man who was probably a league higher than his abilities as a manager.

Like in 1982 with Bobby Ferguson, the board made the wrong appointment as manager. Someone like Joe Royle back in 1987 would have been perfect for Town.


Did he sign Kevin Wilson?
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John Duncan on 10:36 - Dec 20 with 3242 viewsflimflam

John Duncan on 16:40 - Dec 19 by BlueyandCrazy

Exactly, stats show that we finished 8th and 9th, yes, but the reality was we never really looked like troubling the playoffs, the football was dire, Duncan was tactically at best limited - hoof ball and playing players out of position. ....

And Port Vale was the nadir and low point for many years, until that muppet Jewell went to Peterborough.........


Was that the 5 - 0 boxing day defeat?

We arrived late and walked in just as the second goal was rolling into our net.

Some good conga dancing that day if I remember right.

All men and women are created, by the, you know the, you know the thing.

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John Duncan on 10:57 - Dec 20 with 3228 viewssolemio

John Duncan on 16:54 - Dec 19 by JimmyJazz

Was also thinking that our captain at the time, the mighty David Linighan, was a right old hoofer. He would have suited MM down to the ground.


Linighan was considerably better than you make out.

When Lyall signed Steve Whitton DL's high left to right balls (Hi, Benters) were most effective and remarkably accurate. The %age of times Steve got a directed header to Goddard or Kiwomya was very high.
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John Duncan on 11:59 - Dec 20 with 3205 viewsGeoffSentence

John Duncan on 19:43 - Dec 19 by imsureazzure

Did he sign Kevin Wilson?


No. Kevin Wilson left in 1987, I am not sure if Duncan sold him or if he went just before Duncan arrived.

Out damned scot Out I say
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John Duncan on 12:06 - Dec 20 with 3200 viewsfarkenhell

John Duncan on 19:43 - Dec 19 by imsureazzure

Did he sign Kevin Wilson?


He was signed by Bobby Ferguson. Remember him scoring a hatrick on his debut (in the FA Cup -v- Gillingham)
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John Duncan on 12:07 - Dec 20 with 3199 viewshype313

John Duncan on 11:59 - Dec 20 by GeoffSentence

No. Kevin Wilson left in 1987, I am not sure if Duncan sold him or if he went just before Duncan arrived.


Wilson was quality, so was Lowe, although I was a 10yr old at the time so could have been rose tinted specs!

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John Duncan on 12:10 - Dec 20 with 3196 viewssolemio

John Duncan on 12:07 - Dec 20 by hype313

Wilson was quality, so was Lowe, although I was a 10yr old at the time so could have been rose tinted specs!


No rose-tints involved. They were both really good players.
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