McCarthy: Tuesday's Atmosphere Was a Disgrace
Thursday, 15th Mar 2018 17:01
Town boss Mick McCarthy says the atmosphere during Tuesday night’s 3-0 home defeat to Hull City was “a disgrace” and that it will make it “incredibly difficult” for his players to perform if repeated at the Blues’ four remaining matches at Portman Road this season.
Fans aimed derogatory chants towards McCarthy, who they booed off at the end of each half and sarcastically cheered the players completing run of the mill passes during the second period.
Asked if the evening was difficult to get over, McCarthy said: “It’s not one of the most enjoyable experiences but, no.
“I went and played in the club golf day yesterday and I loved it, I had a great day, thank you. I’m able to [get over it], I’m looking forward to Bristol City.”
He says the players gave him their backing and he talked to them this morning.
“Yes, I got my call yesterday and I’ve spoken to them today, just to make sure that they’re aware that we’ve all got to be professional and whatever’s going on we’ve got to carry on doing the same things.
“Speaking to the press, speaking to the radio, speaking to the public, going on the golf day when it’s there and the players did, there were a lot of youngsters actually because of the workload the first team have had. And it was a really enjoyable one. To continue doing the same and we don’t change.”
Has he had a call from owner Marcus Evans since the events of Tuesday? “I wouldn’t talk about that. My relationship with Marcus has always been win, lose or draw I’ll get a call at some stage and he’s the very same person at any performance level, result level. Whatever’s happened, he’s always exactly the same.
“And that’s what I’ve always really admired about him, that’s very supportive that, he’s not up and down, he’s very consistent.”
Will he know all about Tuesday even if he wasn’t there? “I would think so. Marcus is probably one of the brightest fellas I’ve ever come across, intelligent and knows what’s going on without having to be speaking to [me] every day. Yes, I think he’s fully aware of that.”
McCarthy says now it’s a case of moving on, although he reiterated that he doesn’t believe the Blues’ situation and performances warranted Tuesday night’s protests: “I spoke to them all this morning about continuing and being the same people.
“I don’t think we played particularly well but it certainly wasn’t as bad and the situation were in isn’t as bad as the reaction.
“But I do think the reaction was to me and not to them but they have to play in it.
“And the atmosphere was a disgrace on Tuesday night. And it will make it incredibly difficult to play if that’s going to be the case for the remaining games at home.
“And if it is, it’s ridiculous because it does affect the players playing in that and whatever I do, come and support the team, support the players.
“If they all want to stand afterwards and boo me and jeer me, fine. If it was to try and get me out and me to walk out it’s not achieved anything because I’m not going to.
“If it’s something to provoke Marcus into sacking me, well I’m still here doing the press conference for Bristol City and I’m certain I’ll still be here doing the press conference for Middlesbrough at home. So, we’ll see.”
He added: “The players had to play in it on Tuesday night. It’s not doing anybody any good. It’s not doing them any good, it’s not doing the team any good, it’s not doing the club any good.
“I’m here talking about it, it goes national and worldwide about about how people feel about it.
“And, you know what, perhaps I don’t want it to ruin my ‘brand’, how I perform and what people think of me, but I think that’s restricted to this area at the moment in terms of Ipswich fans about the job that I’ve done and how it’s been done here.
“But, as I said, don’t let it affect the players. The players are trying their legs off and running their socks off for everybody. It might not be good, it might not be great but they’re trying their best.
“I only ask is to give them the support and if then they want to give me grief at the end and boo me off, cool.”
McCarthy is aware that the frustration doesn’t just relate to current form or fans’ thoughts about him, but with the overall context of the Blues having been in the Championship for 16 seasons with little realistic prospect of promotion as things stand presently.
“Of course, I understand that,” he admitted. “Maybe they feel the need or what they want to see as change.
“Myself and the players can’t really affect all of that, we turn up and work hard in training and in games and try and do our best for the team.
“From coming in here, every year I’ve tried to get into the top six. I’ve been in it once and done my best, and all the players have.
“All the other stuff, I can’t affect. I’m dealing with the things on the pitch and with the players, so that’s what I’m saying it doesn’t reflect.
“I’m talking from my point of view from this training ground and the players, I’m speaking on behalf of me and them, not on behalf of how many managers were before me and the fact that they got relegated when they did and crowds are going down. We continue to try and do our best for the club.”
The impromptu post-match on-pitch meeting with players after the Hull match was illustrative of a siege mentality developing among the management and players.
Asked whether he felt that was healthy, McCarthy responded: “Have I created that? I take it always that if you’re inside this building you are inside peeing out, whether you’re at the top of the league or you’re bottom of the league, that’s the way it is.
“If you’re outside, you’re peeing in because that’s the way it is as well. And nothing’s changed with me, nothing at all.
“The only thing that’s changed is probably the amount of aggro I’m getting personally, and if that’s because we’ve been in the league for how many years or because the pitch is not great or the stadium’s not great or my football’s [not] great.
“They thought it was brilliant when I got them out of the dirt when they were seven points adrift, and they thought it was brilliant when we finished in the top six.
“And I haven’t changed. The only people who have changed are the people who are watching. If they’re getting bored of everything and I’m getting the flak for it, well so be it because I am the figurehead and I’m quite happy to take it.”
Is it easier when fans are among those inside the tent peeing out? “I think I give that message always. When I came to the club that was the case, that was my message and nothing’s ever changed - that we hadn’t got the best budget, I’ve got these players, I’ve got seven loan players and by the way we’re going to go out and give absolutely everything and do the best we possibly can.
“And that was accepted then because it was seen as a success finishing, what was it, 14th? It was accepted the following year because it was ninth. It’s really accepted and I’m ‘Dick S—t’ all of a sudden because we finished sixth.
“So I haven’t changed and I would love the fans to be on [side] but I can’t do that, I keep trying it.
“We go away and we win two away games, we’ve had two great results, we should have beaten Norwich, that would have been fabulous.
“So, I’m still doing my part of the bargain, absolutely 100 per cent doing my part of the bargain and if I can’t get them to buy into the way I do it on my part of the bargain, well you’re going to have to tolerate me for nine games at least, unless Marcus offers me to stay.”
McCarthy has previously said he doesn’t care what fans might think but clarified that position slightly: “Of course I care what fans think. When I say I don’t care, I don’t go home and lose sleep, I don’t go home and cry myself to sleep and I don’t lose sleep over it.
“I want to be with the fans, of course I do, wherever I am. It’s about the fans, they’ll be here when I’ve long gone, they’ll be here when all the players have gone. I would love the fans to be back on side, I’ve enjoyed my relationship with them.
“But, wow, I think I’m pretty much getting the thin of the wedge at the minute, I have to be honest.”
Last season McCarthy ruminated on fans becoming bored with managers after they’d been at clubs for long spells. Does he feel his time at Town is just coming to its natural end?
“Maybe, but the natural end will, of course, be at the end of the season when my contract runs out,” he added.
“So, I wasn’t walking away from my contract last year when I’ve got a year’s contract. Why should I walk out of work and go looking for something else?
“So, as I said, I’ve completed my end of the bargain, and I haven’t changed by the way since we win the first five games of the season when we were scoring goals for fun.
“I haven’t changed at all and I’m still completing my end of the bargain, which is my contract and unless that changes, there’s not a lot I can do about that.”
Does he believe there’s a lack of understanding among fans about how tough it is to compete in the Championship these days on the budgets he has been working with?
“I think there’s an understanding that fans want their team to be winning and to be playing well and to be a happy atmosphere and to come and socialise and be at a nice environment on a Saturday and we’re all in it together,” he reflected.
“We’ve had that for a long time, it’s not at the moment. However we get it back, that might mean me leaving, or might not be. That might mean me leaving and then you’re top of League One in a couple of years or something, that would be fabulous.”
He also said last season that he’d “hate to be coming in here with 12,000 or 10,000 season tickets or something when we’ve been used to far better if that’s down to me”.
Reminded of those comments, he said: “There’s a lot of support for me as well. There is a lot of support for me and for the team and not all negative and I don’t think that’s the case.
“And, yes, I’d love them to be back on side because I really enjoyed, certainly my first three and a half years here, four years, more than I’ve enjoyed this season. But that still doesn’t mean to say I’m not going to continue and be professional and do my job to the very bitter end.”
Has he experienced a similar schism with fans at any of his previous clubs? “I think at the end when it ends, I guess. I won the Championship with Sunderland and spent a year in [the Premier League there] and with Wolves and I think when it starts to come to an end you start getting a bit of grief.
“But I’ve had nothing like that [on Tuesday], I’ve had nothing like that atmosphere. I’ve had more hostile atmospheres, but I’ve never had that. That was like complete apathy and I don’t think there was any respect for the players actually, which is sad.
“Giving the manager stick is one thing, I think giving [it to] players is another thing altogether.”
Is he happy in his work at present? “I love my job at the moment. I come in every day and enjoy it. And pretty much as I walk out on a game day I enjoy that because I always think we’re going to get something out of it.
“And when we do it’s brilliant and when we don’t I just have to suffer the consequences, which I did on Tuesday night.”
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