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Spence: My Respect For Mick and TC Couldn’t Be Any Greater
Thursday, 12th Apr 2018 17:37

Town defender Jordan Spence has expressed his gratitude to former boss Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor following their departures from Portman Road following Tuesday’s 1-0 home defeat of relegation-threatened Barnsley.

Spence was without a club after leaving MK Dons at the end of the 2015/16 season and it was after being offered a chance to train with Town earlier that season that McCarthy decided to reward him with a contract in January last year.

That took him through to the end of the season when he accepted the club’s offer of a two-year deal due to expire in the summer of 2019.

The versatile 27-year-old defender said: “I think I’m on record as saying a couple of times how grateful I am to Mick. He gave me an opportunity and I’d like to think in some ways that I’ve paid him back by doing my job and doing what has been expected of me.

“I feel I’ve improved as a footballer after taking on board what both he and, obviously, TC have done and I feel genuinely better for it.

“I think the respect that I have for him and TC couldn’t be any greater. Even if you’re on the outside looking in you would be able to sense that the attitude from the players towards the manager was always positive.

“I’m sure he doesn’t have any doubts about how appreciated he was by all of us. All he ever asked of us was that we went out and gave everything – and as long as he saw that he was happy.”

Spence believes McCarthy will continue in the game when the right opportunity comes along to add to his 26 years as a manager with Millwall, the Republic of Ireland, Sunderland, Wolves and, of course, Town.

“I’d like to think he will return as a manager and I also hope he does,” he added. “I think we’d all like an opportunity to pit our wits against him and for him to find a job where he’s happy and in a good working environment.”

As Marcus Evans begins the search for McCarthy’s successor, Spence was asked if the Town players ever hear from the club’s reclusive owner. He replied: “I haven’t personally and you’d have to ask the other boys whether or not they have. Everybody wants to know what’s going on but he’s got a lot more things to consider and I don’t know where speaking to the players comes on the priority list.

“I’m sure there are a lot of things to go through and certain decisions that have to be made, and I would think he only wants us to concentrate on playing and trying to do as well as we can.”

Was it an unsettling time for the players? Spence said: “As humans we crave comfort and stability, but I didn’t have a job for six months and didn’t know where I was going to be playing.

“I know that if I do what I’m capable of doing I’ll be good for anyone who walks through the door. When that time comes we’ll take it from there.”

McCarthy’s ongoing spat with a section of the club’s support, together with the perceived lack of entertainment on offer, hastened his departure.

Spence added: “From my position it’s about playing football. I’ve been in a lot more precarious situations than this. We had a very good first half of the season, a slightly disappointing second half and there are probably another 12 teams below us who would like to trade positions with us.

“We’ve just got to be as good as we can be. I try to stay away from social media and the forum of public opinion, and concentrate on what I can control.

“Part of that is to understand and listen to the people who have key roles – management, coaching staff, mentors and team-mates – but outside of these four walls I think it is important that you have a gate at the front and you are careful what you let in and what you don’t.

“I don’t really know what the consensus is in terms of percentages but there have been some really uncomfortable occasions at Portman Road and you would be a liar if you said you hadn’t noticed that.

“However, I’d like to think that they have come about because fans want to see us do well, just as much as we want to do well.

“At Brentford on Saturday we were leaving the field at the full-time whistle and although the fans were close it was still difficult to know if they were airing their grievances at the gaffer or at the players – or both.

“It’s more noticeable at a ground like Brentford because you walk past the away section on your way to the dressing rooms.

“However, the fans were really good during the game and we felt that with the momentum we had we were going to push for an equaliser.

“I was exasperated at the end that we hadn’t managed to get a goal and I wasn’t a particularly nice person to be around in the dressing room afterwards. It was obvious that the manager was receiving some attention from the fans.”

Spence was full of praise for Irish teenager Barry Cotter, who was handed a debut by McCarthy and excelled until tiredness necessitated his withdrawal early in the second half.

“It was really good, wasn’t it?” said Spence. “It was so exciting to watch at close quarters and I enjoyed the way he took to it. He’s full of beans and a few of the boys were saying he’s settled quicker than snow, which is great.

“He’s a great character and it was a fantastic performance from him, although anyone who had seen him in training wouldn’t have been surprised.

“The manager obviously spotted it, signed him and has now given him his first team chance. He did exactly what he would have wanted to do on his debut and what he probably dreamt about doing when he got the opportunity.

“It was great to see and apart from being a great lad he obviously has bags of potential.”

Cotter’s emergence increases the competition for places at right-back or right wing-back, which could intensify further next season if Josh Emmanuel returns from his loan spell at Rotherham.

Spence said: “I haven’t thought far ahead yet but competition for places is always good. If you’re in a place where your shirt isn’t under threat then you’re either not playing at a particularly high level or you’re Messi or Ronaldo.”

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jonju11 added 17:54 - Apr 12
What a sensible & level headed response to what has been an uncomfortable time for to the Club. An intelligent young man who is quick to appreciate the chance given to him & on balance has not let the Club down. It is a time for all fans to take stock & give credit to MM & TC for what they achieved in the first 3 years at the Club whilst at the same time express their dissatisfaction @ the quality of football played over the last couple of seasons. Who was to blame...well football is all about money these days & if you haven't got it to spend then the goods on offer are not going to the same quality as those who do have. The way forward in my view is with our Academy. I am happy to see a mid season average performance if the youngsters show they can ultimately deliver. Let's see a return to the early Burley/Magilton years. I've renewed my ticket for next year & remain positive. (What else would you do on a Saturday afternoon??)
24

jonju11 added 17:54 - Apr 12
What a sensible & level headed response to what has been an uncomfortable time for to the Club. An intelligent young man who is quick to appreciate the chance given to him & on balance has not let the Club down. It is a time for all fans to take stock & give credit to MM & TC for what they achieved in the first 3 years at the Club whilst at the same time express their dissatisfaction @ the quality of football played over the last couple of seasons. Who was to blame...well football is all about money these days & if you haven't got it to spend then the goods on offer are not going to the same quality as those who do have. The way forward in my view is with our Academy. I am happy to see a mid season average performance if the youngsters show they can ultimately deliver. Let's see a return to the early Burley/Magilton years. I've renewed my ticket for next year & remain positive. (What else would you do on a Saturday afternoon??)
4

budgieplucker added 21:10 - Apr 12
How refreshing to have an intelligent young man as part of our squad. I do feel Jordan has done a good job this year, for me I think his performances as a centre back in a back 3 have really surprised me where he has looked really comfortable. His fullback and wing back performances though have been a little inconsistent but a very good squad player, just a shame about the moment of madness at Fulham
9

armchaircritic59 added 22:06 - Apr 12
Have to say, the two "interviews" on here with JS appear to highlight, what a sensible, deep thinking, young man he is. Someone who shows players in a good light, which doesn't always happen!
11

Bert added 23:12 - Apr 12
Good to hear such balanced and intelligent views on here.
9

midastouch added 23:16 - Apr 12
Spence has been given MOM more times than most players this season as according to here:
https://www.twtd.co.uk/ipswich-town-fixtures/
He's had a few wobbles but been more good than bad I'd say.
And I echo the positive sentiments above, Spence does sound a well rounded and thoughtful lad.
8

TheTrueBlue1878 added 23:20 - Apr 12
Level headed chap indeed, do think he is a lot better at Centre-Back, same with Knudsen, both physically capable, feel its to do with the fact that in that centre-back role he focuses first and foemost on defending which he is best at, not so comfortable on the ball flying up and down the wing.
5

TonyHumesIpswich added 23:28 - Apr 12
Sensible comments here and agree that Spence looks better at Centre-Back than RWB. Intelligent lad and from all accounts very popular with the other players. Has had a few recent wobbles but has also put in some really good performances.
6

beornioblue added 06:30 - Apr 13
Centre back not a problem, Cotter can run all day as right wing back ... job done haha
3

poldark added 07:59 - Apr 13
Certainly not McCarthys biggest fan and glad to see the back of him but I think some of the players he has brought into the club are nice human beings and for this I credit him .
I am not a Spence fan but he speaks with honesty and humility well done Jordan
5

guentchev added 09:31 - Apr 13
Good player...but like others have said I'm uncertain as to his best position. Keeps himself fit and always gives his all.

He's a shining example for younger players at the club.
4

black_shuck added 10:22 - Apr 13
Saviour. Legend. How does he get any jobs with this language. Respect?? I don't think so.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/audio/2009/jan/28/mick-mccarthy-wolves-rant
0

blueherts added 10:36 - Apr 13
Comes across as a very thoughtful and considered guy and it must have been a great relief to land a deal and I think he has grown into the role .
For all the short comings MM had in the later years - as much about his stubborness - which probably comes with his age ! he has bought in some players that will be a good influence on the younger players coming through
We have a really good crop of young players in Dozzell , Downes , Nydam , Morris , Folami , Kenlock , Emmanuel - add in Cotter , Webster , Crowe mixed with the likes of Huws , Spence , Waghorn and hopefully Bart - we have makings of a great mix of experience and youth - I know depends on new manager but I really hope we go for young and hungry rather than older and stubborn !
2

cambsman added 12:55 - Apr 13
Well that,s another cowboy in the circle surrounded by the indians finding the leader to be such a nice man surly there must be at least one dissenter within the circle for fair balanced reporting who is that person ?
-2

mib added 17:20 - Apr 13
How on earth did all you supporters carry on going to watch that dismal, turgid rubbish that was served up for you to watch over the last few years, I stopped going to Portman Road 3 years ago, that is after supporting town since 1954 and I will now be renewing my season ticket again. HE,S GONE .YEEEEEEEEEEES
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