Town Confirm Hurst Appointment
Wednesday, 30th May 2018 09:38
Town have confirmed the appointment of Paul Hurst as their new manager on a three-year deal. Hurst, 43, will be joined at Portman Road by his Shrewsbury assistant Chris Doig, 37, who is also on a three-year contract.
“Following what has been an exhaustive search I am delighted to announce Paul Hurst as our new manager,” Town owner Marcus Evans told the club site.
“His skill, experience and reputation enhanced by his recent success at Shrewsbury had placed him, from the start of the process, on my shortlist of candidates, resulting in the need to wait until after the League One play-off final to reach a final decision.
“I would like to put on record my thanks to the many football people who have helped me reach an informed decision on the appointment and to the other excellent candidates all of whom, also, had great ideas to take the club forwards.
“However, having spoken with Paul it reaffirmed why he had always been my top target since day one in the recruitment process.
“We are looking to build on the club’s history of playing an attractive, winning style of football; developing youth through our academy and getting the most out of every player we have here.
“Paul ticks all the boxes when it comes to these key attributes and his credentials are backed up by a detailed knowledge of the English leagues whilst demonstrating an ability to adapt, on the pitch, when needed to find a way to get results over the course of a long and arduous season.
“Paul’s efforts over the 2017/18 season were rewarded by him being named the League One Manager of the Year.
"This award, voted for by his fellow managers, reflects the high esteem in which he is held within football circles where his achievements at Shrewsbury, with limited resources, were recognised ahead of his peers at the automatically promoted sides who had only just left the Championship and not so long ago were in the Premier League.
“I am hugely excited that Ipswich is providing an opportunity for a young, up and coming manager to prove himself in one of the world’s toughest leagues and in time hopefully the highest league level in world football.
"I am sure all of our supporters will get behind Paul and like me can’t wait for the new season to get started.
” Hurst, who will begin his new job on around June 18th when he returns from holiday in Dubai and following a coaching course, added: “I’d like to thank Shrewsbury for giving me the chance to manage at League One level.
“It was an unbelievable season and just disappointing that we couldn’t cap it off in the way we would have liked to.
“I had an excellent relationship with everyone at the club and I’d like to wish Shrewsbury the best of fortunes but when this opportunity came up, it was just too good to turn down.
“Ipswich are a big football club when you think of the stature and history it has in the game. When I was just starting to watch football I can remember the likes of Mills, Burley, Wark and Cooper and what a great team they had.
“The club has a great reputation and always looks to be well run and I’m delighted to now be part of Ipswich Town, with an opportunity to make our own history.
“I’m ambitious and I can’t wait to get going and test myself at a higher level. The building blocks are here and it’s my job to move the club forward. I’ll be doing my absolute best to do that.”
Regarding the challenge ahead, Hurst, the LMA's League One Manager of the Year in 2017/18, added: “There are some massive clubs at this level, many of them having recently been in the Premier League, so I know it’s going to be a big challenge but it’s one I can’t wait to take on.
“We have got to try and bridge whatever gaps exist between us and our competition. It’s certainly not all about money. I have found a way before to play to our strengths and making the most of our potential and that will be the aim here, to focus and build on what we can do better than others. We will take it head on.
“The team has enjoyed some success and there are good players here. From what I have seen, there are some promising youngsters as well. It’s my job to help them develop.
“I’ve got to assess the squad and see where we can add to it and then look to move us forward and help get us to where we all want to be - the promised land as they say!
“First impressions will be important. Players will be judged from day one but I know I will be as well. I’ve not managed at this level before so I have something to prove as well.”
Dave Bowman is set to continue in his role as director of football, effectively the chief scout, but there is as yet no news on a goalkeeper-coach or fitness-coach with Malcolm Webster retiring and Andy Liddell opting to move on this summer.
Sheffield-born Hurst spent virtually his entire playing career as a left-back with Rotherham, where he was a team-mate of Blues academy coach Alan Lee, making 438 starts and 59 sub appearances, scoring 16 goals.
He spent a 17-game spell on loan with then-Conference Burton Albion in the second half of 2007/08 before hanging up his boots at the end of that season.
Hurst, who graduated from Staffordshire University with a degree in Professional Sports Writing late in his playing career, jointly took charge of Northern Premier League outfit Ilkeston Town alongside his Millers team-mate Rob Scott in January 2009.
The duo took the Robins from ninth to second and into the Conference North via the play-offs - beating Nantwich Town 2-1 in the final - in only five months in charge at the New Manor Ground.
The pair moved on to Boston United that summer and again won promotion from the Northern Premier League to the Conference North via the play-offs at the first attempt, the Pilgrims defeating Bradford Park Avenue 2-1 in the final. They also carried off the Northern Premier League Challenge Cup and Lincolnshire Senior Shield that season.
In March 2011 Hurst and Scott left Boston to take charge at then-Conference Grimsby Town following the sacking of Blues old boy Neil Woods.
After finishing 11th in the pair's first part-season at Blundell Park, the Mariners ended 2011/12 in the same position having slipped out of play-off contention.
The following season they were fourth having fallen away after leading the division earlier in the campaign and were beaten by Newport County in the play-off semi-finals 2-0 on aggregate, having lost the FA Trophy final on penalties to Wrexham.
Hurst took charge of the Lincolnshire club on his own from September 2013 after Scott was suspended and then subsequently sacked for gross misconduct.
In 2013/14 Grimsby finished third in the Conference but were beaten 5-3 on penalties by Bristol Rovers in the play-off final after a 1-1 draw.
However, the following campaign Hurst took the Mariners back into the EFL after six years away via a 3-1 play-off final victory over Forest Green Rovers having finished fourth.
Hurst began the following season with Grimsby in League Two but in October 2016 he and assistant Doig were recruited by League One Shrewsbury.
They successfully avoided relegation in 2016/17, then masterminded a hugely impressive 2017/18 in which they finished third having been pre-season favourites for the drop before losing Sunday's play-off final to Hurst's former club Rotherham, managed by his old team-mate Paul Warne.
The completion of Hurst's sixth play-off campaign in nine years had long been expected to trigger the patient Blues' formal approach following their two-month search for a new boss.
According to some Shrews sources, the players Hurst is most likely to be keen to recruit from his old club are midfielder Jon Nolan, who perhaps notably was linked with the Blues in April, and defender Aristote Nsiala.
However, a number of other Championship clubs, including Leeds, Norwich and Sheffield United, are all thought to be eyeing Nolan, who is contracted to Shrewsbury until the summer of 2020, and the 26-year-old is likely to cost a substantial fee.
Centre-half Nsiala, whose contract runs to the end of June 2019, is also understood to have been watched by a number of Championship sides during 2017/18.
Like Nolan, the 26-year-old DR Congo international was initially recruited by Hurst when Grimsby manager from elsewhere in non-league, the pair having previously been with the Everton academy.
Keeper Dean Henderson may be an even more likely target if Bartosz Bialkowski moves on this summer with Crystal Palace expected to renew their interest in Town's Polish number one.
The 21-year-old England U16, U17, U20 and U21 international, who has been offered new terms by his parent club Manchester United but is interesting a number of other clubs including Arsenal, has spent the season on loan with the Shrews and may well be sent out for a further spell in a higher division next season having previously played for Hurst at Grimsby in addition to a stint at Stockport.
Photo: Action Images
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