Milne: We've Got the Top Manager in His Age Group
Wednesday, 30th May 2018 10:43
MD Ian Milne believes Town have appointed “the top manager in his age group”, Paul Hurst having been confirmed as the Blues’ new boss earlier this morning.
Former Shrewsbury manager Hurst, 43, has joined Town on a three-year deal alongside Chris Doig, 37, his deputy at the the Montgomery Waters Meadow and also previously at Grimsby.
“We’re very pleased to announce that Paul Hurst is going to join us with his assistant manager Chris Doig. We’re very excited,” Milne told BBC Radio Suffolk.
The appointment of Hurst ends a two-month search for a new Town manager, it having been confirmed that Mick McCarthy would be moving on at the end of the season in late March, although the former boss ultimately departed with four games of the campaign still remaining.
Milne, who was involved in the recruitment process as was academy manager Lee O’Neill, says owner Marcus Evans spoke to figures throughout the game as he looked for his new boss.
As TWTD reported in April, the club received around 100 applications, while agents were among those asked for their thoughts regarding potential new bosses, as were experienced bosses.
Ex-Tottenham manager David Pleat is known to be among those with whom Evans liaises, while we understand former Scotland manager Craig Levein was another of those he spoke to during the process
Jack Ross, who was on Levein's staff at Hearts early in his coaching career, was the leading contender to emerge from the interviews until he opted to move from St Mirren to Sunderland.
Ross was interviewed twice by Evans, while TWTD revealed that former England internationals Frank Lampard, Scott Parker and Tim Sherwood also held talks, while ex-Dutch international Jaap Stam is also believed to met with the Town owner.
“It’s after a very extensive search by Marcus,” Milne added. “He’s discussed with a number of professionals in the game, managers and what have you, and has had a number of important meetings with likely candidates and it was worth the search.
“And with Paul and Chris we’ve got a couple of young guys, who have got the experience, they’ve done very well to get in the League One play-offs, and he’s been Manager of the Month a number of times. I think he’s going to be fantastic joining us and giving us a new young face at the top of the football management.”
Reflecting further on the search, Milne said: “There were a lot of names down there. I would say, and talking to Marcus, there were probably five or six who are excellent potential candidates but Paul really was Marcus’s first choice after the search.
“And, as I say, the important thing is that he took the opinions of the football managers and the professional people he knows in the game, so it wasn’t just a Marcus Evans decision and he’s going to be a very much younger face for the club.”
Milne says the appointment was made with Town’s traditions in mind: “We’ve been looking to build 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.
“Hopefully Paul will be part of meeting those objectives with his detailed knowledge of the English leagues and his experience.
“I think it was also very important to find somebody who is practical, who has got a good understanding and knowledge of the English game because there are 90-odd clubs and there’s a lot to take on board.
“He’s done his research over the years, who the players are, the clubs and all the rest of it. We’re very pleased that Paul has joined us.”
Despite today’s announcement, there will be no press conference for a few weeks with Hurst currently away on holiday in Dubai.
“There will be an unveiling at some point,” Milne continued. “He’s currently on holiday and I think he said he comes back for a coaching course [LMA Football Diploma] and should be with us around June 18th, that’s being nailed down at the moment.”
Regarding money to strengthen the squad, the Blues chief added: “I think we’ve got a very good squad anyway, vast amounts of money hasn’t done Aston Villa, Middlesbrough etc much better with their parachute payments.
“I think really it is [down to] the experience of the scouting team, and Dave Bowman is going to continue with us, and with Paul’s experience we will build the team that way.
“And yes, if there’s funds needed there’ll be a discussion between Paul and Marcus and that will come to pass. But I think we all agree, we have a very good squad.”
Given his experience working in the lower leagues, Milne says Hurst may well be aware of players he believes can step up to Championship level.
“I think that’s very much hoped for and I think he’s got that broad experience and I know that Marcus and Paul have got on very well in the conversations they’ve had thus far,” he said.
“And also they’ve had similar reports from other people who know Paul and Chris very well have come through to Marcus.”
He added: “I think we’ve got the top manager in his age group and with the experience he’s got. I think it has been out there with the fans and the feedback we’ve got so far has been very enthusiastic. I think it’s plus-plus-plus here.”
Photo: Action Images
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