Hurst: The Goal is to Create Another Bit of History Here
Tuesday, 12th Jun 2018 17:30
Incoming Town manager Paul Hurst demonstrated a nice line in self-deprecating humour as he was unveiled at a busy press conference earlier today.
Hurst looked completely at ease faced by a battery of cameras and confidently answered questions from journalists meeting him for the first time following his switch from Shrewsbury to fill the vacancy created by Mick McCarthy’s hastier-than-anticipated departure in April.
The 43-year-old former full-back, who spent his entire playing career with Rotherham, aside from a short loan spell with Burton Albion, could not help but be impressed by Town’s rich history, in particular the achievements of the two former managers whose success led to them both being appointed as managers of England.
The statues of Sir Alf Ramsey, who won the league title for Town in 1962 and the World Cup for his country four years later, and Sir Bobby Robson, who led his players to FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory in 1978 and 1981, are familiar Portman Road landmarks.
It brought the house down when 5ft 5ins tall Hurst grinned: “The goal is to create another bit of history here. I’m not saying a statue, although it wouldn’t cost a lot to make a life-size one of me!”
Hurst went on: “You want to be involved with clubs like this. The fans and everyone associated with the club are proud of the history, and it shouldn’t be forgotten.
“I’ve walked along the corridors and there are some new images along with pictures and articles relating to the past, which is important.
“You don’t forget, although from my point of view it doesn’t really help me and Chris to get results in the coming season.
“At the same time, we want to be fondly remembered here in years to come. But while being respectful of the past, our vision is very much about the future.”
Hurst has been joined at Town by his former Shrewsbury assistant Chris Doig, a former Nottingham Forest defender from north of the border who also played alongside Town skipper Luke Chambers at Northampton Town.
He said: “Some people refer to our working relationship as good cop, bad cop, and Chris will say I’m the bad cop really and vice-versa.
“But we work well together, that’s all I will say. We’ve got very similar views and demands that we put on the players but at the same time one thing I do like is that he’s certainly not a yes-man.
“We will have debates and I’m sure I have picked teams in the past that he wouldn’t have done, but ultimately we are both hungry for success and we’ve managed to get to a very good level at a very good football club.
“That’s not to say it’s where I want the journey to end. Hopefully we can progress here and we’ll do everything in our power to do that.”
The new man was asked who had been his own managerial mentor and he replied: “No one – that’s the honest answer. I feel bad when people ask that question because I have a lot of respect for a lot of managers, but in truth it has generally been from afar and I haven’t really known them personally.
“I was thrown into a job as a player-manager and I was joint-manager at the time. I’d never have thought I would get to this position but through a lot of hard work, some good decisions and building relationships I find myself sat here at Ipswich Town and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
It has been a whirlwind few weeks for Hurst, who led the Shrews to the League One play-off final at Wembley towards the end of last month, a game in which they lost 2-1 in extra time to a Rotherham side managed by his friend and former team-mate Paul Warne.
He reflected: “I’m surprised I can talk really, or understand where I am, but thankfully I do. There are a lot of emotions – a gruelling but very enjoyable season that didn’t quite have the ending that we all wanted, and then I got a call about this job and the interest in me.
“I’ve been trying to be a husband and a father who isn’t too down and I’ve had lots of things going through my head, like calls to make etc. There hasn’t been much rest in all honesty but would I change it? Certainly not. I’m very proud and honoured to be sat here today.”
Hurst has no immediate plans to relocate lock, stock and barrel to Suffolk. He explained: “That’s very much up in the air at present, which is more to do with my children, the ages they are and their schooling.
“That will all play out in time but I will certainly be based down here and we’ll see whether all the family move or whether I get a bit of peace and quiet here on my own.
“This is my first day at the stadium. We had the play-off final then the following day there was the approach and then I was away on holiday.
“I’ve looked at some footage online and some videos, and I’ve spoken to lots of people, but in terms of seeing it firsthand it’s all new today. I’ve been in the home dressing room, I’ve seen how the pitch is growing and I’m off to the training ground afterwards.”
Throughout his career in management Hurst has enjoyed relative success despite operating on low budgets and knows only too well that he will be in a similar situation with Town, owner Marcus Evans not exactly renowned for his transfer market spending.
Hurst added: “In fairness to Grimsby Town, we weren’t as big as everyone thought we were but we always felt we were in with a chance.
“Going to Shrewsbury Town we weren’t either and even before that in Conference North etc we didn’t have the big budgets.
“I believe – and maybe it’s the Yorkshireman within me – that I try to treat the money as my own so I’m not too keen on parting with it.
“I also want value for money. If money was the only thing that brought you success there would be no point in even starting the season.
“We’ve got to bridge the gap in certain ways and with the teams that have come down from the Premier League it’s pointless trying to do that in financial terms.
“But teams have done it in the past and it’s not always the biggest spenders, and we’re hoping we can be one of those.”
With attendances dipping in line with form and predecessor Mick McCarthy’s relationship with supporters deteriorating rapidly towards the end of his time in charge, Town are in need of a lift and Hurst was asked how he might bring that about.
He said: “Hopefully, just the fact that there has been a change to some degree. I’m sure there will be some people out there to whom I will have to prove myself and ultimately our performances and winning games of football are the biggest things that will attract the fans back.
“From what I have been told my appointment has been greeted very well in most areas and even in the last couple of games last season the attendances went back up, I think I’m right in saying.
“Everyone wants this club to do well and at the beginning of every season there is a renewed optimism.
“We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t fade away quickly – we want that to carry forward for as long as possible – and I’m sure if that happens and the fans are happy with the performances and the style of play they will get right behind the players and us.”
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