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Hurst: I Don't Think the Group as a Whole Bought into What We Were Trying to Do
Friday, 11th Jan 2019 15:26

Former boss Paul Hurst has talked at length about his time with the Blues for the first time and says he doesn’t think the squad at Town “as a whole bought into what we were trying to do”, adding that he found it difficult to have a relationship with owner Marcus Evans.

Speaking at length in an interview with Sky Sports, Hurst reflected on his 149 days in charge at Portman Road, which ended on October 25th when his assistant Chris Doig, fitness coach Nathan Winder and physio Chris Skitt also left the club.

"I wanted people to embrace the idea that you be the best that you can be - with no excuses," he said.

"That's something I'm a big believer in. But as it went on, maybe because we did not get those early victories, those excuses began to creep in there.

“It is easy to say that you want change but when it comes along are you prepared to put the hard work in or do you show some resistance?

"I don't think the group as a whole bought into what we were trying to do. I'd had a fantastic relationship with my players at every one of my other clubs. Even at Ipswich, I felt I had decent relationships and the door was always open for players to air their grievances.

"But what it showed to me was the importance of getting the right characters in the dressing room. Character is so important. All you can do is manage those characters the best that you can until you can get the squad how you want it."

Hurst, 44, says he always knew it was a tough job to make Town competitive in the Championship given the budget he was working with.

"I'd had some success at Shrewsbury with an unfancied team that were second favourites for relegation, so you are hoping you can do something similar," he reflected.

"The owner didn't want to embrace that underdog tag. He felt that given the club's history and having been in the Championship for a long time, he didn't want to go down that route. I was OK with that and so we decided to do something different.

"We certainly put more emphasis on sports science. We also wanted to recruit in a different way because there was this complaint about adding journeymen players to the squad. The aim was to bring in younger and hungrier players with a point to prove.

"That is going to take time. I was not naïve enough to think that all the new players would take to it like a duck to water and play really well because that doesn't happen. But the mindset was that one or two could do that and some of the others could do it with time.”

He says things were difficult from the start: "Pre-season was a struggle. I fought hard to get us a trip abroad just to change things up a bit. The owner, the players and the fans needed that culture change.

"They had been going to Ireland with Mick [McCarthy] but it had almost become a set routine. I thought going abroad instead was great but because we went without anything like the squad we ended up with, that bonding experience was not as effective as I would have liked it to be.

"A lot of the players that went on that trip were not going to be part of my plans to begin with and others moved on. We sold Adam Webster after a couple of days of pre-season and I couldn't replace him until the season had started. We went into the season with one senior centre-back and we were filling in around that.

"At the other end of the pitch, David McGoldrick had already left the football club and then we lost Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner. Both wanted to leave and that left a huge void which had to be filled within the wage structure which was difficult.

“The lads that came in probably needed some time to gain confidence and would have benefited from an experienced player like Martyn or Joe.

"Most of the time changes take time to come together and we were starting the season nowhere near as far forward as I had hoped."

Regarding working with Evans, who has taken a more hands-on role since Paul Lambert took charge, he said: "Trying to have a relationship with the owner was difficult. We spoke on the phone but with him not being around to speak to in person, it meant that there was a little bit of a void."

Reflecting on the current positives for the club, he added: "There are a lot of good young players coming through. If they can continue to progress over the next year or two they might end up in a situation where that group can all be playing in the same team. That would be a real positive for the football club.

"Paul has also brought more new faces to the club, which I would have liked to do in the January window. They may have the positive impact which the team requires. I hope the club can retain their Championship status as I was, and still am, grateful for the opportunity they gave me."

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Tractorboy1985 added 15:32 - Jan 11
Why didn’t you buy the right characters then mr Hurst?? Good riddance... without doubt the worst manager in ITFC history.. thanks to you and mr Evans this club will more than likely be playing 3rd tier football for the first time in 60+ years! However I hope I’m wrong! COYB

1RWR added 15:32 - Jan 11
Ah-ha! I'm first to respond!
So, let's not be rude or disrespectful to PH, that's all I ask.
I'm glad we have PL & I'll leave it there!

1RWR added 15:33 - Jan 11
ok, then I'm second! lol!

BaddowBlue1 added 15:41 - Jan 11
I think Barts new contract probably using the McGoldrick funds turned the heads of Garner, Waghorn and Webster resulting in their Agents getting them moved during pre-season which probably didn't help the new guy trying to give us a new start, so the dice was loaded from the start. The change in management style also rubbed a lot of players up the wrong way but you can see the true professionals in Skuse and Chambo who got on with the job. Think that the can of worms that was 2018-19 pre-season will slowly come out in the wash. Still Hurst is in the past, Lambert is our future and guiding light lets get that result tomorrow - Come on You Blues!

Green_Army added 15:46 - Jan 11
I feel sorry for Hurst to be honest, let's face it we can't be a very attractive proposition for any manager at the moment, fair play he had the courage to take it on in the first place.

If ME really cared about the club going forward he would of been doing his upmost to aid Hurst in the first season, especially following MM's departure after years in the job, but instead it seems he was limited to minimal phone calls.

Our club won't progress if ME remains, stacking up those debts and adding his own interest on top, dark days lie ahead if something doesn't change and change quickly.

cat added 15:47 - Jan 11
PH was not my first choice but I was happy with the appointment. Im a big fan of the system he tried to employ and he brought players in with pace to compliment this system. A mixture of bad luck and individual mistakes ultimately cost him his job and for those reason I wish him the best for the future. Cue minuses but as you should know by now I don’t really give a flying one 😂

roytheboy added 15:50 - Jan 11
We've moved on, I'm certain that Paul Hurst would have done his best, obviously great mistakes were made between him and Mr Evans re: transfers in and out, however I wish him good luck and certainly do not like to read unnecessary cruel comments, I am really pleased with Paul Lambert and confident that he will give us 100% three points tomorrow I think.

chicoazul added 15:51 - Jan 11
Character is indeed important Mini Roy, which is why it's such a shame you don't possess any.

matthewwylds added 15:51 - Jan 11
What a prick this guy is a complete waste of time ask Bart if his door was always open I know for a fact it wasn’t I hope you don’t get another job in football w#nker

positivity added 15:53 - Jan 11
that's fairly measured, he could've easily stuck the boot in more. you wonder how different things would've been if he'd been allowed to hang on to waghorn or kept walters fit, but you can always what-if...

one thing i'd quibble with:-
"Even at Ipswich, I felt I had decent relationships and the door was always open for players to air their grievances."
that may have been the intention, but basic errors like not letting a key player like bart know he was being dropped, suggests that he's still got more to learn in this department!

Vic added 15:56 - Jan 11
He misjudged the quality of the Championship and the calibration of players needed. OK, he lost a lot through loans and their choice to leave, but the players he brought in have proven to be just too low a quality. One or two lower league players to develop would have been OK, but not the numbers he bought. He was th master of his own downfall and no excuses will cover that.

thechangingman added 15:56 - Jan 11
I certainly don't wish PH any ill-will, but neither do I care about him, or what he thinks of his time at Ipswich.
It was a very sorry affair, and I fear we'll be feeling the ramifications of it for some time to come.
He is our past now though, and therefore irrelevant.
PL is our present, and I am very glad about that...

cromwellblue added 15:57 - Jan 11
I'm with 1RWR, let's not make this an abuse fest.

The principal of the appointment was exactly what the supporters wanted. Young manager, new ideas and search for lower league talent. Yes, maybe we overdid it but circumstances drove that. Some of the blame for losing player aimed at PH is unfair. Many were already on their way out. Others I believe were less than impressed by the treatment of MM and took the opportunity to leave when it came (Webster, Waghorn, Garner). I think Knudsen is in that group as well but his chance to get out did not come but he's clearly still looking to get out.

We'll never know if a couple of early wins may have made things different. I honestly believe after 3 games we could have had 9pts but also could have had 0. They were that much on a knife edge.

What I do take from this article is that maybe the appointment process was not done as well as it could be. ME had to wait a long time to get to speak to PH by which time he had interviewed many others. They, I am sure, would not want to feel like second choice. So in the end taking PH may have been the only option left after such a lengthy process. The comments from PH suggest the thoughts and plan were not as aligned as you would like.

At the end of the day every appointment is a risk. This one did not work out. But if we are honest the current situation has not arisen from the PH tenure, this is the outcome of years of decline at the club because we simply do not have the resources to compete financially.

Blaming ME is a simple solution but not entirely fair or unfair. Is it reasonable for us to expect him to plough all his money in? As a supporter the emotional response is yes, but we have to be realistic. In the same way ME needs to appreciate that yes 7-8M a year is a sizeable investment, but in the arena it just ain't enough.

All we can hope is that at 3pm tomorrow we begin the miracle.


stringtheory added 16:01 - Jan 11
As convincing as one of his post-match press conferences.

BlueySwede added 16:04 - Jan 11
We don´t really know what went on behind the scenes. I am in no doubt that Hurst tried his best and had good intentions. He made a few big mistakes in my view. Signing too many players, poor man management (Bialkowski springs to mind, but on the other hand we only have one version of the story) and chopping and changing the team too much (guess he did not know his best team). Hurst seemed out of his depth, but his intentions was of course not to fail.

Cakeman added 16:07 - Jan 11
Indeed it’s all history now and we have a very good manager in place now so much to look forward to.
I close by hoping all goes well for Paul Hurst in the future because yes a lot of mistakes were made but I cannot believe that it was all his fault. Some of the players possibly didn’t want him here and they let him down and the club with it.

Popeye added 16:07 - Jan 11
It’s true we did tend to sign journeymen players when MM and RK were in charge but PH asked players who were in league 2 to step up to championship level which is too big a jump for them all at once. He should have brought in one or two from that league and again one or two from league 1 and one or two experienced championship players. He just tried to change too much at once! You have to say that it wasn’t all his fault, ME is an absent owner and clearly PH found it difficult to have a relationship with him, I think that is why ME is now spending more time at the club, he needs to be more involved day to day rather than leaving it to others

MichaelRockyLavelle added 16:08 - Jan 11
I have to say I feel a bit sorry for Hurst.

He tried to change too much too quickly - though many of the departures weren't his fault.
His transfers would probably have worked out - had we kept Webster + at least one of Waghorn, McGoldrick or Garner. (Pref McG) to balance that lack of experience

The seasons didn't get off to a good start & he then panicked
- ditching any semblance of continuity in team selections
Trying to make us very attacking without a solid defense
Which is exactly the opposite of what got him success at Shrewsbury.

Also his man-management wasn't quite good enough to command the respect of the more senior players and he seemed to lose the changing room

Hopefully this isn't the end of his management career

itfc94 added 16:08 - Jan 11
He always spoke a good game, but that never really seemed to lead to positive results. I kind of understand what PH was trying to achieve, but definitely do not understand his ideology around being known as underdogs. That’s not a tag you should not willingly apply to yourself and I’m glad ME closed the door on that, given our history and the club we are.

You can already see that PL wants to change and re-build, and i do think PH tried to do that, perhaps not as good as how PL is trying to do it though. Maybe a communication issue with ME from PH - not surprising.


dirtydingusmagee added 16:11 - Jan 11
WTF Hurst, who kicked your kennel. Looking at the state we are in now i dont think we need any further input from you,

Keaneish added 16:14 - Jan 11
"There are a lot of good young players coming through. If they can continue to progress over the next year or two they might end up in a situation where that group can all be playing in the same team. That would be a real positive for the football club."

In what division though Paul and will they be the same players plummeting through the leagues?

oioihardy added 16:18 - Jan 11
He’s a nice guy. And I think his heart was in the right place. But again Evans was a major issue in the summer window. He’s not bothered about this club. If a owner isn’t there in the summer window he may aswell call it a day. You need the owner to be there almost constantly in the transfer windows. You need to be able to speak to him then for targets. For that reason I feel sorry for hurst

Suffolkboy added 16:22 - Jan 11
Sadly, but not unexpectedly ,its still difficult to get a real sense of reality ,objectivity and empathy with what PH has to say .The defensive ‘waffle ‘ hasn’t changed : and if you look back he clearly stated ( as reported ) that ME was a little taken aback by his transfer dealings ,and my guess is that W,G etc just did not want to play under this man , with better opportunities becoming available ( perhaps even amongst supporters this scenario is recognisable ) .
BUT this is the past ,he’ll be wanting to reconstruct his credentials ,so we should simply wish him well and Hope lessons have been learned by one and all !
The way is forward now and being clearly signposted by PL.

Fatboy added 16:29 - Jan 11
Ireland is abroad.

SouperJim added 16:43 - Jan 11
Take some bloody responsibility man.

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