Ipswich Town. One of the biggest clubs in Europe during the 70s. Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey are the names that you think of when Ipswich Town is mentioned… After 16 seasons in the championship, that run could be about to end – sadly not in the way Town fans wanted.
The End of the Mick Era
Mick McCarthy’s six year stay at the Suffolk side came to an abrupt end last April as he walked with four games to go, fed up with “abuse from numbskulls.” McCarthy led Ipswich to a mini revival during his early years at the club, leading them to three top 10 finishes in a row. One of these finishes includes qualifying for the Play Offs, the first time since 2004-05, before losing to rivals, Norwich City in the semi finals.
Sadly, during the final two seasons, the relationship with the fans went down the pan, and chants went from “Super Mick McCarthy” to “Mick McCarthy, your football is sh*t.”
Fans complained about the negative style McCarthy played, including starting three defensive midfielders at home.
A manager who saved the club in 2012, and got them within a chance to return to the big time, left with most fans relieved.
The time was right for McCarthy to depart, his spell had came to a natural end.
The Klug Caretaker Spell
Following the abrupt departure of Mick McCarthy, the academy director and former Town player, Bryan Klug was appointed as the caretaker manager until the end of the season. He had four games to oversee, and his first game ended in a 2-1 away defeat to Nottingham Forest. This was despite Grant Ward giving them a 1-0 lead in the 73rd minute, until conceding two late goals on the 89th minute and 95th minute respectively.
The next game was an away trip to Birmingham to play Aston Villa at Villa Park, boosted by a large away following, fans were hopeful this could be the beginning of the post Mick-era. Instead, Town got hammered 4-0, and the goalscorer from the previous week, Grand Ward, being shown a straight red on the 42nd minute.
Another away game for Klug’s men to undertake, as they headed to the Madejski to play Reading, and after losing 4-0, they responded by winning 4-0 with goals from Waghorn, Spence and two goals from Sears, and Everton loanee, Callum Connolly in injury time.
The last game of the season was a home game against Middlesbrough, and Klug’s last game as the caretaker boss, and a large crowd welcomed the Town players back to Portman Road for the final time this season. Freddie Sears scored the first goal of the game on the 8th minute before Stuart Downing equalised for Boro on the 73rd. 10 minutes later, Martyn Waghorn looked to have scored the winner as he scored a penalty to give Town a 2-1 lead, however in the 6th minute of injury time, Patrick Bamford scored for the Boro, and the game ended 2 all.
The Short-Lived Hurst Era
Following Shrewsbury’s play off final defeat, Paul Hurst moved to Ipswich, becoming the clubs 16th permanent manager. Fans were hopeful, and glad that Marcus Evans had finally got a young and upcoming manager…if only they could see into the future…
Hurst sought to stamp his authority on the squad, and immediately cut a number of senior pros from the squad, releasing a number of players including Luke Hyam, Kevin Bru and Stephen Gleeson.
Throughout the transfer window, Hurst also sold a number of his senior players including Martyn Waghorn (to Derby), Joe Garner (to Wigan) and Adam Webster (to Bristol City.) He replaced these players with a number of players from League One and Two, including his former players, Jon Nolan and Toto Nsalia.
After a dismal start to the season, with just 1 win from the first 16 league games, Hurst was dismissed from his role as Ipswich Town manager. He left the club as the shortest manager in the history of the club, having being in the job for just under five months and with a win ratio of just 6.7%.
Lambert Steps In
Following the sacking of Paul Hurst, Bryan Klug was re-appointed as the caretaker boss for the next game, although by the time it was played, it had already been announced that the former Norwich manager, Paul Lambert, would become the next manager and was at the game, as he watched his new side lose.
Lambert has since managed five games, failing so far to find his first win. Their most recent game was a 3-2 home loss against Bristol City, despite having the lead twice.
The problem with Town is the players who Hurst bought are just not simply good enough for the championship. The loss of the senior players were not replaced adequately, and they’re paying for it now.
All that Ipswich can do for now is stay in touching distance until January then Paul Lambert must spend to get some well needed experience into the squad…
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