He has come from the lower reaches of English football, and worked his way up the league ladder but is this a step too far for new boss Paul Hurst? All indications so far suggest that it is probably not. After an extensive search, which lasted for 63 days and consisted of over 100 applicants, we have today finally discovered who the new manager of Ipswich Town football club is, and to be honest, it had been on the cards for some time.
Arguably the worst kept secret in football was that owner Marcus Evans had Paul Hurst on top of his wish list, and although he apparently interviewed Frank Lampard and new Sunderland boss Jack Ross twice, they never quite did enough to dissuade Evans from waiting for his perfect match, and Hurst was installed this morning on a three-year contract, along with his assistant Chris Doig.
Hurst was born in Sheffield and made close to 500 appearances for Rotherham United as a left-sided defender, before cutting his managerial teeth with another former Rotherham defender in Rob Scott. The Northern Premier League was the starting point and he managed both Ilkeston Town and Boston United in this division before a long spell with Grimsby and then the Shrewsbury job; where he guided a club who were the bookies favourites for relegation, into becoming a side that was but a whisker away from promotion to the Championship!
He is still only 43, which I guess is a good age for a manager with ambition. Unfortunately, these days football management is a merry-go-round but so far so good for the new man at the helm at Ipswich Town. To date, he has not lost a job anywhere and instead there has been a steady progression on his part. He will obviously find this league very challenging but the great advantage he has is, that after Mick McCarthy, supporters will be much more forgiving and of course, under owner Marcus Evans, he should have lots of time on his side to prove himself.
His curriculum vitae ticks all the right boxes but let us be honest about this, hiring someone who no experience of championship football is a bit of a risk. Yes, I admit, it is a calculated risk but then, so is every managerial position I suppose, so I will reserve judgement on this appointment for now.
I obviously want him to succeed but all those years ago I wanted John Duncan to succeed too and more recently Paul Jewell so the ‘wanting’ never really stops.
I think we must all just hope that the extensive soundings carried out on behalf of Marcus Evans and prior to Hurst getting the job, should calm our nerves a little. When someone whispers the same name in your ear enough times, you are bound to hear it in the end. The fact that no one ever seriously got close to the post, suggests that a lot of people in the game held favourable views towards the new incumbent at Portman Road, long before that signature sealed the deal.
FW – editor of Vital Ipswich