Former boss Mick McCarthy and new incumbent Paul Hurst have one thing discernible thing in common and that is they are both from Yorkshire. Apart from this geographical reality, they are seemingly as different as chalk and cheese.
OK, we all know that Yorkshiremen have a bit of a reputation for being a bit spendthrift but given owner Marcus Evans desire to air on the side of financial caution, it is easy to see why PJ was his prefered managerial appointment.
The Yorkshire connection aside, and it is hard to find two people who are so strikingly dissimilar. Hurst has said that he finds playing football that lacks adventure is a bit like watching a game of chess and instead, he wants to find ways of putting the Blues on the front foot, with a pair of pacey wingers running down the flanks.
Hurst also acknowledges the debt of gratitude he already owes Ipswich Town supporters, who have generally warmed to him – even before his first press conference.”I know I’ve got to prove myself to those fans. Ultimately, winning games of football and performances are the biggest thing that attracts fans back.”
He is right of course and how long this football honeymoon with fans lasts, might well depend on how long he can sustain the ‘entertainment value’ that he has promised is an essential ingredient in the way he thinks football. He explained, ” Everyone wants this club to do well and at the beginning of every season there is renewed optimism. We’ve got to try and make sure that doesn’t fade away quickly. We want that to carry forward and for as long as possible.”
This is a refreshing change from the Mick McCarthy mantra that a point is always a good point and that he often told his players, “Whatever you do don’t lose!” McCarthy contradicted himself at times however by suggesting that he wanted to win every game, when in fact his substitutions and his defensive formations often suggested otherwise.
Paul Hurst, by contrast, is committed to attacking football, and although he is aware that a solid defence is a foundation on which to build, he is not intent on putting all his eggs into the one basket. He wants flying wingers that can provide fans with entertainment – even perhaps sometimes above the end outcome.
This can be a risky strategy as Paul Jewell found out to his cost but Hurst is lucky in that he has inherited a good squad, with a lot of talented young players and long-term absentees, and this is before he embarks on his own recruitment plan.
The proof will be in the pudding but if his press conference is anything to go by, then he already has the recipe for lasting success!
FW – editor of Vital Ipswich