He has been the bookies favourite to succeed Mick McCarthy until today and now it seems Jack Ross could be off to Sunderland but who can we really believe?
The news broke this afternoon, via Sky sources, that the Town fans number one choice for the Ipswich post could be heading to Wearside instead! In Scotland, the Daily Record confirmed this but the details remain a bit sketchy. The deal is understood to be a two-year arrangement with newly relegated Championship side, with an option for a third year if everything goes to plan, and the new incumbent is said to be excited by the prospect of managing those sleeping giants!
Sunderland are said to be paying St Mirren £50,000 in compensation and they are believed to have offered the Scotsman five times more than he is being paid at the moment and if this is the case, it is hard to see Town competing with that sum – even if the deal is far from done at this stage.
And why should it be far from done? Well because St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott has stated vehemently that Sunderland have not been given permission to talk to Ross and this has only occurred to date with Barnsley with whom Ross eventually declined, and more recently Ipswich, who have conducted two interviews with him so far and he is now said to be on vacation!
If Sunderland have poached him from under our noses and without the permission of St.Mirren, then they and Ross are culpable and Scott insisted that no communication with the club has been made. “There has been no contact from Sunderland with us and Jack is on holiday, so unless there is some major skulduggery going on, then it’s nonsense. To hold talks with Jack, we would have to grant permission, ” he exclaimed.
So then, what can we read into this? Could it just be that the man Sunderland have lined up is NOT Jack Ross and instead Paul Hurst? If you can believe what is being said on the Football League World website, then the Wearside club are indeed interested in Hurst and their new chairman Stewart Donald, having finalised a 40 million pounds deal to take over the club as late as Monday afternoon, is very keen on the Shrewsbury boss.
Of course, too much deliberation can obviously back-fire and this could be what has happened to owner Marcus Evans? He has wanted to wait until after the First Division play-off’s on Sunday before interviewing Hurst and if he is not careful he might miss out on the both of them because if the Shrews get promoted what is to say that Hirst won’t want to stay? Evans is now in a very vulnerable position.
The latest gossip from normally reliable sources is that Saint Mirren has agreed to let Sunderland speak with Ross and the club hope to announce that he has accepted their terms and conditions, as early as tomorrow morning.
And it has emerged today that David Moyes has also thrown his hat in the ring! A close associate of his, who wishes to remain nameless, has said that if Evans offered him an interview he would give the matter serious thought. So as the plot thickens on this long drawn-out football saga, we cannot rule anyone out anymore – not Frank Lampard or Sam Allardyce, or even former boss George Burley come to that.
FW – editor of Vital Ipswich