The search for a successor to Mick McCarthy continues and today we discovered that former boss George Burley has thrown his hat in the ring. Between the years of 1973 to 1985, Goerge Burley devoted his playing days to Ipswich Town and although it did not end there, he made close to 400 appearances in a Town shirt.
In an exclusive interview with the East Anglian Daily Times, he explained that having been with the Blues for fourteen years as a player and another nine as a manager, he is convinced that he has the right credentials to take Town forward and he would not be afraid to experiment with his squad.
“At Ipswich, it was Richard Wright, Kieron Dyer, James Scowcroft, Titus Bramble, Darren Ambrose, Richard Naylor… At Southampton, it was Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana, David McGoldrick, Bartosz Bialkowski… At Crystal Palace, I gave Wilfried Zaha his debut.” And he has a point because as the Ipswich manager he always gave youth their chance. It was not always successful but he never stopped trying to make it work.
I have always admired Goerge Burley. I watched him many times as a player and you could argue that he was one of the very first wing-backs, as he raced down the right flank with pace to support the attack and he was not a bad crosser of a ball either!
These days he even lives in Ipswich again and attends most home matches at Portman Road so he is never very far away from the club he adopted at just fourteen years of age. He is often found summarising on Sky when Town are on the television and you can see that he still has Ipswich at heart.
As the Town manager, he was in charge for eight years and he took Ipswich to three play-offs semi-finals before finally winning promotion to the Premier League at the fourth attempt. The Blues were never booed off the park in those days and he always provided supporters with sides that liked to entertain. Perhaps he is most remembered not for making the promised land but for finishing in fifth place in it, the season after promotion. The Blues were just one place short of the Champions League so what a remarkable achievement that was!
Now, I know some supporters will argue that a manager who returns to the club he once managed is almost destined to fail. Kevin Keegan and Kenny Dalgliesh are stand-out examples of this but I don’t believe it always has to be this way and after the dross that was dished up under the Mick McCarthy reign, his re-employment would certainly not be met with universal disapproval!
Furthermore, he would be accompanied in his quest by another former Blue in Terry Butcher. He also lives in the neighbourhood and is as passionate now about the Town, as he was in his playing days so the question is, could this be a winning ticket?
Many will argue that Burley has been out of the game for far too long and at 61 he hardly falls into the young and ambitious category! But as Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.” I believe Burley still has that desire and ambition in his blue blood to make things happen and although my heart is probably ruling my head, I would love to see the pair of them back in a coaching capacity at Portman Road.