Paul Hurst was fired tonight and I think it is an absolute disgrace. The owner was the man who wanted him so badly before pulling the rug from under his feet. It was a shameful act that it will be difficult to ever forgive.
Owner Marcus Evans could have gone for Steven Gerrard – or even Frank Lampard, and if he wanted to stay close to supporters hearts, then he could have elected to bring back George Burley; accompanied by Town hero Terry Butcher but he could not even be bothered to interview them!
Instead, he went for a little-known outsider, who few Town fans had even heard of and missed the opportunity to employ so many more gems, as he waited patiently for Paul Hurst to honour his commitments to little Shrewsbury Town, as they competed in the First Division play-off final at Wembley. How Hurst must regret leaving the club that loved him so much to join a shark, who after ten years of running the club, still knows absolutely zilch about the game we love.
The waiting game was not good for Town or indeed Paul Hurst. It gave him far too little time to prepare the squad for the new season and we were already playing catch-up – even before a ball had been kicked!
In our last pre-season encounter against West Ham United, we looked very impressive and it was our dynamic young midfield of Downes, Dozzell and Nydam who were pulling the strings. It boded well for the new season and we got off to a flyer against Blackburn Rovers at Portman Road with a goal from Gwion Edwards after just four minutes when Edwards headed in a Freddie Sears’ cross.
Against Rotherham away in our next encounter, we played some great stuff but the football Gods were against us and so the season did not take off in the way we had all have hoped. Injuries started to mount and many of our best players were still on the treatment table from last season so Hurst was already dealt a very poor hand.
Lots of draws later and no victories meant that the pressure was building on Hurst but that win before the international break against Swansea away revived hopes that our season could improve dramatically. Two more defeats and the momentum had been lost again and Paul Hurst was shown the door – even though Town had never been beaten in any of his 14 game Championship games by more than two goals.
I am devastated. What Evans has done is diametrically opposed to what Ipswich Town football club is all about. Patience is a virtue and this applies to football just as much as anywhere else but of course, in the modern game, we have lost ours too it seems, as money dictates to the theatre of broken promises.
I feel so sad for Paul Hurst whose personality was the complete antithesis of everything that we loathed about Mick McCarthy. Hurst was a gentleman and I really hope he teaches us all a lesson and not least Evans and he goes on to bigger and better things.
If anyone should be shown the door then surely it is the new ‘Howard Hughes,’ who like a thief in the night, brandishes his axe and cuts the lifeblood from the anointed one, whilst at the same time ripping the heart out of a club I have loved for more than half a century. Now we face the prospect of former Norwich man Paul Lambert running the show. They say it is not over until the fat lady sings but there is not much chance of an encore now and the merry-go-round continues.
Top football people often say that you don’t look at a league table until after Christmas but of course, Mr. Evans knows nothing about football – I forgot.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich