Manager Mick McCarthy has never been one to air on the side of caution when it comes to speaking his mind, and it could be said that this was both his strength and weakness.
When everything is going swimmingly, people embrace his humour and his no-nonsense approach but the opposite is true when the club is struggling and the football is hugely forgettable.
I have mixed feelings about him leaving the club. Yes, the football was often very boring and the results very disappointing but we must not forget what he gave us too.
His recruitment skills meant that we had the pleasure of watching Premier players on their way to better things and with very limited financial resources, he relied primarily on his football clout and the immense respect he has accrued from players and coaching staff alike in the game.
Former Town star and hat-trick hero (against the ones over the border) Alex Mathie said that he was sorry to see Mick go. He warned that the departure of McCarthy in no ways guarantees us success – although it might provide us with more entertaining football and he warned ‘ Be careful what you wish for.’
All things considered, playing more attractive football would not be too difficult but the risk is that playing ‘entertaining football’ alone, won’t get us very far. In fact, it could lead us into another relegation dog-fight and this time we might lose!
Paul Jewell had us playing entertaining football but it almost took us down and if it had not been for the pragmatic approach that Mick McCarthy employed from the moment he walked through the door, it probably would have done. I liked Jewell as a person but like Keane before him, this job was a step too far.
It is perhaps why Marcus Evans must take his time with his next appointment and if I was on his hit list, I would insist that I want a deep war chest before agreeing to take on the job.
McCarthy was seriously let down in this regard and any potential manager, who does not ask pertinent questions about his spending power is really asking for trouble from day one.
Tomorrow Town travel to Birmingham, which ironically is where McCarthy began his Ipswich adventure. How Town will perform is hard to say but if they are really sad to see the gaffer go, then they should run their socks off – not just for him but any future incumbent who might be observing from afar.
And I just hope too that the new head coach talks much more about Ipswich Town football club and their proud history, and far less about himself and his outstanding curriculum vitae. This was another annoying aspect of many of McCarthy’s press conferences.
But did our departing boss get the respect he deserved? Well, probably not and on that topic he said candidly yesterday,
‘ I don`t know, you`ll have to ask the numskulls who have been giving me the abuse. I think that`s what they are, to be quite honest. It`s not everybody and that comment is for the people who have been doing it and, I think, ruining games at Portman Road and making it a hard place to play.’
Whoever eventually takes on the job must be aware of the bigoted few too and quickly understand that it is not just results that win over supporters but performances as well. We can all handle a defeat but how we are defeated matters so much more.
I hope however that Mick gets the support he has often lacked tomorrow – although with the game being away, the blue and white army are certain not to disappoint.
Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich