Date: 21st May 2020 at 2:11pm
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Under owner Marcus Evans era, we have had experienced a mixed bag of emotions. The good, the bad and the ugly. Let us retrospectively gaze on where the twelve and a half years has taken us.

THE GOOD

Joe Royle’s appointment as manager of the Blues on the 28th October 2002 at a time when Ipswich found themselves in administration. He did not have any money to spend but still managed to get us into third in the table and a play-off spot in 2005 only for us to lose to West Ham United over two legs.

There was much joy in town when wealthy owner Marcus Evans decided to buy the club in 2007 and a feeling that with the right financial backing, the Blues were back on the path to renewed expectations.

Steven Pearce being appointed Media Manager at Ipswich in 2005, and bringing the club into the 21st century in terms of social media modernity.

Bryan Klug returning to the club in June 2012, after going to Tottenham under a Roy Keane cloud. In his time at the club, he has been a caretaker manager on four separate occasions in 2002, 2009 and twice in 2018.

Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden. Two young players who have come through the youth system under Klug, and have gone on to be key players in the current Town team. They want to get the Blues back into the promised land but I fear that they will no influence over this when Evans sees their real worth.

Young Armando Dobra signing a new three-year contract at the club and stating that is was the fans that influenced his decision. The exciting 19-year-old said cheerfully, “They’re a big part of why a signed a new deal. They’re amazing with me and hopefully, in the future, I can repay them.”

Daryl Murphy and his 27 Championship goal haul in 2015!

The Kevin Beattie statue in memory of the greatest player Ipswich Town has ever produced.

Final Whistle on BBC Radio Suffolk. We are blessed to have the best local radio station in the country with Graeme Mac and Brenner Woolley making football on the radio fashionable again!

Those glorious football memories of the Super Blues, which you can find everywhere on YouTube if you wish to reminisce about the ‘golden age’ of Ipswich Town.

THE BAD

In 2002 Ipswich Town went into administration and had to seek a number of their star players including Darren Ambrose, Jamie Clapham and Matt Holland.

In December 2007, Evans completed his takeover of the club, purchasing an 87.5% stake in the club. He then invested approximately £44 million and this included the purchase of the club’s existing £32 million debt and then the club agreed a sponsorship deal with the Marcus Evans Group on the 20th May 2008, lasting until 2018, which was the longest in the club’s history.

In April 2009, less than a year after Evans took over Jum Magilton was fired after failing to reach the playoffs despite significant investment. Magilton had been with the club since 1999 both as a player-captain and then as a manager. His long commitment to the Blues ended because he could not get us into the play-off’s and although we finished ninth that season, it was not considered good enough for our ambitious owner.

The bad continued when new Chief Executive Simon Clegg replaced him with former Manchester United star Roy Keane. The Irishman was a complete disaster, and although he blamed his lack of success on too many draws, his disruptive nature was the real catalyst for abject failure and this was the beginning of our decline as an ambitious football club. He said he would probably have bad dreams when he sold Jordan Rhodes but it wasn’t a bad dream it was as real as night follows day, and it summed up Keane’s inability to see true talent if your face did not fit. Keane had to go and he did after one and a half years of underachievement. The recruitment of the Irishman was possibly the worst ever decision Evans has made but there have been so many major gaffes I am not sure?

After Ian McParland took temporary charge for just 5 days, Paul Jewell was named the new manager in the January of 2011 but things seem to go from bad to worse and less than two years after his appointment he left Town adrift, at the bottom of the Championship table. In stepped Mick McCarthy and although many supporters were disappointed with his arrival, he did what he was paid to do and that was to save the Blues from relegation.

The football was rarely pretty on the eye but he followed his remit to the letter. Evans and Clegg had decided that throwing money at the problem was hardly helping so McCarthy was warned that he would have to pull Town up by their britches with a very limited war chest. Remarkably perhaps, he did more than just keep Ipswich Town in this league but even managed to get the Blues into the Play-Off’s in his five and a half year reign – only to fall to arch-rivals Norwich in a fiercely fought two-leg affair at the back end of 2015. The next season Town just missed out again, finishing seventh, but the loss of top scorer Daryl Murphy and not replacing him in the January transfer window was the principal reason why.

And so Town supporters became increasingly frustrated with the owners’ parsimonious ways, and the drab football McCarthy produced. Pele’s “beautiful game” was but a pale shadow of its former self. McCarthy finally stormed out of Ipswich Town following a 1-0 home victory to Barnsley but the damage to the club had long been done. Like that other Irishman Roy Keane, McCarthy loved himself much more than Ipswich Town football club and the rot set in.

After a short spell of Bryan Klug at the helm which culminated in an embarrassing 0-4 defeat at home to Aston Villa, Paul Hurst finally took charge at the start of the 2018/19 season, after Frank Lampard had turned the job down when he discovered there was no money in the kitty. Hurst was simply out of his depth and after less than six months as the gaffer he was shown the door, with Town once again at the very foot of the table.

The sad passing of Kevin Beattie in September 2018 at just 64. Without a shadow of a doubt, he was the best Town defender in its long history.

Bryan Kug became interim boss for two more matches before Paul Lambert took over on the 22nd of October, 2018 but could not save Town from the drop. And so let us fast forward to today. The Tractor Boys are back in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1955 and due to the Coronavirus in a suspended state of animation in tenth place.

THE UGLY

The Coronavirus that has impacted all of us and has stunted our football season.

Not replacing top scorer Daryl Murphy when we were on top of the Championship table.

Mick McCarthy’s way of playing football.

Simon Clegg. The most inept chief executive at the club in its history. He knew the field of athletics well but was completely out of his depth in the world of football, and I, for one, was very relieved when he finally decided to do a runner.

Roy Keane who hated the colour blue.

I am sure I have missed a lot of key moments under our life under Marcus Evans so if you have anything to add please feel free to do so.

 

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