As the weeks pass by with ever-increasing rapidity, we are surely getting closer to the day when owner Marcus Evans announces who will be the next manager of Ipswich Town football club. We have not had many since 1936 when we turned professional, and this will be only our 16th full-time appointment.
When Mick McCarthy took charge five years or so ago I was not a happy bunny. I never wanted him in the first place and to be brutally honest, I was hugely disappointed because to me, McCarthy was the epitome of everything that was guaranteed to bore the pants off you. He knew how to get good results but it was the manner in which he got them that I was so very fearful of.
I suppose being a football purist and having been lucky enough to have watched the very best Ipswich Town sides of the past, I was horrified at the thought of this man taking over. What I had seemed to ignore at the time was our precarious position in the table and hiring McCarthy was very much a case of when needs must. In this respect, Marcus Evans made the right decision as there are very few managers in the game who could have pulled us clear of the drop zone with such startling ease when we seemed destined for another relegation.
But things have changed and although I am in hindsight grateful for the McCarthy appointment, this time around Evans can be a bit more forward thinking and look to someone who might provide us with some attacking flair, whilst at the same time sticking to his much vaunted five-point plan!
So who then fits the bill? Well, some of the names who were originally in the frame have moved to pastures new and although I would have dearly loved to have seen Steven Gerrard at the helm, it would have been a huge risk. With this in mind, I think that Town must look to a relative young blood who has ambition and a clean track record. The St.Mirren boss Jack Ross certainly meets this criterion and at 41 is looking to take his managerial instincts to the very top of the sport.
Dutchman Maurice Steijn is another candidate who at 43, is looking to develop his leadership skills and he would not be averse to doing it on a very tight budget. At VVV Venlo he has done exactly that and in the top flight of Dutch football, they have held their own.
Paul Hurst is another relative unknown but once again he is the same age as Steijn and has a similar ambition and that is his continual progression in the management game. When he got the job at Shrewsbury, he did so in the face of fierce competition with 99 other candidates also applying for the post. I would suspect therefore that his interview technique is serving him well!
I would of course not be against George Burley returning to the fold with Terry Butcher as his assistant but this is probably the heart ruling the head again, and in practical terms, the chances of success a second time around are small I would have thought. Furthermore, it would run against the managerial mandate that I have set above.
So that is where I am at but what about you? Who do you think could improve our lot in what is becoming an increasingly difficult league to escape from?