Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Portman Road avoids Managerial Sacking Season, thankfully

Just 10 games into the season the cull of managerial staff across the Championship has already begun.

But, is it too early?

Steve McClaren's resignation has come as no shock bearing in mind the state Nottingham Forest find themselves in at the moment. But ask a Forest fan how they feel about his exit and they will likely tell you the same thing my Forest fan friend @ibrahimmustapha: 'His heart's not been it for weeks so it was the right thing for him to go, but the problem runs much deeper than just needing a new manager'.

So why does it seem like the former England boss (along with the Chairman) are taking the fall for this? Have the media been too quick to get on his back? Sadly, a story of failure well always sell papers better than one of success.

Meanwhile, is it right that the fans have been up in arms and calling for McClaren's head? Similarly, at Doncaster and Bristol some have been asking for the boss to be sacked for a while: Do they really have the right to make that call? And why on earth are the clubs taking any notice?

The influence of fans and local media over these big decisions has also been discussed in this excellent article from website 'The Sacking Race'.

The current favourite to replace McClaren is a certain former Blues boss. The furore surrounding these latest managerial changes is reminiscient of a not-so-distant time at Portman Road, when one might have thought Satan himself had taken residence in Suffolk in the form of Roy Keane.

It took me until the last few weeks of his reign to decide there was clearly something going wrong, but many of the Town faithful had decided Keane was causing problems long before. There were chants and protests for his head months before he left, not only were the Blues underachieving, the unrest among the players was causing them to self destruct.

But, once again, the local media (who now contain almost completely new staff, by the way, and an altogether more balanced and positive attitude towards the boys) were enjoying the circus. I believe the board wanted a high profile name to lift Ipswich Town's own profile to the forefront of the footballing world's attention. They got what they wanted but not in the way they wanted. The media tore Keane apart at every turn because, like I say, a story of failure sells papers.

So, I ask again what right do the media or the fans have to make the call over a manager's future? And when will clubs stop paying any attention?

Don't get me wrong, I do understand that we put a lot of time money and effort into our football clubs and, as such, seeing them go through troubling times physically hurts. But who are we to tell the board how to do their job? I put a lot of time and money into MacDonald's every month - but I don't try telling Ronald how to light those golden arches.

Fast forward nine months and it's a different story entirely at Portman Road.

Now, Jewell is our king. But for a while it looked like he might end up being the joker. Following the unmentionable defeat at London Road some fans (though I do believe it was a minority) were calling for the scouser to be sacked.

What one earth is he thinking? Damien Delaney's a waste of space, Lee Martin's taking the mick, Josh Carson should be playing, Paul Jewell has no idea. They all knew better than him.

But, a Danny Collins and a Jimmy Bullard later, we appear to be all sorted and the doubts of the big man are all but forgotten.

Aren't we glad Simon Clegg paid no attention to calls to getting rid of PJ now?

As such, Ipswich Town are setting an example to the Championship: have a little faith and allow time for the team to grow. 46 games is a long season.

One tweet I received last night (from someone I had long thought lost to the cause of positivity at ITFC) summed up, rather eloquently, the rocky start to our season: 'PJ knew what he wanted and I think now we are seeing what he wanted with the team from day one'.

Absolutely right, aren't you all glad we kept him? I just hope Doncaster, Forest and Bristol aren't wishing they'd said the same by the end of the season.

Thank you Marcus Evans and Simon Clegg for putting your faith in Jewell and backing him through the rough start. It's all up from here!

In Jewell We Trust

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