Written by Mark Tuxford
Mick McCarthy, Walking Away!
If you’re young enough to remember Craig David’s Millennium year smash hit ‘Walking Away’, you can bet your new one-pound-coin that Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy isn’t taking the RnB singer’s dulcet tone advice just yet - if this week’s revelations are anything to go by.
As TWTD reported on Wednesday, the latest interview with McCarthy indicated that the former Wolverhampton Wanderers’ manager was at least seeing out his current contract with a year remaining and hoping to build a team to ‘challenge’ for next season – despite a torrid current campaign not only on the pitch but with his own supporters.
“I’m not walking away from here, I have a year’s contract to run and unless something else is done then no, I’m not walking away from it. I’ll be here and I’ll be planning for next season and I’m looking forward to it.” He said.
“I saved the club from relegation and I’ve had three top 10 finishes and the one time I have a bad season then people have turned their backs on me, which is a bit of a surprise and it’s disappointing.”
McCarthy is quick to point out his achievements with our club, but is he equally as quick to point out the things he has got wrong during his tenure? – I think not.
In recent weeks, the Sir Bobby Robson lower section faithful have subjected both McCarthy and Marcus Evans to abuse about how the club is run on and off the pitch. While it’s not ideal and the atmosphere has been toxic, something has to be said and ultimately done about the current state our club is in.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you will know that The Owner has implemented a strange new increase in Season ticket prices with the uncanny branding of ‘One of Our Own’ – which funnily enough, I don’t feel I am a part of when I open my season ticket package and find disgusting prices to watch our club play un-attractive, un-inspiring dross football. But anyway, I digress.
Also, a lack of investment into the playing squad from Evans for some time now is questionable, despite his clear love and support for McCarthy. While Roy Keane and Paul Jewell had free reign, McCarthy has seen virtually nothing in terms of transfer budget.
This season we lost a key member of our team in Daryl Murphy - who incidentally, returns to Portman Road with Newcastle United on Bank Holiday Monday. A comment from Mick Mills on Radio Suffolk after the Wigan Athletic game pretty much hit the nail on the head regarding the striker’s sale last summer. “The three million we got for Daryl Murphy, has actually made us a worse team.”
Big money sales from Connor Wickham, Tyrone Mings and now Murphy have never been re-invested into the squad. Everyone knows that to compete in this league you need to have massive capital behind you. Unfortunately, Evans now envisages that because it worked relatively well in the 2014/15 campaign where we spent next to nothing and fielded a side of free transfers that reached the play-offs, this indeed is the way we go forward.
‘Mr Mouth-Piece’ - Ian Milne, is another one who clearly doesn’t have a clue what is going on, but can you blame him when he takes orders from someone who hasn’t got a clue about football in general. As for the five-point plan the board came up with, it’s about as inspiring as Leon Best in front of goal.
Personally, when Evans appointed Mick McCarthy and walked through the door quickly saving us from relegation, I thought it was a great appointment. Someone we could mount a challenge with, a manager who was stable but had the ability to get us out of this league as he so proved before in his time as Sunderland and Wolves boss.
My overall blame lies with Evans in terms of the club’s failures, but McCarthy I feel now has broken any relationship he once had with fans and doesn’t exactly help himself with comments in the press attacking fans.
In August The Daily Mail online reported that McCarthy attacked inconsistent Ipswich Town fans for criticising and calling him a ‘boring c***’ after the East Anglian derby 1-1 draw against Norwich City.
“I’m a boring c***, somebody called me last week. I wish they would call it to my face on my own because his pint of lager he would have been wearing it.”
Can someone tell me how you attack your own fans for their INCONSISTENT behaviour, when your team’s efforts have been nothing but inconsistent. How can you come back from that?
The sooner this season is over the better as far as I am concerned, while previously I have looked forward to Saturday afternoons watching the team I love and adore go out and get a result, this campaign has been an absolute drag to say the least.
As the nation watched our complete collapse against Lincoln City, hands down one of the club’s worst ever performances and results. Leon Best’s expletive frustration being picked up by the BBC cameras when being substituted, was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to fans’ anger.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But what I did know was that McCarthy should have gone there and then if he really cared – which is a novelty in modern football.
Before that result, I was very much on the fence when it came to him remaining as our manager and taking us forward. Unfortunately, Lincoln made me realise my belief in him ended there, with bizarre team selections and comments in the press completely not helping his cause from there and after.
McCarthy has his favourites that we all know far too well about, with most of them adopting the square-peg-round-hole job. The likes of Christophe Berra, Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse and the illusive Jonathan Douglas can do no wrong in the Yorkshireman’s eyes.
While I would never ever boo a player that turns out and pulls on the Ipswich Town shirt, it doesn’t mean I agree with the way they play. I’m sure Douglas is a lovely man but when you’re blowing out of your bottom after a 5-yard run, then something clearly isn’t right in my book!
Previous comments earlier in the season from McCarthy after the sale of Murphy to Newcastle, indicating that Douglas will weigh in with the goals and become some kind of saviour were just incredible.
Then re-introducing Douglas after so long in the dark and confirming he would be leaving the club at the end of the season was something I couldn’t get my head around. While he gets a lot of grief from fans, against Birmingham recently he wasn’t good but he wasn’t outstandingly bad. That didn’t stop McCarthy leaping to his defence saying he was the best player on the park. Nevertheless, McCarthy’s best man was then dropped all together again for the Wigan the following Tuesday!
It doesn’t surprise me at all that McCarthy won’t walk at the end of the season, the arrogance of the man absolutely stinks of someone who is paid so well he’d rather claim his generous pay packet from Evans and carry on fighting the flack against the fans, than do the club a favour and move aside – But why say you’ll consider your future at the end of the season, if you have clearly already made your mind up?!
So now with the likelihood that McCarthy will again be at the helm next season, I’m sure there will be further abuse at our final two home games against Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday if the results on the day are not in our favour.
Something simply has to change, as us fans have been treated appallingly by this club on so many different fronts. Something also has to change, whether it be the manager or the way the club is run. Because if we’re not down and out this season, I worry for next season and seasons after that without the investment in the squad and the direction this once great club is badly crying out for.
Without the goals from Tom Lawrence who has been magnificent in his loan spell, also arguably our Player of the Year Bartosz Bialkowski - saving us quite literally countless amounts of times, we really would be up excrement street without a paddle!
After Good Friday’s important away win to Burton Albion, the 2-1 result puts us back on nine points clear of the dreaded relegation zone in 15th position in the league table.
With only four games remaining our safety in The Championship seems secure ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday Monday’s home game against Newcastle, where we’ll be extremely lucky to get a draw, never mind a win - on what will be a memorable day for both club’s fans, as we celebrate the life of our great manager Sir Bobby Robson – I wonder what he would make of the current state of the club he adored…
So, who does the blame stem with, McCarthy or Evans?
Will Mick McCarthy one day walk away from the troubles of in my life, or will Marcus Evans find a better day…