Royle's Town history

JOE Royle was appointed as Ipswich Town manager in October 2002.Tony Mowbray had taken first team affairs after George Burley was sacked earlier in the month after a 3-0 defeat at Grimsby, but with results continuing to falter, David Sheepshanks went for experience and drafted in the out-of-work scouser.

JOE Royle was appointed as Ipswich Town manager in October 2002.

Tony Mowbray had taken first team affairs after George Burley was sacked earlier in the month after a 3-0 defeat at Grimsby, but with results continuing to falter, David Sheepshanks went for experience and drafted in the out-of-work scouser.

Despite financial handcuffs prohibiting Royle from reinforcing his squad, Town's promotion hopes were quickly rekindled although a stuttering finale to the season saw the Blues miss out on the play-offs.

However, Royle's side bounced back the following season, making the play-offs but narrowly missing out to West Ham.

In 2004/2005, Ipswich's slender squad looked like it would be back in the top flight after Royle's men fought bravely for an automatic promotion place for much of the season.

But it was to end in heartbreak when Sunderland and Wigan pipped his collection of home grown stars and free transfers before West Ham again condemned Town to another season in the Championship.

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Last season was largely forgettable, the Blues slumping to 15th, after several top players were forced through the exit door to balance Town's precarious finances.