Timing of Royle exit was strange

IPSWICH Town fanzine editor Phil Ham today said shock announcement from Portman Road was a strange decision.Ham, who edits Those Were The Days, said it would have been more understandable had Joe Royle left in the winter when Town had cash to spend.

IPSWICH Town fanzine editor Phil Ham today said the shock announcement from Portman Road was a strange decision.

Ham, who edits Those Were The Days, said it would have been more understandable had Joe Royle left in the winter when Town had cash to spend.

“All the money spent in January and the decisions made in releasing players were under Joe's instructions with next season as the main focus,” he said.

“The new manager may have different views on the likes of Dean McDonald and Gerard Nash and actually quite fancied them. Or he may not have been so keen on Alan Lee and Gavin Williams.

“The timing of the decision on both sides seems strange.”

He added: “We have all been football fans long enough to know that 'by mutual consent' rarely means 'by mutual consent'.

Most Read

“This could be the one time it really is the case but I get the impression the relationship between Joe and the fans has not been great for a while.

“There are some fans who have never accepted him.

“Season tickets sales are down and last season was our worst for 40 years. The first six weeks of the season would have been crucial. “I think Sheepshanks would have sacked him if things had not been going well.”

Despite the failure to restore Town's top flight status, Ham said Royle's tenure should be viewed in the wider context.

He said: “Although Royle's main task was getting Ipswich up, which he failed to do, I don't think his years can be seen as a failure because he did prevent the club from slipping even further down. We could easily have been the next Swindon or Bradford.”

Ham singled out Tony Mowbray and Phil Parkinson as potential targets.

“There is also Steve Tilson at Southend and Dave Penny at Doncaster,” he said. “Mike Newell at Luton is perhaps another.

“People will want a young manager, like George Burley was when he took over in 1994. The fans will want a manager who can grow as the team grows.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter