Ex-Ipswich teacher gets top soccer job

STUART Murdoch used to be known as Sir – but now he's just plain boss or gaffer to his charges.The former Ipswich headteacher is the First Division's newest manager after taking charge of crisis club Wimbledon.

By Mel Henderson

STUART Murdoch used to be known as Sir – but now he's just plain boss or gaffer to his charges.

The former Ipswich headteacher is the First Division's newest manager after taking charge of crisis club Wimbledon.

Rookie boss Murdoch – he had six games as caretaker manager last season – has been given a one-year deal with a simple mandate: "Get us back into the Premiership."

His former pupils at Grundisburgh Primary School will wish him well, just as those he taught at two Ipswich schools, St John's Primary and Chantry Junior, will be willing him to succeed.

But keeping control of a class of 30-odd pupils hardly compares with his new task, to restore the glory days when Dons stars like Vinnie Jones, Dennis Wise and John Fashanu were known collectively as the Crazy Gang.

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Times have changed, however, and not only are the First Division outfit short of cash, they don't even have a home to call their own.

Plans to relocate to Milton Keynes have been given the go-ahead, but they must stay at their temporary Selhurst Park HQ until a new stadium is ready.

Murdoch can expect a baptism of fire when the new Nationwide League campaign gets under way as fans who protested against the move are threatening to boycott the club.

But he is determined to make the most of his big chance – after first fearing he would be axed.

He said: "The chairman originally said they were looking for an experienced manager and I thought I would be first out of the door.

"But he came back last week and offered me the post. I was thrilled and grateful – now I want to make the most of this chance."

WERE you in Mr Murdoch's class? Tell us your schooldays memories of the surprise new man at the Wimbledon helm.

Write to Sports Desk, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk

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