Paul Hurst reflects on Town transfer dealings, Dozzell criticism and working with Doig again
PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 February 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Former Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst has been reflecting on his 149 days in charge of the club in an interview with ‘Not The Top 20 Podcast’. Here’s a flavour of what he had to say.
ON BEING SACKED
It’s the first time that I’ve experienced getting sacked, You’re not sure how you will react to that. I had my thoughts and they probably played out true.
Four days later my wife and children were booked to go on holiday. I toyed with joining them and that’s what I did.
I had 10 days away. Speaking to managers a lot more experienced than myself they suggested it would be a good idea. In all honesty I’m not sure if it was. You’ve got your own pride. You have your thoughts and they’re not going to disappear just because you’ve gone to another country.
LIFE OUTSIDE OF MANAGEMENT
I’ve got two children and I take them to school. Having that, going for a run or walking the dog, that gives you a small piece of structure to your day.
That’s something I’ve had an advantage of over my assistant (Chris Doig) for example. He hasn’t got small children and he hasn’t got a dog! Naturally those thing fill up some of your day.
‘SIX GAME RULE’
I’m a manager and a person who, rightly or wrongly, thinks of six games. It’s ‘the six game rule’. If you don’t win in six then there’s a chance you might get sacked.
I did get longer than that, 14 games it was, and I only had that one victory.
So from that point of view I was given the time and I fully accept that results weren’t good enough.
ASSISTANT CHRIS DOIG
If a job comes up I would want Chris to work with me. The reason is that I trust him, which is very important. Not only that, I think he is very good at what he does too.
Any success I have had he has been a big part of that. From my point of view it would be silly for me not to want to work with him again.
But I’ve also said if he feels he wants to get into management himself there is no issue there on my side. I think he could make a very good manager himself.
There are that many people out of work though, myself included, where he sees it difficult to see where an opportunity might come up for him.
APPROACHED BY IPSWICH BEFORE PLAY-OFF FINAL?
No. The approach came the day after. We were due to go on holiday and that’s when they (Ipswich) came in. I had to speak to the chairman of Shrewsbury in the airport.
That was one of the worst conversations that I’ve had with him in terms of saying ‘I want to speak with Ipswich’. It was all still raw from the game and the whole situation. That’s not a good memory that I have.
Whether you like it or not there was never going to be a good time (to move) when you’re in a play-off final because you’re running deep into season. People are getting on with their work and signing players.
It was unfortunate. Had we won promotion through automatic, would things have happened sooner? Would it have happened at all? Who knows.
It wasn’t a nice time in a lot of ways.
TRANSFER DEALINGS AT IPSWICH
We were looking at trying to build something and to go in a different direction. We were trying to go away from, for want of a better word, ‘journeymen’.
Given, financially, what was available, we felt that was the best route to take. It had worked well at Shrewsbury. So we went down that route.
In terms of the players that left, (David) McGoldrick was never on any list that I had. He wasn’t even on a budget sheet, which made me laugh considering he’d been the highest paid player at the football club. It was as though you wouldn’t know that, so that one always brought a smile to my face.
Adam Webster left after about three or four days. He made it clear he wanted to leave.
Then the same happened with Martyn Waghorn and Joe (Garner), albeit they dragged on through pre-season. Joe had personal circumstances that meant he wanted to leave. If he’d have stayed at the football club there is no doubt we wouldn’t have got the best Joe Garner.
With Martyn, if a team comes in and, financially, you are going to be so much better off... He’s a great lad by the way and still is, but he found the whole situation difficult.
It was rumbling on and on. Again, there’s no doubt we wouldn’t have had the best Martyn Waghorn. When a player’s head is turned it’s difficult. In the end he was sold.
The biggest disappointment for me was the centre-back. I was told we’d have the money to go and replace him (Webster), but it took too long. We went into the season with Luke Chambers as the one recognised centre-back in the squad.
First game of the season we ended up starting (Janoi) Donacien at centre-back. Jordan Spence got injured, we had to move Janoi across and we brought Luke Woolfenden on, who went out to Swindon on loan.
When I brought (Toto) Nsiala in that was ahead of the second game. Then we got (Matthew) Pennington in (on loan from Everton on August 31).
That took too long. Putting the squad together needed to happen sooner.
‘IT WAS ALWAYS A TOUGH JOB’
I appreciate people might have the argument I should have stuck with a team and given it time to grow and develop – that’s fine – but I’m also a manager that says ‘if you’re doing the business you’re in’.
A lot of the signings I made, I didn’t expect them all to go into the team at once. I was hoping that they might come into a team that was functioning better and where the senior players were playing well, but that wasn’t the case.
There’s lots and lots of reasons, some small, some more obvious than others, as to why it didn’t work.
It was always as tough job. Everyone said that to me. Whether that was me or someone else. I think now having left the club and clearly keeping an eye on what’s happening there – because I haven’t got any bad feeling towards them – it’s still proving difficult.
They’ve got some different players in again.
I’ve said all along that the one shining light for me is that they’ve got some good players coming through.
Add them to those ones I brought in and some senior players there is something there.
Those two (Andre Dozzell and Flynn Downes) in particular have got undoubted talent. Teddy (Bishop) came on against Exeter for 20 minutes and that was it – he wasn’t fit.
Emyr Huws is there, a bit older, but no-one can get him fit.
There were other difficulties thrown into the mix.
Dozzell, there seemed to be a thing that I was against him, but I think he played more for me than he has under the next manager. So I’m not sure what I’d got against him!
He struggled to get fit. In my opinion he hadn’t been given the right programme to get back to where he needed to be.
He’s got a fantastic attitude, did all the work, but was struggling clearly. But he’s a very talented footballer. It’s just whether he can totally get over that injury 100%.
I think he needs to be in a team playing a certain way to get the best out of him.
I’d like to join a football club where you feel there is a genuine chance of progressing and improving. The ideal scenario is where you feel you can have a genuine impact on a club and move it forward.
The difficulty is being given the time. I was chatting on the way down here today. Clubs always talk about trying to grow something, but how many actually stuck to that plan? They just go and get another manager.
It’s a very difficult job.
I’ve been on the LMA course and they talk about ‘pick your owner’. I’d love to be able to do that, but I’m not Mourinho, Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger. I’m Paul Hurst.
I know I’ve got to go back down the ladder to go back up. It’s about trying to find somewhere that has a group of players who are your type of people and who are willing to commit to the way you want to work, who have the same values.
I think my career has shown that can bring success. It’s about trying to find the place that fits. I might not have that choice though. At the minute I have no choice.