Kieron Dyer: Why I quit Ipswich Town U23s job

Kieron Dyer pictured ahead of the game against Bristol Rovers.

Kieron Dyer quit as manager of Ipswich Town's high-flying U23s this week. - Credit: www.stephenwaller.com

Kieron Dyer quit as Ipswich Town's U23s boss this week. The former England international explained why in a lengthy podcast with Blues fan 'Renegade Statman'.

Kieron Dyer during the warm-up before the FA Cup replay at Barrow

Kieron Dyer is currently waiting for a liver transplant. - Credit: Pagepix

ON HIS HEALTH...

"I am now officially on the liver donor list. Sadly, someone will have to lose their life for me to get one.

"I went on the list on January 4 and they said I could be looking at three to six months. It's just a waiting game.

"I can only be an hour and a half from Addenbrookes at any time because the all could come at any moment. It will be a 10 hour operation when the time comes.

"I go for regular checks and there are really good signs that my liver isn't deteriorating at a massive rate.

"When I first got the news it shattered my whole world. I won't lie, the word 'transplant' scared the s**t out of me. I was thinking 'this is the end of my life'.

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"But as soon as I saw the surgeon he just gave me all the confidence in the world. He said 'you are probably the fittest I have operated on, this is like riding a bike for me, you will have a full recovery'. 

"I then started asking 'what's the record time for people leaving the hospital after an operation like this?' They said 10 days and I replied 'well I'll be out in nine!'.

"I'm in a really good, positive head space with it.

"I was always going to take a sabbatical at some stage to recuperate and recover, but health is not the reason I have left the football club."

Joint U18s managers Adem Atay and Kieron Dyer Picture: ROSS HALLS

Kieron Dyer and Adem Atay were joint managers of Ipswich Town's U18s before the former left to gain extra coaching experiences in 2019. - Credit: Archant

ON HIS FIRST EXIT...

"What gets thrown at me a lot is; 'He jumped ship when he left the U18s (in 2019) and he's jumped ship again. Is this someone who cares for the club?'

"The reason I left when I was assistant with Adem (Atay) was because I wanted to better myself. I thought I was a bang average coach. I went away to learn and study from other managers and clubs. 

"I improved a hell of a lot as a coach during that time. I'll blow my own trumpet here - I think I came back to the club a half decent coach." 

Ipswich Town's under 23 manager Kieron Dyer on the pitch ahead of the Sky Bet League One match at Mo

Kieron Dyer has revealed he was discouraged from applying for the Ipswich Town job after Paul Lambert was sacked. - Credit: PA

ON BEING OVERLOOKED POST LAMBERT...

"I've put my name in for jobs over the last few years and I only got one 'thanks, but no thanks' acknowledgement back.

"When Paul Lambert left Ipswich I had a conversation with Lee O'Neill and asked whether it was worth me throwing my name in the hat. He spoke to Marcus (Evans) and told me that I would need more experience to be considered.

"But if I'm not getting replies to job applications, how can I get that experience?

"I remember when Paul Hurst got the job. Back then Scott Parker got interviewed - I know he did because he asked me for help with his presentation. It's well documented that Frank Lampard got interviewed too. They didn't have much managerial experience then, so that did make me laugh.

"But I respected the club's decision." 

Town manager Paul Cook in discussion with Town U23 manager Kieron Dyer.

Paul Cook asked Kieron Dyer to help with the Ipswich Town first team at the back end of 2021/22. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH PAUL COOK...

"I really liked Paul Cook. I really liked his energy. He warmed to me straight away. We just kind of gravitated towards each other.

"He'd seen that Paul Hurst and Paul Lambert had lost their jobs with that group of players and decided they weren't going to take him down too.

"Did he go about things the right way when he was 'demolition man'? Well he's kind of been proved right by the fact that only Andre (Dozzell) and Flynn (Downes) are now playing at a higher level.

"There's a way of delivering a message though. Would I have done it differently? Of course I would.

"Was I sorry to see him leave? Yes. But that's the nature of this game. If results aren't coming you can lose your job.

"So, no, I didn't leave the football club because Paul Cook got sacked."

Town Under 23 boss Kieron Dyer and assistant Terry Butcher watch on from the sidelines

Kieron Dyer (centre) was assisted by Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher (left) for a spell. - Credit: Ross Halls

ON TERRY BUTCHER BEING REMOVED AS HIS U23S ASSISTANT...

"Who would have thought Terry Butcher and Kieron Dyer would have got on like a house on fire and would call themselves 'the dream team'?

"I was gutted when he left and so were the players. He's become a friend for life and I can see that he misses that interaction with players. He loved it.

"I don't know why he left, all I know is he's a special man to work with."

Caretaker manager John McGreal, in charge for his last game, with U23 manager Kieron Dyer behind.

Kieron Dyer (left) assisted John McGreal during his caretaker spell in charge. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

ON JOHN MCGREAL'S ARRIVAL...

"Me and Adem didn't have assistants, but we thought they;d be appointed internally. 

"When John came in it was a shock. This is someone who had managed Colchester and who had been manager of Swindon just a few months earlier coming to be my assistant. I was apprehensive, I'm not going to lie. Is he going to try and take over?

"Then two days later Paul Cook is sacked and John's made caretaker.

"I was disappointed, upset and hurt. I was really angry. I thought it was pre-planned. I was thinking 'how has someone who was my assistant jumped ahead of me?'

"Gary Probert said he wanted me to assist John and Reg (Gilmartin) and I said 'no chance, there's no pathway for me'. The next day I got summoned to Mark Ashton's house and he explained that they'd gone with John just because he'd got league experience.

"He told me I was reading too much into it and was letting my emotions take over. He also said the football club needed me for the next three or four games. So I helped John.

"Again, none of this is the reason for me leaving though!"

Cameron Humphreys at Dartford

Kieron Dyer believes Cameron Humphreys is the second best midfielder at Ipswich Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

ON PLAYER PATHWAYS...

"What do you deem 'success' to be for me in that role? We're unbeaten in eight. There were so many other results that weren't documented either. We smashed Crystal Palace, a Category One club, 3-1. We went to Wycombe, they played a load of senior players, and we beat them 2-0.

"But I saw success as 'how many of them have played in the first team this season?' The answer to that is 'not many', so I feel that I have let them down in a way.

"If you take Sam Morsy out the equation, for me, Cameron Humphreys is our next best midfielder in the entire club. Yet Cameron Humphreys has played 10 minutes against Charlton in the league and played in the League Cup against Newport when, by the way, he was the best player on the pitch.

"Paul Cook didn't see that and neither has Kieran McKenna. Maybe I'm the one who's wrong? But if I was manager then Cameron Humphreys would be in my team with Sam Morsy.

"I take that stuff to heart. I think you are potentially brilliant, I'm meant to be getting you in the first team and that's not happening.

"I'm not blaming the managers here. I'm blaming me.

"Tawanda (Chirewa) is a goal machine. He's so self driven. Yet he's not played a single minute in the Papa John's Trophy this season.

"That's not me saying Paul Cook or Kieran McKenna don't know what they are doing, because I've just given them praise, but in my opinion so many of those academy players are brilliant.

"Elkan (Baggott), Tommy Hughes... I could go through the list.

"It kills me that we have only had Bailey (Clements), Zanda (Siziba) and Cameron play first team football this season.

"If I had been caretaker manager I would have played all the Under-23s at Barrow in the FA Cup - 100%."

Tyreece Simpson made his debut in the Ipswich Town v Tottenham Hotspur U21 match. Picture: Steve

Peterborough United have enquired about Ipswich Town striker Tyreece Simpson. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

ON TYREECE SIMPSON...

"Tyreece only scored two goals for the Under-23s last season. When he went to Swindon I thought 'he's not ready for that'. I'm the first to admit it.

"But he goes and scores 12 goals, is on absolute fire, plays against Man City in the FA Cup and gets all this unbelievable experience.

"It's well documented that he was going to come back, get his contract sorted and then was going to go back to Swindon. But he's ended up staying.

"Fans then think the agent's being greedy and that Tyreece is this and that. They say 'let him rot'. They're only guessing though. There's no statement from the club or Tyreece. So it's all speculation.

"This is just a young kid who wants to play football. If you're him, or his parents, or his agent, you're looking at the players ahead of him... James Norwood, out of contract; Kayden Jackson, out of contract, Macauley Bonne, not our player... And Tyreece can't get on our bench? Would you tell him to sign a contract? That's not about greed, that's about wanting to see a pathway.


"Again, I take that stuff personally."

Swansea City's Flynn Downes applauds the fans at the end of the Sky Bet Championship match at the Jo

Former Ipswich Town midfielder Flynn Downes is proving a big hit at Swansea. Kieron Dyer believes he could have persuaded him to stay at Portman Road. - Credit: PA

ON FLYNN DOWNES...

"Another big thing is the amount of work that me and Bryan (Klug) did with Flynn Downes.
"Flynn was in the bomb squad which, by the way, I totally agreed with because I was in the meeting when he said to Paul Cook that he would like to move on.

"But he's always been emotional. He's that type of character. So me and BK were good for him. We listened to him, we understood him. We got to the point where we arranged a truce meeting with him and Paul Cook so that it could be agreed that he could stay.

"But it was two alpha males going at it, the meeting didn't go to plan and Flynn left.

"Either myself or Bryan should have been in that room. If I could have persuaded Flynn to stay we would have had a midfield of Sam Morsy and Flynn Downes and would be top of the league! I'm telling you now, Flynn Downes will go for £10m this summer to a Premier League club.

"That pains me because I could have made a difference and I let that slip after we out all that work in."

England head coach Gareth Southgate.

Kieron Dyer says he was inspired to quit Ipswich Town after hearing a speech from England manager Gareth Southgate while on his Pro Licence. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

ON NOT WANTING TO BE A 'HYPOCRITE'...

"I'm on module three of my Pro Licence - it's a fantastic course. The A Licence is all about coaching on the pitch. The Pro Licence is about how you deal with board rooms, decision making and the culture of football clubs.

"We've had some great speakers: Gareth Southgate, Sue Baroness, Damien Hughes, who does the High Performance podcast. One of the big things they all talk about is alignment. They say to have a culture everyone has to be aligned and that everyone needs to be pulling in the right direction.

"The big one was Gareth's presentation about how he empowers his staff and the cultures he puts in place.

"Gamechangers and Mark Ashton have come in and they have a vision for how the club should be, how the first team should be, how the women's team should be and how the academy should be. 

"Since starting this course in January it's got me thinking - and it pains me to say this - how I don't agree with that vision. I was staying in the job and going through the motions. I'm talking to players about behaviours and they're looking at me seeing my body language is down. That makes me a hypocrite.

"Listen, I'm not saying their vision is wrong and my morales are right. They have owned and run football clubs and I haven't. 

"This is probably the best time to be at this football club when you look at the unlimited budget and the fact we have got one of the most terrific young managers in the English game. I think I'm a good coach, but he's shown me I have got to go to another level.

"I'm getting kind of emotional, but I feel I have got to be a bigger person and distance myself from it. It's sad to say, but I can't be a hypocrite.

"I did the second module of the course two weeks ago and it just gave me real clarity that 'do you know what, for the greater good of this club I have to sacrifice myself'."