Royle: Sky's the limit for Town

JOE Royle today looked ahead and forecasted that the sky is the limit for Ipswich Town.The Blues boss, who celebrates his second anniversary in the Portman Road hot seat tomorrow, said: “You can only wonder at the promise the future holds for the club with its array of young stars.

JOE Royle today looked ahead and forecasted that the sky is the limit for Ipswich Town.

The Blues boss, who celebrates his second anniversary in the Portman Road hot seat tomorrow, said: “You can only wonder at the promise the future holds for the club with its array of young stars.”

Royle is satisfied with his work since taking over the reins from caretaker-manager Tony Mowbray on October 28, 2002.

The vastly-experienced Royle clocked-up 1,000 games as a club boss last month.

And he predicts great things for the Blues thanks to the emergence of a clutch of hugely-promising starlets including young England internationals Darren Bent, Dean Bowditch, Matt Richards and Ian Westlake.

“It did not turn out to be the job I expected as my initial remit was to help Matt Holland and company back into the Premiership,” said Royle.

Most Read

“But I have enjoyed my time with Ipswich, and I think there have been more highs than lows.

“The low point was dropping to the bottom of the First Division with a 4-1 defeat at West Brom last September. Since then everyone has pulled together and got the club back on a much better footing.

“Both on and off the pitch we have made considerable progress, with this week's much brighter financial news backing up the efforts of the players to lift us into a top-three position in the Coca-Cola Championship.

“The defining moment will come when I can purchase a player - hopefully a Premiership one. This will complete a full circle and signal the fact that Ipswich Town is back as a real force in English football.

“The Premiership is the place to be and one of the reasons I took the job was because I believed Ipswich could win their way back.

“It has taken longer than expected and we are currently a mixture of free signings, those left over from George Burley's time and talented youngsters.

“But I have every confidence that an improvement in the club's fortunes will happen. With the array of young talent you can only wonder at the promise the future holds.”

The former Oldham, Everton and Manchester City manager has no regrets about putting his roots down in East Anglia.

“Ipswich is an enchanting club with wonderful supporters, who have a Corinthian approach to the game. I think we have given them entertaining football to watch. We are a passing team that scores goals and we play the game the right way.”

When asked what the next two years might bring, Royle replied: “That is a long time in football and Gary Megson's departure from West Brom shows that you are two games away from being a hero - and two games away from being a villain.

“But I am still very ambitious and although satisfied with what I have achieved over the last 24 months, when the players' wage bill has been reduced by three-quarters, I am searching to bring more success to the club.

“The rehabilitation is almost complete - and we are positioned to go forward.”

Nine of the players who began Royle's first match - the UEFA Cup home tie with Czech Republic side Slovan Liberec - have since departed Portman Road, all for financial reasons.

Only Pablo Counago started both that game and last Saturday's 2-2 draw at Watford.

Royle begins his third year at the club with a home game this Saturday against a Preston side that is in action against Everton in the Carling Cup tonight.

The Town manager reports no injury worries with keeper Kelvin Davies hoping to step up his training after his back problem this week, but deputy Lewis Price will stay in goal against Preston.

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