Royle: Things can only get better

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle has said it is time to draw a line under the past.The Blues chief, whose side are third from bottom of Division One and still looking for an opening league win of the new campaign, was speaking at the club shareholders and sponsors annual player of the year presentation luncheon.

By Dave Allard

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle has said it is time to draw a line under the past.

The Blues chief, whose side are third from bottom of Division One and still looking for an opening league win of the new campaign, was speaking at the club shareholders and sponsors annual player of the year presentation luncheon.

The winner was Spanish striker Pablo Counago, a 19-goal top marksman of last season.

In a moving and often amusing address from the podium, Royle said: "These are hard times for us at the moment and as the song goes, things can only get better.

"I apologise for the poor start, but believe me it's not all doom and gloom. I feel that now we can start to look forward. It's time to draw a line under the past. When I look at my old club Oldham and see the dire straits they're in, it puts things in perspective.

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"It's easy to be a Manchester United or Arsenal fan. The true test of support is when things are not going so well and I feel privileged to work for a club that enjoys the fantastic support we enjoy.

"I believe in the group of players that we have here now. Never underestimate a wounded animal. We are a bit wounded at the moment and we mean business."

Progress

Club chief executive and board director Derek Bowden said: "The past is the past and we can't do anything about that. We feel that good progress is being made off the field with a successful loan note issue. The season ticket sales were fantastic and the next big step will be the share issue that will come in the autumn."

Helen Kerr, the head of brand at Powergen, presented Counago with his trophy.

The former Spanish Under-21 international, still looking for a first goal this campaign, said: "I would love to get as many goals as I did last season, but for me the most important thing is that the team starts doing well.

"I want to play my part, but I don't mind who scores the goals as long as we start winning, which I'm sure we'll be doing soon."

The Blues number nine continued: "I really think we have the players, the coaches and the supporters who have stuck with us to begin turning it around soon.

"I feel that we could be in the top six within a couple of months and hopefully we will be able to stay right up there."

Skipper Jim Magilton dined and chatted with boxholders and sponsors at the luncheon. Other players there were Tommy Miller, Georges Santos, Drissa Diallo, Chris Makin and Fabian Wilnis.

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