Town wanted Royle before sacking Burley

IPSWICH wanted Joe Royle as their new manager BEFORE George Burley was sacked, The Evening Star can reveal today.The news will stun supporters who remember the circumstances that led to Royle's appointment almost three years ago.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH wanted Joe Royle as their new manager BEFORE George Burley was sacked, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The news will stun supporters who remember the circumstances that led to Royle's appointment almost three years ago.

It had always been assumed that Town's 3-0 defeat at Grimsby on October 8 2002 had prompted the Portman Road board to take decisive action and wield the axe.

But there is now evidence to the contrary - thanks to Royle's recollections as described in his newly-published autobiography.

He writes: “I was taken aside at a match at Old Trafford by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, who told me that a fellow chairman wanted to know if I was keen to get back to work. I assured him that I was.”

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The game between Manchester United and Everton, which resulted in a 3-0 home win, took place on Monday October 7 2002 - 24 hours before Burley's last game in charge of Ipswich at Blundell Park.

Royle adds: “The name of the mystery man was not revealed to me until several days later when I received a call from David Sheepshanks of Ipswich Town.”

It is clear, therefore, that Burley's days were numbered and the defeat by Grimsby proved to be the last nail in his coffin.

Within 48 hours he was learning of his fate, the club officially announced his departure on Friday October 11 and Royle was unveiled as his successor on October 28.

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