I’ll always be an Ipswich Town fan – Scott Loach says an emotional goodbye after signing for Rotherham United
10:02 06 June 2014
Scott Loach insists he will always be an Ipswich Town fan after reaching an agreement to tear up the final two years of his contract at the club and sign for newly-promoted Championship side Rotherham United.
"All I can say to the fans is ‘thank you’ really. Words will never be able to describe how I felt walking out at Portman Road and making my debut for the club I grew up supporting."
The Nottingham-born keeper was on the Blues’ books as a boy and grew up as a passionate supporter of the club, counting Richard Wright as his footballing hero and regularly attending matches at Portman Road with his dad.
Released by the club as a youngster he went on to establish himself as one of the country’s most promising young keepers at Watford, regularly representing England at Under-21 level and earning one senior call-up.
He completed a dream move back to Suffolk in 2012, for a fee thought to be around £150,000, but the switch didn’t work out the way he had hoped. In his first season, loanee Stephen Henderson dislodged him from the side, while in his second campaign he found himself behind Dean Gerken in the pecking order.
Manager Mick McCarthy transfer-listed the 26-year-old at the end of the campaign and today, after reaching an agreement to cancel the remaining year of his contract, he signed a two-year deal at newly-promoted Championship rivals Rotherham having made just 32 starts for the Blues.
“I’m gutted that it didn’t work out at Ipswich, but it’s about time I get my career back on track,” said Loach, speaking exclusively to the EADT and Ipswich Star.
“All I can say to the fans is ‘thank you’ really. Words will never be able to describe how I felt walking out at Portman Road and making my debut for the club I grew up supporting. The reaction I got from the crowd for that game against Blackburn was incredible.
“And saving that penalty at Portman Road, against Huddersfield, was like winning the World Cup for me. That’s what it felt like to play for Ipswich.”
Asked if he would always be an Ipswich Town supporter, he quickly replied: “Yes, definitely. When I played for Watford I was an Ipswich fan and I’m still an Ipswich fan now. I’m a supporter who just happens to play football really. They are the team I fell in love with as an eight-year-old boy and they will always have a special place in my heart. Hopefully one day I will return in some sort of capacity.
“I wish everyone at the club all the best, but now I have to concentrate on my career and Rotherham.”
He continued: “All sentiment will obviosuly go out of the window when I line up against Ipswich next season, but I really hope we can get promoted. The progression under Mick McCarthy has been huge and I really do feel like we’re going places.
“I’m already looking forward to coming back next season. I just hope I don’t get booed!
“It will be a bit surreal, but I played against Ipswich a few times for Watford and you just block all that out as soon as the game starts. Have no doubt about it, I’ll be fully focussed on Rotherham.”
Looking back on his two seasons with the Blues, Loach said: “I think in the first year I was dropped fairly harshly by (Paul) Jewell, but then Hendo (Stephen Henderson) played really well so I couldn’t really complain.
“I thought I finished that season well and was disappointed when I didn’t start the new season, but again Gerks (Dean Gerken) was fantastic. Maybe the gaffer could have kept me in after some good performances, but you can’t argue with too many of his decisions because the club only just missed out on the play-offs – and nobody was predicting that.
“He was always really honest with me and that’s all you can ask for as a player. I’d like to thank the gaffer and TC (Terry Connor) because they were a pleasure to work with. No matter how disappointed I was not to play, I always respected their decisions and made sure I got my head down and continued to prepare properly.”
Asked what Rotherham’s goals were for next season, he said: “On the face of it you’d have to say that the goal is just to establish ourselves at this level, but the Championship is a strange league and I see no reason why we can’t compete. Mick McCarthy sums it up best when he says this league is all about consistency.
“I saw them a few times last season because my mate Lee Frecklington plays for them. They are a club that are definitely on the up. They’ve got a new stadium, fantastic infrastructure and the manager (Steve Evans) seems like a great guy – certainly a character!”