Royle: 'Now is a good time to go'

JOE Royle last night explained the reasons why it was felt now was the best time for him to leave Ipswich Town and revealed he had considered quitting last summer.

By Derek Davis

JOE Royle last night explained the reasons why it was felt now was the best time for him to leave Ipswich Town and revealed he had considered quitting last summer.

The former Oldham, Everton and Manchester City, and now ex Ipswich manager, also admitted he will listen to any future offers and was not going to announce his retirement.

Royle and Ipswich Town unexpectedly parted company by mutual consent after two days of talks and insist it was an amicable split.


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The move comes on the eve of a share issue and Royle last night insisted now was the right time for him to go.

Royle said: “I contemplated packing it last summer after the play-offs but in deference to the chairman and my feelings for Ipswich I decided to stay.

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“I met with the chairman on Wednesday, and again on Thursday, and we talked about the way forward and we came to the decision.

“I had a year left on my contract but it was felt that now would be a good time to part and it gives the new man time to prepare for next season.”

Royle said: “I am proud of what I have achieved with Ipswich. When I came here the wage bill was more than £20m, it is now a quarter of that.

“The club has gone through a lot but has come through and has stabilised and is ready to move forward. “To oversee that has been extremely hard work but very rewarding.

“The job was not what I thought it was going to be when I arrived, it was a lot harder than I expected. “Even so, we still nearly did it a couple of times.

“The new man can look forward to a better future. I leave Ipswich a stronger than we were this time last season when we knew that by not being promoted, we would lose players, and that is what happened.

“I am very sad to leave. Although I always knew I was not the number one choice for a section in the North Stand I had a great rapport with the majority of the fans and I want to thank them for their support.”

Despite rumours that Royle was to be offered a role as director of football, he insisted that was never the case. He said: “That was always a load of hogwash, a director of football role was never discussed.

He also insisted that he leaves Portman Road on very good terms with the board

Royle added: “There is absolutely no animosity between us. I have the utmost respect and really like David and I have made some wonderful friends at Ipswich.

“Wherever I go or whatever I do, I would love to see Ipswich push on and go up.”

Despite earlier assertions that Royle would not seek another job after he finished with Ipswich, he said: “I have said that I would retire after this job but then again I have always said I'm not a good prophet of my own future.

“At first I said I would sit back at 55 and then it was 60, we will see. I have a marvellous summer planned with my family, which includes plenty of sunshine and rest.

“After that we will see what is happening. I will consider whatever offers there are around and take it from there.

“There are some big challenges out there and I look forward to what the future holds.”

While twice reaching the play-offs was a highlight for Royle the game against Sheffield United after Pablo Counago had been sent off at Portman Road stand out in the memory.

“To come back with ten men from two goals down and win against Sheffield United was incredible. It showed what a terrific bunch of players we had and the team spirit and character that we had developed.”

Royle took over at Ipswich from George Burley in October 2002 and finished seventh in the Championship in his first season.

Two play-offs followed against West Ham, but the second was particularly cutting after being in an automatic promotion place for almost half the season.

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