Waghorn made a big impression in his one Ipswich season... but his biggest impact could come now he’s gone
- Credit: Archant
As Martyn Waghorn leaves Ipswich Town for Derby in a £5m deal which could rise to £7.5m, ANDY WARREN looks back at the striker’s time at Portman Road.
Just a year and a day after first walking through the door, Martyn Waghorn has left the building.
And what a year it was.
Few would have imagined the £250,000 signing from Rangers would have hit the heights he reached during his single season in Suffolk, netting 16 times and assisting a further 11 goals. No player in the Championship was directly involved in more goals than Waghorn last season.
Few players have captured the imagination of Ipswich fans in just a single season in the way Waghorn did. And he did it all with a broad grin on his face.
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Yes, the likes of Giovani dos Santos, Ryan Fraser, Tom Lawrence and Jonny Williams dazzled during loan spells, but Waghorn was all-in on Ipswich – ‘one of ours’.
At a time when footballers are more transient than ever, which Waghorn knows first hand having played for seven clubs before arriving in Suffolk, the 28-year-old seemed part of the furniture as soon as he entered the building.
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He engaged with fans on social media, constantly baited Callum Connolly on Instagram, got everyone talking with his imaginative, computer game-themed goal celebrations and was clearly one of the most popular members of the squad.
He and his young family were happy in the area, his wife Leoni had begun working with the Elena Baltacha Foundation and Waghorn’s parents had even moved to Suffolk.
Yet the move to Derby County, and the chance to work with Frank Lampard, was one he could not pass up.
He will be missed, both on and off the pitch, and all of the above is why his departure is such a disappointing one.
Then there’s the other side of the argument.
Paul Hurst has already said it is his job to try and bring renewed levels of success to Ipswich Town, in the hope that he can create an environment where the club’s best players will see staying with the Blues as a better bet than moving on.
It’s hard to argue that, right now, Derby doesn’t offer the 28-year-old a better chance of Premier League football than Ipswich, while the move also highlights the financial position Ipswich find themselves in.
He leaves for Derby for an initial fee 20-times the one the Blues paid for his services a year ago. In a purely business sense, that mark-up makes it an excellent deal.
And while it is to be debated whether the numbers represent Waghorn’s true worth, it can also be an excellent deal in a football sense as Hurst looks to reshape the Ipswich squad in his image.
We’ve seen it before with the sale of Kieron Dyer in the summer of 1999, when the homegrown midfielder was traded in and the likes of John McGreal, Jermaine Wright, Gary Croft, Marcus Stewart and Martijn Reuser were all acquired with the profits. Premier League football was secured within 12 months.
Ipswich were consistent promotion contenders back then, with the sale of Dyer offering George Burley the ability to reconfigure his squad for one final push.
And while the circumstances are certainly different this time around and the expectations much lower, for now, the sale of Waghorn will offer Hurst the financial injection he needs at the start of his reign.
Shrewsbury duo Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala have already been signed using the proceeds, Kayden Jackson will soon follow and there are still moves afoot ahead of tomorrow’s 5pm deadline.
Whether or not selling Martyn Waghorn is a good deal for Ipswich Town is difficult to judge in the here and now. It’s if and how that money is reinvested which will offer the real proof.
Waghorn’s impact during his 12-month stay in Suffolk was a huge one. But Hurst will be hoping his biggest impact comes following his departure.