COMMENT & GALLERY: Versatile profanity proof of Mick McCarthy’s versatile man-management

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy watches new signing Jonathan Parr during a drill

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy watches new signing Jonathan Parr during a drill - Credit: Archant

A small number of Ipswich Town fans had the chance to watch the team train at Carton House, near Dublin last Friday. STUART WATSON set his alarm early and joined them on the Fred Olsen trip...

Sometimes it’s the simplest things which please or amuse us.

Take, for instance, the on-looking crowd of 20 or so Ipswich Town supporters who had dragged themselves out of bed at 2.30am last Friday morning to catch a flight from Stansted to Dublin before getting on a mini-bus and travelling for another half an hour in order to watch the Blues’ morning train at the opulent Carton House.

There was much to be impressed by.

Paul Taylor – transfer-listed and clearly motivated – certainly had his shooting boots on during Terry Connor’s session with the forwards, while Jay Tabb – out of form last season – also looked like a man with a point to prove.

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New signings Cameron Stewart, Alex Henshall and Jonathan Parr already look very part of the spirited Ipswich Town family, while youngsters Matt Clarke, Byron Lawrence, Jack Marriott and Ben Wyatt didn’t look out of place. Indeed, Marriott was looking very sharp.

It was not the shots which arrowed into the top corner which drew the most oohhs and aahhs though, but rather Mick McCarthy’s ability to use the ‘f’ word with such incredible versatility (adjective, verb, noun, adverb, pronoun – you name it).

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It should be stressed at this point that no children were present. And it must also be said that the profanities seemed to have the desired effect.

One minute they’re tossed away as a jovial complement that puffs out the chest of the recipient just that little bit more, the next it’s a form of serious criticism which virtually guarantees the mistake will not happen again.

That remarkable use of one four letter word (pronounced with a double o in the middle, not the native ec) perfectly sums up McCarthy’s well-rounded man-management style.

As these images show, it’s all smiles and camaraderie 99% of the time but then just one bark and a scowl suddenly reminds everyone what they’re there for. The metaphorical arm around the shoulder is quickly followed by a sharp kick up the backside.

Not all previous Blues bosses have been able to get that balance right.

When the end of session game came around the coaches all stood on the side and watched, but it was not long before McCarthy – unable to help himself – joined in the action.

Every time that distinctive gruff Yorkshire voice demanded the ball back, unsurprisingly it was rapidly returned. Funnily enough, the ‘gaffer’ was generally left unmarked too.

The game went on a good 10 minutes past the scheduled finish before McCarthy’s non-bibs finally got their noses in front. It was only then, coincidentally I am sure, that the action was called to a halt.

Winners are winners, whatever the occasion.

Once the session had finished, McCarthy and the players mingled with those who had made the journey, posing for pictures and having a relaxed chat.

It’s moments like those which highlight how the Blues boss has put off-field characteristics on a par with on-field ability when scouring the transfer market.

You get the feeling that there is a quiet confidence in this ultra-tight camp. The fitness statistics, I am told, are the best they have been for the first week of pre-season in years.

This is a group of players who can’t wait to start again following last season’s encouraging ninth-place finish.

This is a group of players who want to please their manager.

This is a group of players who believe they can defy the odds and finish in the top six this time around.

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