Family over football is Mick McCarthy’s mantra as Freddie Sears becomes a dad again

Freddie Sears and son Jax pictured on the pitch at the end of last season.
Picture: Steve Wall

Freddie Sears and son Jax pictured on the pitch at the end of last season. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says he tries to be a father figure to his players as many of them start and extend their own families.

Bartosz Bialkowski and Cole Skuse, pictured with their children at the end of last season.
Picture:

Bartosz Bialkowski and Cole Skuse, pictured with their children at the end of last season. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Striker Freddie Sears became a dad for the second time on Wednesday, to son Jake, less than 24 hours after playing in the EFL Cup defeat to Stevenage.

The 26-year-old has now gone 28 games without a goal and, having spent much of that time out on the wing, looked short of confidence when restored to his favoured forward role in midweek.

“He just got a little lad, so maybe that will spark it off, who knows?” said McCarthy. “I’m not saying that affected him, but if you’ve had children you’ll know that when it’s coming to the due date it’s an uncertain time. It’s family – and nothing else really matters at that time.

“I’m not saying he’s not caring about his football, because he is, but once that is over and done with he can think ‘right, crack on and get on with what I do best’. Maybe that’s been a little bit of it.”


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The likes of Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse, Daryl Murphy, Christophe Berra, Jonathan Douglas, Brett Pitman, David McGoldrick, Bartosz Bialkowski and Dean Gerken are all fathers too, while McCarthy has three grown-up children himself.

“It’s a young squad and they are all reproducing!” he laughed. “If they say ‘I’ve got a scan with my wife, can I have the time off’ I always say ‘of course you can’. If they say ‘I need to do this with my kids’, the answer is always ‘yes’. That’s a big part of it for me. Their family will be around them a long time after I’ve gone and a long time after Ipswich.”

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When it was put to him that footballers can sometimes be seen as robots rather than normal people with normal problems, the Blues boss smiled. He said: “Absolutely. Like everybody else, if you’ve got problems, whatever it might be, it can affect your job.

“There is that side of it that, when you are in that arena, you can forget everything else, but there are not many like that. Most of them would be affected by family life.

“I don’t get people telling me their problems all the time, but if I can ever help them and assist in any way then I do, because their family are more important than anything else in my view.”

He added: “I try and treat them like my children. All my children are older than most of them – my youngest turned 30 in May. I’ve gone through a lot of experiences with them and so I try to help my players on a very paternal basis.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson from 2pm for live updates from Griffin Park.

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