Friends reunited

IAIN Dowie has praised counterpart Jim Magilton for his ability to cope with his teenage son's illness while managing Ipswich Town.Ipswich Town manager Magilton is godfather to Dowie's eight-year-old son William, and has juggled his time between being the Blues boss and helping wife Colleen to take care of their son.

By Derek Davis

IAIN Dowie has praised counterpart Jim Magilton for his ability to cope with his teenage son's illness while managing Ipswich Town.

Ipswich Town manager Magilton is godfather to Dowie's eight-year-old son William, and has juggled his time between being the Blues boss and helping wife Colleen to take care of their son.

Coventry City boss Dowie said: “Jim has said some nice things about me and the court case but he has had his own problems with his son's illness, so he has coped with that very well.


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“He and his wife have got a lot of things on their mind and he has still managed to do what he does in his job.”

The two were room-mates when playing for Northern Ireland and have remained firm friends since.

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Dowie, who has managed Oldham Athletic, Crystal Palace and Charlton before the Sky Blues, has offered words of advice and encouragement to Magilton, who is in his first managerial job, and knows the problems he has had to face.

He said: “It has been a difficult job there because he has had problems with the finances and had to scrimp and save. He has had a similar situation to us in terms of having to wheel and deal a bit and he has built a side that will play. It is a good club and I think he enjoys it there.”

Dowie knows that whatever happens on Saturday the result won't dent their friendship.

Dowie said: “Jim is a very good friend of mine and I am delighted to see him in the management game because I always thought he would make a coach/manager.

“I roomed with him for years and he is a good talker about the game. He is a funny man and one of the best players I have ever played with, technically. He was a fantastic player and he has got a team in his own image who pass the ball about.

“So it will be a good football game on Saturday. We will go there and play so it should be one for the purists, for sure, and whatever happens he will still be a very, very good friend of mine.”

But while Dowie praises Town he is bullish about his side's chances.

He added: “They are a very good football side. I watched them against Palace when they won 1-0. They have got some excellent players in Garvan, Miller and Roberts, and Lee is in a rich vein of form, so we will have it all to do.

“There will be 24,000 at Portman Road and it will be a tough, tough game but we are still unbeaten away from home and if we can turn our good performances into goals early on then that might give us a platform to win games.”

Magilton revealed that he had offered support to Dowie during the past year when he left Palace and became embroiled in a court case over joining Charlton, from where he was subsequently sacked.

Magilton said: “It has been a very difficult period for Iain. Having to go to court and face a public trial takes a real strong character, which he is.

“He is a very private person and didn't want to be washing dirty linen in public. But when it came out as it did he had to face it although he would probably have liked to have done things differently.

“Iain has handled it the way I expected and will come out the other side all the stronger for it.

“He is one of those guys that when you are in the trenches and you see him with you it is a comforter.

“He has proved to be a very good manager and I know he is a strong character. He is very ambitious and enthusiastic with passion for the game.

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