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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

Doig makes no secret of his own management ambitions and reveals Mexican get-out-of-jail card

PUBLISHED: 17:34 15 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:42 17 June 2018

New Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst and his assistant Chris Doig at their official unveiling earlier this week. Photo: Steve Waller

New Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst and his assistant Chris Doig at their official unveiling earlier this week. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Chris Doig followed Paul Hurst to Ipswich Town from Shrewsbury Town. ANDY WARREN spoke to the Blues’ new assistant boss about the move and his own ambitions.

Former Scotland U21 international Chris Doig was a centre-back who spent the bulk of his playing career at Nottingham Forest and Northampton. Photo: PAFormer Scotland U21 international Chris Doig was a centre-back who spent the bulk of his playing career at Nottingham Forest and Northampton. Photo: PA

Chris Doig may have firm management ambitions of his own, but the new Ipswich Town assistant is in no rush to go it alone just yet.

Doig arrives at Portman Road as Paul Hurst’s No.2, with the pair continuing an upward journey together which has seen them guide Grimsby back to the Football League and take Shrewsbury to two Wembley finals during an improbable campaign in which they fell just short of promotion to the Championship.

But while the Shropshire side’s Championship ambitions were ended by Rotherham in the League One Play-Off Final, Hurst and Doig’s elevation to the second tier quickly materialised during a whirlwind few days following their Wembley loss.

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As Doig headed off on a well-deserved post-season break to Mexico he did so not knowing for certain what the future held, with the Scot insisting he had no decision to make once he was informed Shrewsbury had accepted the Blues’ approach for his services.

“This is twice I’ve moved with the gaffer now and on both occasions really I’ve not had any idea of what’s gone on until he’s told me a deal’s been agreed,” he said.

“That’s the first I found out about it.

“It’s a case of ‘right, ok, we’re off’. If a club accepts a deal for you then it’s pretty obvious you are going and then it happens. It’s really the way it’s turned out – no involvement until you get a message to say ‘we’re off’.

Paul Hurst worked with Chris Doig at both Grimbsy Town and Shrewsbury Town. Photo: Steve WallerPaul Hurst worked with Chris Doig at both Grimbsy Town and Shrewsbury Town. Photo: Steve Waller

“On both occasions the deal has been accepted for both of us so really there has been no other decision for me than to move. No real decision to make.”

Hurst has long been aware of his 37-year-old assistant’s desire to move into management, but Doig firmly believes the best thing for him right now is to continue learning his craft alongside Hurst and to test himself at Championship level with Ipswich.

“We’re very close and have a good working relationship which has worked very well so far, but the gaffer’s well aware that, in time, I would like to be a manager in my own right,” he said.

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“I enjoy my position but, in time, it’s something I would like to do in my own right.

“I spoke to a few people about this and you don’t know how it’s going to happen. It might be a manager moves and you don’t know if he’s going to take you, or if the football club you are currently at maybe wants to give you that opportunity.

“It’s very much an unknown in many ways.

“After all the work we put in (at Shrewsbury) and speaking to a few of the players, there was certainly a few hopes I might have had the opportunity to get it, but ultimately it’s dictated by a football club giving you an opportunity.

Chris Doig (second from right) leads the protest at referee Andy D'Urso during his time at Nottingham Forest. Photo: PAChris Doig (second from right) leads the protest at referee Andy D'Urso during his time at Nottingham Forest. Photo: PA

“I wasn’t in the country to speak to anyone anyway so once the offer was accepted then the decision was made.

“I spoke to a few managers higher up the pyramid who have told me it’s a great learning experience I’m on at the minute and that you should take your time, learn and keep moving up.

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“I’m in no rush and I am certainly enjoying what I’m doing at the moment. I am delighted to still be working with the gaffer, we have a great relationship and right now I think it would be the wrong thing to do to stop that.

“I can’t wait to get started.”

Doig sees himself as the link between the players and the manager, but is not entirely convinced by the ‘bad cop’ tag which he was branded with during his time at Shrewsbury.

“I’m a nice guy!” Doig insisted. “I’m the one who likes putting my arm round the shoulder.

“I think it was one of the lads at Shrewsbury who said that early doors and it seems to have stuck. It’s far from that.

Chris Doig played alongside a young Luke Chambers in the heart of the Northampton Town defence. Photo: Steve WallerChris Doig played alongside a young Luke Chambers in the heart of the Northampton Town defence. Photo: Steve Waller

“I pride myself on my relationship with the players and I’m the link between the two, and it’s my job to try and make life as good as possible for the boys.

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“They enjoy coming to work and that’s a big thing for us. We want to create an environment where they want to be and want to enjoy.

“My relationship with the players is a big part of that.

“There’s no good cop/bad cop – we like to have a good relationship with everyone but if things aren’t to the standards we would expect then they get told. That’s the same at every football club, though.”

Hurst has said he likes the fact that Doig is not a ‘yes man’, with the Scot saying: “We have become really good friends, although it obviously it started as a professional relationship.

“We have a close bond, we’ve spent a lot of time together, travelling up and down together. We share a lot of the same beliefs and have a lot of the same opinions on things. Our relationship has blossomed, certainly.”

It was not only Doig’s relationship with Hurst which has been taken to a new level this summer.

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His holiday didn’t involve as much rest as he might have liked, as he finalised his move to Suffolk, took plenty of calls and began surveying the Ipswich squad, but the Scot did return from Mexico with a fiancée after proposing to his partner.

“The diamond maybe helped on this holiday – I think it got me out of a bit of trouble,” he said. “I think if I hadn’t have done it then my phone could have been in the pool at some point!

“She understands it’s my job. She has her own business and is very successful herself and is very busy in her own right.

“There wasn’t much rest. I do enjoy my holidays but that was probably one of the most frantic I’ve had. That’s part and parcel of the job and if I want to progress then that’s the way it is.

“Ipswich is a big football club with a big tradition and it’s an impressive place when you come here. I can’t wait to get going.

“There is a lot to organise, a lot to get sorted and a lot to put in place.

“There are a lot of things we are hoping to do and we’re helpful we will get them done.

“The prospect is so exciting and we can’t wait to get started.”

In our daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town’s history. Today features David Johnson signing for Town and Sir Bobby Robson’s testimonial match at Portman Road

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