‘Hurst is here to build something, there is finally a plan’
Sport Editor Mark Heath on the new era at Ipswich Town – and why fans should be excited.
A Blue dawn.
Makes for a nice front page for us, of course, but in reality the concept runs far deeper than just an eye-catching graphic on the front of our kick-off supplement.
Because it truly feels like there’s something new and exciting happening at Portman Road, that a new era is actually beginning. And boy, did we need it.
Forgive me for briefly mentioning the ghost of Christmas past, Mr Michael McCarthy. Big Mick – whatever you think of him now – did an excellent job in his first couple of seasons at Town, transforming a side which sat rock bottom of the league into play-off participants.
Indeed, we had a picture of Mick’s smiling face with the words HOPE emblazoned beneath it on our kick-off pull-out before that remarkable play-off season. Exciting times then, too.
But of course, as it turned out, things all went a little sour and stale, and grumpy old Mick talked his way out of the door at Portman Road, dropping the mic as he stropped off stage left.
Marcus Evans promised us a new way in that long-awaited video address and, after a manager search which felt longer than the season itself, we had our new man – Paul ‘Hollywood’ Hurst. I call him Hollywood because of those cracking teeth, by the way – hopefully it will also be reflected in his big screen worthy football.
And this does all feel a bit different, doesn’t it? Hurst, though similar to Mick in many ways – blunt, Yorkshire roots, careful with cash and pragmatic – is also excitingly refreshing.
A man who embraces sports science, is willing to shake things up to build a young and hungry team, who won’t play favourites and – crucially – sees Town as a step up in his career, not just another stop along the managerial merry-go-round.
Hurst is here to build something, there is finally a plan. It may take time, but it is exciting. A Blue dawn indeed.