£1m deal for Jim

JIM Magilton has been rewarded for Ipswich Town's excellent start to the season with a £1million contract.With the Blues sitting pretty in the play-off places after 13 games, Magilton has agreed a new two-year deal keeping him at Portman Road until 2010.

JIM Magilton has been rewarded for Ipswich Town's excellent start to the season with a £1million contract.

With the Blues sitting pretty in the play-off places after 13 games, Magilton has agreed a new two-year deal keeping him at Portman Road until 2010.

The new package could be worth around £1m for the Irishman, some of it incentive-driven.

The deal includes a company car and pension rights and makes Magilton the highest-paid member of staff.

The £500,000 annual payment is in line with other highly-rated Championship bosses but Town would need to finish in the top six for him to earn the maximum.

Magilton's package was unanimously approved by the board and offered after Town finished last season with 23 points from 12 games and then opened this season with 21 points from 12 games. It could have been more if the Leicester game at home had not been postponed.

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Blues chairman David Sheepshanks said last night: “It is very much a case of so far so good and this contract is a pat on the back with a clear message to carry on the good work. Jim and Bryan (Klug) have rewarded the faith we have shown in them by the good work and I'm sure they will now be trying even harder as there is no room for complacency. This gives Jim and his staff the added security going forward with everyone working to take Ipswich Town into the Premiership.”

Although Magilton is still a relative rookie with 18 months experience, Sheepshanks is convinced he will be able to deal with the extra responsibilities a takeover will bring. He said: “The hopefully soon-to-be-completed Marcus Evans deal will in its own way bring added pressure for Jim but the board have faith that he will be able to handle that. We have belief that he will be able to select the right players to augment what he already has. Jim has shown he can build a squad of players that has the right spirit and he will add to that.”

The new deal also sends out a clear message to other clubs, and countries, looking for managers to keep their hands off. Sheepshanks said: “We have not had clubs asking to speak to Jim but I'm sure the more success he has the number of admirers will grow.”

Magilton's back room staff have also been handed new deals with first-team coach Bryan Klug and skills coach Steve Foley also handed contracts until 2010.

Magilton said: “The club has shown faith in us and have liked what they have seen so far. The chairman and the board believe we are heading in the right direction, we have new investment coming in and the future is encouraging.”

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