Blues paid coach 'peanuts'

TONY Mowbray once worked as a coach for Ipswich Town for 'peanuts'. Now he is on the brink of landing one of the most high profile managerial jobs in world football.

Elvin King

TONY Mowbray once worked as a coach for Ipswich Town for 'peanuts'. Now he is on the brink of landing one of the most high profile managerial jobs in world football.

Scottish giants Celtic have been given permission by West Brom to talk to the former Blues defender after a compensation fee of �2million has been agreed, and Mowbray is expected to be confirmed boss at Parkhead this week.

Former Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle worked with Mowbray at Portman Road and revealed that Ipswich Town's desperate financial position from 2002 to 2004 led to Mowbray having his salary cut to the bone.


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“The club was in administration and there wasn't really a place for Tony with Willie Donachie working with me,” recalled Royle.

“However, he still agreed to stay on for a nominal salary, certainly nothing like he had been earning as assistant to George Burley before my arrival.

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“In administration we couldn't pay him much to stay because, strictly speaking, he was an extra on the staff.

“But that was never a problem for Tony. It was never a financial issue with him and was all learning as much as he could.”

And looking back on his early days in the Town hot seat in the autumn of 2002, Royle added: “Tony's totally likeable and when I took over the first thing I did was speak to him man-to-man because I knew he had also been in for the job to replace George.

“Tony had taken temporary charge of the team and been interviewed for the post, but unfortunately didn't get it.

“However, I told him I'd like him to stay and use his knowledge of the players and I was also aware of his reputation as a good guy with a really positive approach.

“I was heading into my late fifties at the time and he maybe saw the chance to work alongside me as an opportunity to learn from someone more experienced because he was clearly keen to test himself in management.

“He worked with Willie and I primarily as first-team coach, but we knew it wasn't a ready-made position as a result of the financial plight of the club.

"We almost made the play-offs that year and probably would have done had we even been allowed to sign a loan player here and there but we couldn't. It was all sell, sell, sell and players had to go.”

And talking of Mowbray's thinking in deciding whether to take the job, Royle said: “Tony has to weigh it all up. He knows the scene, knows he'll be starting second to Rangers and must become first and understands the expectation levels are high after the terrific job done by Gordon Strachan.

“Tony spoke to Ipswich towards the end of his time at Hibernian and everyone thought that was a done deal.

“Yes, the appeal of Celtic is great because it has a super support, traditions he knows and excellent facilities, but then he was a legend down Ipswich way and still declined the job at Portman Road.

“Ultimately, Celtic is a hard job to turn down and you can't help but be impressed with Tony. He's a good guy, totally trustworthy and believes in total football.”

Current Town boss Roy Keane was linked with the Parkhead post, having been a big favourite when a Celtic player.

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