Gill has 'no regrets' over Norwich to Ipswich switch
- Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwa
Former Ipswich Town first team coach Matt Gill says he has no regrets about crossing East Anglia's football divide.
After hanging up his boots in 2014, Gill returned to his former club Norwich City to become an academy coach and he went on to play a key role in the development of young stars like Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis.
He left his role as Under-23s coach at Carrow Road in October 2018 after Paul Lambert, his former Canaries boss, persuaded him to take a first team coaching role at Portman Road.
Ipswich were relegated from the Championship that season and subsequently finished 11th and ninth in League One.
Gill stayed on at Ipswich after Lambert's dismissal in February, playing a prominent role in the wins against Hull and Doncaster before officially being caretaker manager for a 2-1 victory at Accrington Stanley.
He was let go at the end of the season though, along with keeper coach Jimmy Walker, as Paul Cook shaped his own his backroom team, the likes of Francis Jeffers, Ian Craney and John Keeley all recently brought in.
Reflecting on his move to Ipswich, Gill - speaking to our sister paper the EDP - said: "It was totally out of the blue.
"We (Lambert) had kept in contact ever since I played for him and I'd been to visit him at a few of his old clubs so the call itself was a bit of a surprise. A good surprise.
"When he said it was Ipswich, it was an even bigger surprise but in football it's a small world and if an opportunity suits where you are at then you have to take it.
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"I would imagine he has no regrets in taking it and I know that I certainly haven't."
Gill, who has confirmed that he is looking to get another first team coaching role this summer, was asked if it had been a tough decision to take the Ipswich job.
"It certainly was," he said.
"There are a few reasons (why I decided to take it). I really loved what I was doing and if this offer hadn't come up at that point, I would like to think I would still be doing that job at Norwich. I loved that role with the 23s and my previous roles in the academy.
"I was keen to work in a first-team environment and to get the opportunity to do that at a Championship club at the time was something that ticked the box as far as me being ambitious.
"Another thing to take into consideration was its location. I have a young family and so that ticked a massive box for me. I knew I could live at home, be present for my kids and wife so that was a massive part of the decision also. I'd have 11 house moves in 17 years.
"Don't get me wrong, the decision to cross the divide is one that I didn't take lightly. I obviously got loads of stick for it. I came off Twitter the night before it got announced as I thought that was probably for the best.
"I didn't take it lightly but it ticked a lot of boxes for me, especially the family one. It was a tough decision but one that I wanted to take and really give my all."
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Matt Gill can look back on the derby day fracas of February 2019 now and laugh - but he admits that, at the time, he didn't enjoy it at all.
Lambert was sent-off on his return to Carrow Road after squaring up to Norwich's assistant head coach Edmund Riemer in the angry aftermath which followed a lunging Jon Nolan challenge right in front of the dugouts.
A steward tried to hold Lambert back during the ensuing touchline melee, then a policeman stepped in to calm things down. Referee Peter Bankes eventually showed Lambert a red card, as well as Norwich’s head of performance Chris Domogalla.
Sky Sports subsequently reported that Norwich keeper coach Ed Wootten had challenged Lambert to a fight, with Lambert then calling upon Wootten to 'give me a call and see what happens' in a later press conference.
"I didn't enjoy the day at all," said Gill. "The result aside, it felt really strange going back. I'd left four months earlier, you're seeing people you haven't seen for a while walking into the stadium be it Pete the kit man, some of the media staff and people you have a real connection with.
"It was great to see them all but being on the other side of it was really strange. The game itself was disappointing from an Ipswich point of view and obviously, there was a bit of a fracas near the tunnel with the manager getting sent off. It had everything."
Gill continued: "Things are always said in technical areas. I try not to get too involved and concentrate on the game.
"A few words were said around tackles and then there's a coming together. It's really weird because Ed Wootten and I are good pals and worked together closely with the 23s for a period of time before he stepped up.
"I felt I had good relationships with Daniel (Farke), Eddie Riemer and Chris Domogalla so it was all a little bit weird. It's definitely one of the strangest experiences of my coaching career.
"I've got so much respect for Daniel and his staff. I dealt with Eddie Riemer a lot being the 23s lead around training. I got on well with Chris and he obviously got sent off as well. He was wrongly accused, it was probably Ed that should have gone. It's stuff that we've laughed about since.
"I had a beer with Ed (Wootten) a few weeks back and it didn't get brought up. We've already spoken about it that much. It is strange when it's people you have relationships with or worked underneath. It was strange."