Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans caught between a rock and a hard place

IPSWICH Town owner Marcus Evans finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place.

The multi-millionaire has recognised, through hindsight, that sacking Jim Magilton and Roy Keane after only a matter of months has only served to bring short-term gain but longer-term regression

The fast-learning football owner is desperate to bring some stability to the club, with his continued emphatic backing of Paul Jewell showing that he’s prepared to ride out the storm in the hope that one step backwards can be followed by two forwards.

Can this latest storm be ridden out under the current manager though?

That is the question Evans must now be asking himself, because the continued failures of the team means he may soon have no choice but to make another one step forwards, potentially two more backwards decision.

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There is no guarantee that a new manager would do any better than Jewell. As previously mentioned, the last two appointments have ultimately taken the club backwards rather than forwards.

Change the boss now and he’ll want to bring in his own backroom staff and his own players. That would almost guarantee another 12 month transitionary period.

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A new man generally has a temporary ‘honeymoon’ effect though, improving results as players raise their game for the new man. Jewell himself did that last season.

And if Town get to the stage where relegation to the third tier – for the first time since 1957 – looks likely, then that short-term decision will have to be made.

Because, make no mistake about it, relegation must be avoided at all costs.

Forget the rejuvenating effect dropping down to League One had on regional rivals Norwich City. They are an exception to the rule.

Many a ‘big club’ has struggled to bounce back from that division – one that is becoming stronger by the year. And the financial implications that it would have on Town are massive too.

However, relegation is certainly no certainty at the moment. Why? I hear you cry. Town have taken just eight points from a possible 45 – that’s bottom of the table stuff, not just relegation form.

True, but with the quality of the Championship as low as it’s been in years there could still very well be three worse teams.

If you take away the individual errors, there are signs that Town are not far away from being a half-decent side.

And if Jewell has indeed learnt from his mistakes in the transfer market, then some young, hungry players could soon be on their way.

Admittedly, there are some very big ‘coulds’ and ‘ifs’ there though.

Supporters certainly seem to be split on the issue. Many feel Jewell has proved he is yesterday’s man, his achievements at Bradford and Wigan now well and truly over-shadowed by his far more recent spectacular failures at Derby and Ipswich.

Others feel he is making all the right noises though and – with continued backing through the hard times – will get it right in the end.

Sacking the manager would be a major gamble, but then again failure to do so also carries big risks.

Evans will be weighing up short-term gain versus long-term stability more than ever this week.

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