Fuller Flavour: It was time for Town to try something new

Incoming manager Kieran McKenna, (right) and assistant Martyn Pert look on.

New Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna, right, and his assistant Martyn Pert watch on during Saturday's draw with Sunderland - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town fan Karl Fuller shares his thoughts on the Blues after the appointment of new boss Kieran McKenna and the spirited draw with Sunderland...

With the festive season upon us, a comedy performance of yesteryear is repeated, storylines reach conclusions, and a new era is just around the corner.

I of course refer to Ipswich Town, who continue to churn out notable headlines, rather than the words found within any script-writers' Christmas television chronicle. It has been another eventful week!

After feeling positive in the early part of the season, I had a couple of folk ask me why I have appeared negative recently.

My simple reply was that perceived negativity should not be confused with realism. And if anybody can dress up the comical defeat at Barrow in any shape or form other than the embarrassment that it was, you’re a better person than me. I defy anybody to dredge a positive out of that defeat.

Incoming manager Kieran McKenna speaking with Ipswich Towns Chief Executive Officer Mark Ashton duri

Incoming manager Kieran McKenna speaking with Ipswich Towns Chief Executive Officer Mark Ashton during the Sunderland game. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

That is now nine successive FA Cup games we have had screened live and not won since we lifted the trophy.

But from those first post-1978 FA Cup Final ties screened live in January 1988, where we lost valiantly 2-1 at home to Manchester United, followed by the 0-0 home tie and subsequent 3-2 replay defeat to Liverpool in 1992, we have now reached the lows of losing at Barrow.

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That follows, in my opinion, the biggest embarrassment of all, which was the 1-0 defeat at non-league Lincoln City in 2017.

Our total sum of cup eliminations for another season came at the hands of Newport County, Arsenal Under 21’s and Barrow. Forgive me for appearing ’glum’ at that net result. However, time to draw a line and move on.

The news of Kieran McKenna’s appointment as Town’s new boss took a fair few of us by surprise. I’d never heard of him and neither had a couple of others that I asked for some considered information, and that’s just the Manchester United fans in my life!

Aged 35, he is in good company in that department. He follows in the footsteps of both Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson who took up their managerial positions with the club at roughly the same age.

With all the changes of the last two or three years at the club, I should really learn a lesson and rein my emotions in. But I cannot help feeling that this could be an exciting move by our hierarchy.

One way to look at the appointment of McKenna is that Roy Keane, Paul Jewell, Mick McCarthy, Paul Hurst, Paul Lambert and Paul Cook all had promotions on their CVs when appointed and in most cases, multiple promotions. Yet none of them got us going. Maybe it was time to try something totally different.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) alongside coaches Kieran McKenna (centre) and Michael

Kieran McKenna (centre) assisted Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) alongside Michael Carrick (right). - Credit: PA

McKenna has certainly worked with some big names and despite what any Manchester United fan might try to tell us, he would not have got to the position he did at Old Trafford without some serious credentials to his coaching ability.

Some Town fans I spoke to were hoping for Liam Manning to return to the club from MK Dons. McKenna is marginally behind Manning as far as managerial experience goes but is arguably streets ahead as a coach.

We simply now have to get behind him, remain patient and see how this latest chapter unfolds. Just as it was for Cook, McKenna’s first game is away at Gillingham as a fifth new era since May 2018 begins and will hopefully outlast the previous four by a country mile.

Wes Burns is clipped by Ross Stewart.

Karl was pleased to see Wes Burns back against Sunderland - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Saturday’s performance against Sunderland will have shown McKenna that all the foundations are in place to build on. The first-half performance in particular was in my opinion, the best of the season so far.

It had all that we only ever ask for - grit, determination and a sense of pride of wearing our shirt. The crowd played their part too and the game was the perfect main course after the earlier unveiling of the great Kevin Beattie statue.

I thought that the formation adopted against the Mackems suited the players at our disposal and wasn’t it great to see Wes Burns back? 

George Edmundson applauding fans after the game.

Karl says George Edmundson has been 'imperious' for the Blues - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Along with the imperious George Edmundson and industrious Sone Aluko, the trio spearheaded a fine Town display. Will we finally build from here?

In closing this week, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

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