Keane beat off top rivals to land job

ROY Keane beat off an illustrious list of fellow candidates to land the coveted Ipswich Town job.

Derek Davis

ROY Keane beat off an illustrious list of fellow candidates to land the coveted Ipswich Town job.

I can reveal that Alan Pardew, Aidy Boothroyd, Alan Curbishley and Neil Warnock, were all among the candidates Town considered.

Other potential replacements to Jim Magilton, who was sacked yesterday, included Tony Adams, Paul Ince and Paul Jewell.

The Blues owner Marcus Evans drew up a shortlist that met the criteria he and new chief executive Simon Clegg discussed and all the remaining candidates had one thing in common - they had got a team promoted to the Premier League.

Town interviewed former Reading, Charlton and west Ham boss Pardew quite recently and was a serious contender for the position.

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Alan Curbishley was high on the list, and long rumoured to be the man for Town, but his court case with West Ham, in which he is claiming �3m in compensation for wrongful dismissal, hampered his chances and he has made it clear he wants a job in the Premier League.

It is understood that Town made enquiries at Sheffield United about Warnock but no approach was made to the 60-year-old who is contacted at Crystal Palace.

But Irishman Keane, who took Sunderland up at the first attempt, and in his first job in management, stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Simon Clegg, Ipswich Town's new chief executive, explained why those managerial prospects fitted Town's profile.

He said: “I can confirm that we have spoken to a number of people and we are now closing and I hope to be in a position to make an announcement in the near future.

“Our number one goal is to take this club into the Premiership and the manager plays the critical role in that process so we are looking for someone who can take on that responsibility and deliver the success the club, the fan and players aspire to.

“We are looking for someone with a proven track record. Someone who has achieved some success and taken a club in the direction we aspire to go to.

“But let us be clear we want a winner as you do too.”

It is expected that Keane will bring in his own number two and coaching staff, with those to be confirmed, although current Black Cats boss Ricky Sbragia has been linked.