Ashton on whether a new boss is lined up, the type of manager he's searching for, possible reunions and Town's timeframe for an appointment

Mark Ashton first day 9

Mark Ashton is searching for a new manager at Ipswich Town - Credit: Ross Halls

Mark Ashton insists he has no manager lined up to take the vacant Ipswich Town post and will leave no stone unturned in his search for the club’s next boss. 

Ashton and chairman Mike O’Leary will lead the recruitment process after they and the club’s American owners unanimously agreed to sack former manager Paul Cook on Saturday night. 

The Town leadership group have no set timeframe to appoint a replacement, with John McGreal in interim charge, while Ashton has also insisted he has no set ideas regarding the type of manager the Blues will be looking for. 

The Ipswich vacancy is an attractive one, with a significant number of managers already putting their hats in the ring for the job, but Ashton insists the club will consider all options before deciding on Cook’s successor. 

“How long’s a piece of string?” the Town CEO said, when asked what he sees as the timeframe for an appointment. “The sooner the better for an appointment, that’s for sure, but one thing we have now is a little bit of time to breath and do this right. 

“My phone and emails have been going crazy since Saturday night and we’ve had numerous approaches from managers and coaches both in and out of work. We’ll start going through those today. 

“We don’t have anyone in mind, we haven’t gone and had clandestine meetings because that’s not how we operate. 

Most Read

“We’ll run the process as swiftly and as professionally as we can.” 

He continued: “If you’d seen the amount of names we’ve had in already, that makes it an extensive search. 

“It’s not easy because you have to try and get the big decisions right. Myself and Mike O’Leary will lead that and communicate with the board. 

Mike Ashton and Michael O'Leary after the draw at Cambridge United.

Mark Ashton and chairman Mike O'Leary will lead the search for a new manager - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

“Yes, right now this is a midtable club in League One but it’s Ipswich Town Football Club. That totally changes the dynamic.  

“I’ve been surprised by some of the names but you have to verify them because you have names put forward to you by agents and the managers themselves don’t actually know. You have to sift through all of that. 

“But there has been a lot of communication with us but there is no set timeframe. You can’t do that. If I said that I’d be lying to the fans.” 

Asked whether he and the club’s board are looking for an experienced campaigner or an up-and-coming young coach, Ashton said: “Why would you limit yourself to saying it needs to be a specific type? 

“It’s the same with players in that sometimes you have preconceptions about what people are like and, until you meet them you don’t actually know. We’re going to have to meet quite a number of these face to face to find out the best fit. 

“I think we have recruited probably the most talented squad in League One but, right now, they’re not performing as one of the best teams in the league.  

“We need to find someone we believe can get the best out of this group, although that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be active in January. We have a very talented group and they need to perform more effectively.” 

Inevitably the Blues will be linked with managers who Ashton has worked with before, such as Michael Appleton or Lee Johnson, but the Town CEO insisted the net would be cast a lot further. 

“I wouldn’t read anything into that at all,” he said. 

“There’s no way I’m simply going back to a name because I’ve worked with someone. That would not be professional and we will run this process properly.” 

With the Blues already receiving interest from managers and coaches in work, higher up the football pyramid, Ashton sees the Ipswich vacancy as an extremely attractive one, despite their current position in the League One table.  

“Because it’s Ipswich Town Football Club,” he replied, when asked what makes this job an appealing one. 

“It’s the size of this football club. I’ve been at big football clubs and this is the biggest, no matter where it is right now. 

“It’s going to be the biggest turnaround. On and off the pitch we have so much to do and there is so much going on behind the scenes at the stadium and at the training ground. People don’t see that because it all depends on performances and results of the first-team. 

“You have to build solid pillars, solid foundations and have solid ground to build on. We’ll continue to do that but we have to get results on the pitch.  

“We’ve got an outstanding board and ownership group who have already and will continue to commit a lot of money to this football club. 

“You talk about patience, you talk about time. But they are hungry for success. You want to do it in the right way, we all do, but we want success at this football club.” 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter