'They are two inspirations for me' - McKenna embracing Town's Ramsey and Robson history

Kieran McKenna is inspired by Ipswich Town's history as he follows in the footsteps of Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson

Kieran McKenna is inspired by Ipswich Town's history as he follows in the footsteps of Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson - Credit: Pagepix/Archant

Ipswich Town’s illustrious history has the potential to weigh heavily on managers at Portman Road.  

But Kieran McKenna is keen to embrace it. 

The Northern Irishman was appointed Ipswich boss at the age of just 35, the same age both Alf Ramsey and Bobby Robson took charge of the Blues before leading the club to the top of the English game. 

The legendary pair delivered a league title, an FA Cup and the UEFA Cup between them, both left Ipswich to become England manager, were both knighted and now each have statues in their memory outside Portman Road. 

Kieran McKenna has this picture of Sir Bobby Robson on the wall of his office at Ipswich Town's training ground

Kieran McKenna has this picture of Sir Bobby Robson on the wall of his office at Ipswich Town's training ground - Credit: ITFC

Comparisons between McKenna and those two men were inevitable, given the similarities in their journeys to Portman Road, but the current Town boss is at pains to stress he doesn’t belong alongside those household names yet. 

But, while that history may weigh heavily on some, McKenna is inspired by it. 

“It’s something we should embrace,” he said. “The fantastic history and tradition the club has had and the trophies it’s won. It’s so important to the community and to the area so we very much embrace the past. 

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“Part of that is not just the great players who have been here but also the great managers, including two of the greatest managers in the history of British football. 

“They are two inspirations for myself, very much so, but I don’t want to be in a position where I’m being compared to them in any way yet. I’ve got a long, long, long, long way to go before I’d ever consider myself in the same breath of those two. 

“But it is an inspiration to know they have been through the same doors and in the same seat as me, at the same age as well. I enjoy that history. 

“I have a big picture of Sir Bobby in my office, which I have no intention of removing because it’s a really proud part of the history and tradition of the club.  

“We embrace that as a club and I certainly embrace it as a manager.” 

McKenna is following in the footsteps of two of British football’s greatest managers and counts another knight, Sir Alex Ferguson, as something of a sounding board following his time coaching at Manchester United. 

“I haven’t spoken to him since I left, but he was fantastic to me throughout my time there,” McKenna said of the legendary boss. 

“He was very supportive from when I arrived and is a great people person. Everyone at the club and all-around football thinks so highly of him. 

“I know he’s on the end of the phone if I ever need him and that’s a great support to have. 

“He’d watch our youth team games when I was coaching there and we’d text sometimes about players and performances, so it’s a privilege to have worked in the same club as him. 

“He’s an icon and a role model to me, so it’s great to have met him and have his support.”