Mick should stick with Town, says ex Ipswich and Ireland player Alan Mahon
Former Ipswich and Ireland midfielder Alan Mahon believes Mick McCarthy should stay at Portman Road.
Immediately after Giovanni Trappatoni parted ways with the Republic of Ireland, the out-of-work Martin O’Neill was quickly installed as the short-odds favourite for the vacant managerial role.
McCarthy himself insisted that O’Neill was a ‘shoo-in’ for the position, but now – more than a month later – it has been reported that O’Neill still feels he has unfinished business in club management.
As a result McCarthy – the man who led Ireland to within a penalty kick of the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup – has again been heavily linked with a return to the international role he enjoyed so much.
“Big Mick is a legend in Ireland, but I think that time has gone,” said Mahon, who was handed his two Ireland caps by McCarthy.
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“I think the consensus of opinion in Ireland is that Martin O’Neill is the right man for the job – he’s got the experience, the know-how and has his Celtic connections as well. It just seems to make sense.
“I have no idea what Mick’s thoughts are, but I really think he’s on to a good thing at Ipswich and maybe sticking at things down there will be more important to him. He’s a great guy and I really hope he can get Ipswich back in the Premier League.” Mahon hung up his boots in 2011 and is now a successful businessman, property development supplemented by the recent success of a free mobile phone game called ‘Shokx’ which allows users to buy and sell virtual stocks and shares in football teams.
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Tomorrow, two of his former clubs go head-to-head as Championship table-toppers Burnley visit Portman Road.
“They are the two clubs that are closest to my heart,” said the 35-year-old. “I was only at Ipswich for a few games, but that was such an important time in my career.
“It was at a time when I was out of the picture at Blackburn and feeling a bit lost. As a young man you have all that bravado, but behind closed doors it is a bit of a confidence killer. I went to Ipswich, Big Joe (Royle) got hold of me, the fans got behind me and it really got me back on track.
“I spent most of my career after that point trying to get a move to Ipswich.”
– Mick McCarthy’s pre-match press conference is at 1.30pm today. Keep an eye on www.greenun24.co.uk for all the latest news.
What does the typical footballer do when they hang up their boots? Many become coaches or managers, while a career in the media has taken over from opening a pub in recent times.
Ex Ipswich Town midfield Alan Mahon has avoided the cliches though and found success in developing a mobile phone app.
‘Shokx’ is a free downloadable game which puts a twist on the popular fantasy football format. Players use virtual coins to buy stocks and shares in football clubs, the values of which fluctuate with real life results.
Within one year more than 25,000 have downloaded it, with former England and Liverpool striker Michael Owen a famous fan of the game.
“My father had passed away in the March of 2011 and I’d always said that if I wasn’t enjoying my football then I’d hang up my boots,” said Irishman Mahon, who played 11 times for Ipswich on loan in 2003, his other clubs including Blackburn, Wigan and Burnley.
“I just wasn’t feeling it, I wasn’t myself, and I thought it wasn’t fair that an old fart like me was taking up a place on the bench that a hungry kid could have had.
“I didn’t want to be one of those players that filters down through the leagues. And I never wanted to be one of those players who finished football and was left standing there sucking my thumb.
“I’d been preparing for the transition for a long while and, to be honest, it hasn’t been that hard.
“I really enjoyed my football and there are aspects I miss, but this is the next chapter for me.
“I did a couple of coaching badges and that might be something I do further down the line, but that’s not for me at this moment in time.
“I’ve always been in to my property so I’ve kept that going, plus I started looking at business opportunities.
“My business partner is Neil Roberts (academy coaching director at Manchester City) and his son-in-law came up with the idea of ‘Shokx’.
“It launched last year and we got a core of around 25,000 people playing it. Michael Owen is a big fan and became an ambassador for us.
“It’s taken off a lot quicker then we thought.”