Mike Bacon: McKenna to Watford, but who would be more surprised?

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna pictured during the Charlton game.

Kieran McKenna, in the frame for the Watford job, according to the bookies - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Let's make no bones about it, the hard work begins now.

It really has been the most mixed emotional roller-coaster of a season following Ipswich Town this campaign just gone, don't you think? Highs, lows and plenty in between.

Oh, how we would have swapped it for a more solid, decisive, mentally strong, always in the top six race to the Championship. Perhaps next season, hey?

Ipswich Town keeper Christian Walton in action against Charlton Athletic.

Ipswich Town keeper Christian Walton in action against Charlton Athletic. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Then again, off the pitch this season has been a dream, indeed everything most Town fans have been craving for in more than a decade. Transparency, investment, atmosphere, ambition, while Portman Road has been made to look like and feel like our football club again. Owners who are here for the future, but embrace the past. Football being played on the grass!

But, as I said at the start, let's not make any bones about it, there is a hell of a lot to be done if Town are to get themselves back into the Championship in 2023.

Town fans applaud the fans.

Ipswich Town regularly attracted crowds of 20,000 plus on their way to an 11th place League One finish this season. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

The Blues ended in 11th for goodness sake, nine points ahead of Accrington Stanley in 12th, and 13 points off the play-offs. That's not a successful season for our club, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Forget your 4-0 against Charlton on dead-rubber Saturday. Who cares? We needed that to be 4-0 at Cheltenham back in August when it mattered. Or a 1-0 gritty, horrible win at Sunderland or at Plymouth, or dare I say, at Oxford!

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Yet, bizarrely, 11th seems to feel like seventh because of the strength of the entertainment and passion of the players. That's all good, of course. But entertainment and passion don't appear to have got us anywhere near promotion. We need that and much more next season.

So, Kieran McKenna is one of the favourites for the Watford job, according to the bookies.

Are you surprised? Some Town fans will be, others won't. I would have thought Watford fans will be the most surprised, wondering why a manager in charge of a middle of the table League One side is being considered for the Hornets position.

I'm sure McKenna knows he has a huge opportunity at Portman Road and he also knows he has a job on his hands. I'd be stunned if he went into the uncertain waters of Vicarage Road, that's for sure. Then again, far stranger things have happened in the game.

Sam Morsy and Kane Vincent-Young during the lap of appreciation.

Sam Morsy and Kane Vincent-Young during the lap of appreciation. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Changing course slightly, here is one thing McKenna said after Town's win over Charlton at the weekend: “Nobody at the club is under any illusions about the scale of the task we have ahead."

That's an understatement. It's also why I like McKenna. The best thing about him, in my opinion, is that he gets it. And without making a ranting fuss.

He doesn't over-praise or over-criticise his players. His comments are measured, not emotional.

The bottom line is, Town are where they are for a reason... well many reasons. And McKenna knows that. The one thing I'm looking forward to more than anything else is his progression as a football manager with our club. Not anywhere else.

So, rest up folks for a couple of months but I sense we will be talking Ipswich Town for many weeks ahead and our break will be short-lived. In fact, I certainly have no rest (oh no, I hear you say!). Yes, I'll be back next week, as my thoughts on the Blues continue throughout the summer.

Anyhow, it's time, as Ipswich Town supporters, our luck changed. We all deserve it.

I'm not over-confident the Blues will sail through next season, but I am confident the club is building something at last after years of stagnation.

For that, I'm pleased. Because finishing a season 11th in League One for Ipswich Town Football Club, is simply rubbish. But we go again in July and this time, fingers crossed, the ride will be a little less up and down and a bit more calm, composed and successful.

Up the Town!