Sacking Jim is not the answer

'MAGILTON OUT' cry many Ipswich Town fans after seeing their side pick up just three points from a possible 12 at the start of a season that is supposed to be their promotion year.

Derek Davis

'MAGILTON OUT' cry many Ipswich Town fans after seeing their side pick up just three points from a possible 12 at the start of a season that is supposed to be their promotion year.

Given Ipswich Town's dismal August, the worst in five years, it is understandable that many supporters have re-acted angrily, jamming the airwaves at Radio Suffolk, venting their fury on message boards and making their feelings clear in letters and e-mails to this newspaper.

While no doubt the live webchat today at 12.30 will be dominated by the same topic.

But surely sacking the manger here, or at any club, at this stage of the season is ridiculously premature.

It is true that as he starts his third season in charge this is now undeniably Magilton's squad. From the current squad Magilton has signed 16 players, and has handed contracts to ten others.

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It is also true he has spent around £6m in players since the turn of the year and that doesn't include the hike in the wage bill.

All the vibes from Portman Road since the end of last year's close call was the Blues have never been in better shape to be promoted.

The manager has the backing of owner Marcus Evans who is bank-rolling whatever signing Magilton can make and the team

But after promising so much and delivering so little so far Magilton is feeling the heat while Mr Evans and his board are conspicuously silent and offering no public support to their besieged manager.

Fans argue that the team looks no better than when he took over from Joe Royle, who had to sell rather than enjoy the luxury of adding.

Certainly results have not reflected the improvement that Magilton insists he has made and some supporters point the finger directly at his man-management,

Discontent in the dressing room appears to have dogged Magilton and supporters, while asking for honesty and openness, have thought his public slating of his players after games, to be self-defeating.

But what would sacking Magilton at this stage of the season actually achieve?

The new man, and the names of Ruud Gullit and Sam Allardyce are being whispered, would inherit a squad Magilton has assembled.

Although they would be able to dabble in the loan market they would not be able to make significant changes until the transfer window reopens in January.

So surely it makes sense to give Magilton the time to blend the new squad he has created into a formidable football team capable of winning matches.

He believes he has the quality and character to produce results and given more time will have the balance right.

The new players need time to bed in, and in some cases catch up with fitness. Creating the right team spirit won't happen overnight and the tight bond a dressing room needs is clearly not there yet.

Magilton has made mistakes, the secret will be learning from them.

Getting the right advice from the right people will be crucial because we all know in football how quickly so-called friends disappear when the board starts sharpening the axe.

The board's role will also be crucial and so far there has been little evidence of leadership from the secretive and reclusive Mr Evans who is ultimately responsible.

None of us know his views.

We don't know if he shares the perceived wisdom that Magilton should be given until at least the end of October to get the team moving in the right direction and offer hope that they can be challenging for the play-off places.

It could be that he accepts promotion will not happen this year and will allow Magilton all season and make his mind up next summer, giving a new man time and money to make wholesale changes.

Sacking a manager without another in place is fraught with danger, with prevarication as bad as making the wrong choice.

A new man would need to come in at least with a couple of weeks of the emergency loan window still open in November and time to assess the squad during December before using the January window to start the inevitable reshaping.

Of course there is another option.

Magilton will deliver, the team will get the right results in league and cup and all this early season panic will be forgotten.