What does new campaign hold in store?

SO what does the 2008/09 campaign have in store for Ipswich Town supporters?

Elvin King

SO what does the 2008/09 campaign have in store for Ipswich Town supporters?

Will Jim Magilton fulfil club owner Marcus Evans' expectations and guide the Blues into the treasure trove that is the Premier League?

Or will the manager put himself in danger of the axe with Town occupying a mid-table position - or even worse get sucked into a fight to avoid relegation from the Coca-Cola Championship?

Magilton has now come of age as a manager having served two years in the post.

He no longer carries with him a rookie tag and will be judged accordingly.

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There is no doubt that the genial Belfast-born Magilton is going to enjoy a long career in management. He has proved that he has what it takes and enjoys going in to work every day.

Magilton is taking his coaching licences to ensure that he can manage in the Premier League, and although the difficult decisions he has to make - affecting other people's livelihoods - do not come easy to him he is prepared to stand up and be counted.

If you ask this correspondent his views for next season the answer would be promotion - and glory for Magilton.

He still has some rough edges but he has always been his own man and these will smooth out in the months ahead.

But predicting the life expectancy of a football manager is akin to picking out survivors of a Russian roulette contest.

Football history is riddled with good managers who have received the bullet. Chairmen do not have patience as one of their main virtues.

Former Town chairmen John and Patrick Cobbold yes, they were from the old school - too old, I am afraid, for these days.

The Blues reaped the benefits of their policy of letting a manager manage and making sure there was enough wine in the boardroom to make Saturday afternoons a pleasure - win or lose.

David Sheepshanks got as close as it is feasible nowadays to the Cobbold way of doing things and he remains a big fan at heart.

He still holds the chairman's tag, but it is superficial now that Evans is pulling the strings and running his newly- acquired business in the same stringent way he has organised his own successful other enterprises.

So there will be extra pressure on Magilton and his men to gain a place in the top flight - a place Evans made it plain he wanted to be as soon as effectively possible so that he can start gaining some return on his considerable investment.

Ipswich Town will hopefully maintain the community, friendly and humane image that has gained them so much respect - and brought them no little

success - within the game.

But they are now working within 21st century constraints - with time telling whether the “clearing up” of the £44million debt by selling out to Evans proves to be of long-term benefit or detriment.

And as I said earlier - I think it will by the end of next May.


Steady progress in his first two seasons from 14th to eighth.

Engineering a happy changing room, and one that has an obvious desire to succeed.

Stretching his knowledge of the game by taking UEFA Licence courses.

Maintaining the respect and adulation of the Town supporter base.

Gaining a good working relationship with the likes of Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson.

Building a good working base with owner Marcus Evans through his forceful and confident manner.

Having a love affair with Ipswich Town and all that the club stands for.


Yet to prove himself fully in the transfer market with Ian Miller, George O'Callaghan and perhaps Dan Harding and Gary Roberts signings that did not work.

A penchant for getting into trouble with match officials in the heat of the battle on match days.

A possible case of back room unrest with the departure over the last 14 months of five members of his back-up team. Time will tell whether a 'clearing of the decks' will freshen Town's hopes of promotion.

Like his predecessor Joe Royle an inability to get the best out of the likes of promising youngsters Dean Bowditch and Billy Clarke.


Overall more plusses than minuses, a recipe for a successful 2008/09 and some glory days at Portman Road come next May.