Jim insists: We are not a dirty team

THE card count might indicate a different story but Jim Magilton tells EADT football writer Derek Davis that Ipswich are not the bad boys they are made out to be.

By Derek Davis

THE card count might indicate a different story but Jim Magilton tells EADT football writer Derek Davis that Ipswich are not the bad boys they are made out to be. However, he does admit that footballers could learn a lesson from rugby in how to behave towards officials.

YOU could not have blamed Alan Lee if he had a little snigger at seeing manager Jim Magilton banished to the stands on Tuesday just a couple of days after being branded 'idiotic' by his boss.

Perhaps it is a case of 'don't do as I do, do as I say' from the fledgling manager but while Magilton may have trouble leading by example on the disciplinary front, he is full of good intentions.

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On Monday Magilton spoke about the behavioural problems the team were having and outlined how he thought it could be improved, not just at Ipswich Town, but also in football in general.

Magilton advocates the rugby way but acknowledges it is far more difficult to change the thought processes of the followers of two different sports.

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He also admitted, ironically given the events at Deepdale, that he was not the best person to talk about biting his lip when it came to officials.

With six players red-carded this season - although George O'Callaghan's was later rescinded - and a staggering 89 yellow cards, the fourth-highest tally in the Football League, this is the worst-behaved Blues side in the club's history.

But Magilton insists they are being unfairly tainted.

He said: “We are not by any stretch of the imagination a dirty team. We have reacted to certain situations and been punished badly for that. As coaches we need to ensure standards of discipline. I know we don't have a problem here but we need to look at how many cards we have had.

“We don't have a problem on the training ground when it comes to self-discipline and really referees should be more consistent.”

Magilton clearly does not like the attitude adopted by some referees. He sarcastically praised Steve Bennett's looks and demeanour when dismissing O'Callaghan and on Tuesday he was seething about Mark Clattenburg, who he described as a superstar who would get into his Porsche to drive home after signing a few autographs on his way out of the ground.

But when in a more considered mood, Magilton would like to see a change of attitude towards the men in black.

He said: “We need to adopt a completely new culture. It is ingrained in rugby players to respect the referee as the upholder of the rules of the game.

“I appreciate it is difficult because kids see how players behave and adopt so it spirals but really we need to look at teaching the children from an early age, at grass roots, to behave better.

“At the same time referees have to be taught and I'm sure many would like to be able to use common sense rather than the dictates that they have to abide by.”

Lee has served his one-match ban while Magilton is waiting to hear back from the FA as to what punishment he will receive. Dan Harding is the third Town player about to serve a two-match ban for reaching 10 bookings and he will miss the games with Plymouth and Barnsley.

He may also miss the trip to Luton on Saturday with a sore ankle.

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