Joe Royle says Mick McCarthy can handle criticism

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy looks at assistant manager Terry Connor. Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy looks at assistant manager Terry Connor. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy is experienced enough to deal with the flak that is coming his way at present.

That’s according to former Blues boss Joe Royle, someone who has a great deal of sympathy with the man self-admittedly going through his toughest moment in the Portman Road hotseat.

Having saved the club from relegation and overseen Championship finishes of ninth, sixth and seventh, McCarthy is facing increased criticism over team selection and tactics after a run of four games without scoring a goal left Town placed 16th in the table heading into this weekend’s international break.

Boos and chants of ‘what a load of rubbish’ greeted the final whistle of last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Huddersfield, while 74% of more than 2,500 people polled by this newspaper said they didn’t feel McCarthy could turn things around as he approaches his fourth anniversary at the club.

“Mick has been an international manager, he’s managed at Premier League level, he’s played at top-class level and he will be able to handle this situation fine. It’s not like he’s a rookie. He’s seen all this before,” said Royle.

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“Nobody likes to get stick off the fans and Mick won’t be enjoying it, but he won’t be worried by it either.”

Royle is now remembered fondly by many Blues fans for his ‘we’ll score more than you’ attacking approach, but he wasn’t always universally popular during his near four-year spell in charge.

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“When things didn’t go well for me the criticism was always ‘don’t they ever do defensive coaching?’,” he said. “People are happy, people aren’t happy – people want X, then they want Y. It goes around in circles. That’s the game we are in. It’s part of the job.

“We live in a world now dominated by social media, radio phone-ins, 24 hour rolling TV sports news and newspapers full of comment and letters.

“Unfortunately, there will always be more picking up a phone to complain or writing an e-mail saying what’s wrong, than those inclined to say positive things. You get that in any entertainment business – whether it’s football, music, the theatre, whatever.”

Royle added: “Mick has a few things working against him. He’s at a club whose fans remember Premier League football from the non-too-distant past, is working with a limited budget and has had some key injuries this year. We’re not exactly talking about someone who has spent £300million here are we?”

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