John Duncan knew when his time was up as Ipswich Town manager – and he doesn’t sense that is the case for current boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

John Duncan knew when his time was up as Ipswich Town manager – and he doesn’t sense that is the case for current boss Mick McCarthy.

JOHN DUNCAN
GREENUN 25 10 03
ES 5 01 04

JOHN DUNCAN GREENUN 25 10 03 ES 5 01 04

The Scotsman, now aged 67, had three seasons in charge of the Blues between 1987 and 1990, overseeing second-tier finishes of eighth, eighth and ninth before becoming the first-ever manager to be sacked by Town.

There are plenty of similarities between then and now as McCarthy reaches his four-year anniversary in the Portman Road hot-seat today.

Town have finished ninth, sixth and seventh in the Championship table under the Yorkshireman who, like Duncan, is beginning to face increased criticism over tactics, style of play and a sense of stagnation.

“Towards the end that got levelled at me I suppose, but in the first part there was no problem,” recalls Duncan, who managed Chesterfield either side of his time in Suffolk.


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“I’m quite happy to admit I didn’t do well enough at the end.

“The aim was to get in the play-offs and push into the Premier League. I wanted to do that, I hoped to do that, but unfortunately I didn’t manage to do that.

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“There are one or two things I look back on and think ‘I should have done this or that’, but generally I did everything I could over those three seasons.

“As a manager you always feel under pressure, whether it’s your first game or whether you are three or four years into the job. I had a huge unbeaten run, we did well against Norwich a couple of times, the home record was good and everyone was behind us for a while.

“But in the end I just didn’t quite deliver and I accepted that.”

Does Duncan feel like McCarthy is close to that tipping point, Town occupying 16th place in the table after 15 games?

“No – I think Mick is a top, top manager, no doubt about it. You only have to look at what he has done over the years at former clubs and what he has done at Ipswich,” he said.

“You can’t underestimate that experience. Over the years his assessment and judgement of certain situations will have improved. He’s proven time and again that he makes more right decisions than most.”

Duncan, who now works for the League Managers’ Association, added: “It’s disappointing to see so many managers sacked so quickly. I think it’s refreshing when a club like Ipswich sticks by their managers for as long as possible – they always have.”

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