‘The only ones exempt from criticism are the fans’ – Kieron Dyer on Town’s slide, Warnock rumours and owner Evans
PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 March 2020
Ipswich Town homegrown hero Kieron Dyer was a guest on BBC Suffolk’s Life’s a Pitch show prior to Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Coventry. Here’s what the former England international had to say about Neil Warnock links, the Blues’ slide down the League One table and owner Marcus Evans.
ON REPORTS THAT NEIL WARNOCK HAS BEEN LINED UP AS PAUL LAMBERT'S REPLACEMENT (AND THAT HE COULD BE PART OF HIS FORMER QPR BOSS' COACHING STAFF)
*Laughs* No comment! I do speak to Neil quite a bit. I think he's gone on record at talkSPORT and said he'd be interested in the job. I won't go into detail about our conversations.
But I just can't see how it's feasible. I think it would be very expensive to sack the manager, sack all his staff and then bring in Neil Warnock who I think, even though I love the guy, I think he'd be a short-term fix. I know the club are looking at a long-term plan, so I don't see how it would be feasible. I don't know what Marcus (Evans) is thinking though.
Look at Sir Bobby (who managed Newcastle up to the age of 71) and Roy Hodgson (who is managing Crystal Palace at the age of 72) - people like that only know football. They all say they are going to quit, then after six months they get the itchy feet. That's why Neil is throwing his name back in on the radio for certain jobs.
I think those type of managers go on and go on. He is in his 70s though (71) and can't go on for too long. What Ipswich need is a long-term plan.
He'd be good at teaching me defensive shape and set-pieces. We have different thoughts on style of play, but his track record speaks for itself. He's up there in terms of managers who get teams promoted.
He gets compared to Mick McCarthy quite a bit, but there is a difference. Yes, they both get their teams very organised, but with Mick if the star player didn't graft to his standards then they're on the bench. Warnock is the complete opposite. Take (Adel) Taraabt for example, he has a free role. It's 'give the ball to Taraabt, all you other nine run for Taraabt and he'll win us the game'. He tries to gear his team to a star player or a luxury player.
His biggest asset is his man-management style. He makes everyone feel amazing, makes them want to run through brick walls and that shows when his teams play.
ON WHAT'S GONE WRONG FOR IPSWICH THIS SEASON
*Exhales* Where do we start?
If I was to ask every fan here today 'who is the player of the season?' they are going to mention the two kids - Woolfy (Luke Woolfenden) or Flynn (Downes).
Yes, they are good players, but it's now, at this stage of the season, that your experienced players have to step up to the plate.
I'm looking at Jon Nolan and Alan Judge (against Fleetwood) and I can't see them on the pitch. When it really counts our really experienced players are disappearing. They have to step up to the plate now.
It pains me to say it because I go to the training ground quite a bit and I have to see them, but you can't beat around the bush.
You can't rely on Woolfy and Flynn, or an Andre (Dozzell), or if a Myles (Kenlock) came in or a Dobs (Armando Dobra) came in.
Dobs comes on against Blackpool and he's our only bright spark. Our experienced players have to step up to the plate. They have to step up to the plate.
Listen, I was one of these people who took a bad performance home with me. I've got a family and they couldn't get two words out of me. I was stroppy. These players will be the same. It won't just be affecting their footballing life, but also their home lives.
Everyone is putting a shift in, everybody is trying their hardest, I just think it's a confidence thing and that they're playing with fear.
ON ATMOSPHERE AT PORTMAN ROAD
People are saying it's a toxic atmosphere, well this place has never been toxic. You should play St James' Park when that turns. That's toxic.
Listen, our fans are the most... How can I put it? They have put up with a lot. If people think that's toxic... That's not toxic. It's just people venting.
The senior players cannot hide because of that. You have to show character. In the second half against Fleetwood, as a professional, I thought it was quite embarrassing when (Tomas) Holy kept kicking the ball and the fans would go 'whey' in anticipation of the centre-half heading it away. That's where Chambo (Luke Chambers) or the other centre-half should think 'right, we're going to go and get the ball off the keeper, we're going to be brave, because this is embarrassing for our own personal pride'. That's when you need characters.
ON TOWN PLAYERS BEING UNDER 'PRESSURE'
I've played... and I don't want to sound like Lambert here!... but I've played for my country and stuff like that. The time we played Andorra, the abuse we got was unbelievable. But it was England playing against Andorra and we were struggling, so the fans have got every right to voice their displeasure.
I've talked in my book about one of the big reasons why I didn't perform as good as I could for England was because of the fear factor. I didn't want to make a mistake. But that's on me, that's not on the fans, that's on me. I have to find a way of overcoming my fears.
There are a lot of people who should get blamed for our current predicament, whether it be players, manager, all the staff, even academy staff, but the only ones who should be exempt from any criticism are the fans.
Now, because of that 'toxic' environment on Tuesday (Fleetwood game), it's like 'oh, the fans aren't doing their job'. I'm like, how can the fans be brought into this as if they're a part of the problem?!
ON WHETHER IT'S TIME OWNER MARCUS EVANS SOLD THE CLUB
Not owning the ground (Ipswich Borouigh Council do) is a stumbling block for a lot of people who potentially want to buy it. Also, just being in this division. Marcus isn't going to get the money he wants for the club while we're in League One.
I know everyone vents at Marcus. We know he hasn't invested in the team, not just this season but for a few now. You can look back at when Mick (McCarthy) had that play-off push.
The manager has said it in his press conferences - when you put £90m into a football club and got very little back it must come to a stage where you say enough is enough.
ON EVANS NOT SPEAKING OUT MORE
You're saying 'we need to hear from Marcus'. But how many owners around the country do you actually hear from?
My thing with the owner is that, when is he is heard, you can't have the club doing it with questions that he's probably read before hand.
If he was to have a press conference like the gaffer has, and people could all ask questions of him, then I think the fans would have a clearer understanding.
The problem is not him not doing interviews every week, it's that when he does they are pre-planned.
ON WHAT TOWN'S TRANSFER POLICY SHOULD BE
We need a structure in place where we protect our assets, our academy kids. Look at Andre Dozzell, for example. He was £4/5m player last summer when Norwich were going to bid. How much would we get for Andre Dozzell now?
The way we should be going, we should go to Marcus and say 'Flynn, Woolfy, Dozza, we sell them, you get £15m for the three of them, you have £12m and give us £3m back (to spend)'.
We've got Iddy (Idris El Mizouni), we've got Dobs (Armando Dobra), we've got Tommy Hughes, we've got Tyreece (Simpson) coming through. Invest a little bit in experience and get some proper loan players in because I'm fed up of loan players coming in who I don't think really benefit our team.
If you get a Ryan Fraser or a Tom Lawrence, who were outstanding loan players, then the young players look at them and see the standard they have to get to. That benefits everyone. But when you get some loan players who are stopping like, for example, Corrie Ndaba from being in the first team squad then you're hurting one of your own assets.
ON LAMBERT'S SQUAD ROTATION This rotation policy is always brought up, but when he was rotating players we were top of the league by a country mile. More recently he's stuck with the tried and trusted and we haven't got results, so I don't think it had anything to do with the rotation.
Earlier in the season, when we were top of the league, I don't think we were playing that great. It was just down to individuals and us having more talented players. It wasn't down to great team performances. Now, all of a sudden, our performances, which are the same as earlier in the season, are not getting results.
Listen, as a player I want to play every game, I don't want to be rested, but I don't think the rotation can be used as an excuse for where we are now.
ON LEE O'NEILL'S LATEST INTERVIEW
I was in the directors' box, just in front of the owner's box, and after the game he was a broken man. He is an Ipswich Town fan and he feels lit just like us. He is the spokesmen in bad times, he's new to this role, has got a lot of responsibility and is learning on the job. I do feel his pain. I thought he talked a lot of sense.
ON THE NORWICH MODEL
Norwich were fantastic against Tottenham the other night. You can talk about our owner not spending money, but Norwich are probably the lowest spenders in the Premier League, they play one of the most entertaining style of football, they give their youngsters a chance and they sell their youngsters at proper prices.
I know for a fact they didn't break their wage structure in any way, so even if they go back to the Championship they'll be in a good position. They'll probably sell (Todd) Cantwell, (Jamal) Lewis and (Max) Aarons and get a hell of a lot of money.
(Stuart) Webber (Norwich's sporting director) is a very astute man. They'll probably get in someone for peanuts from Germany because their recruitment is fantastic and they'll come back the following season.
Listen, it pains me to say it, but the way they run that football club at the moment is fantastic.