New Ipswich coach Gill on his Norwich past, playing under Lambert and Town’s young stars
- Credit: Archant
ANDY WARREN spoke to new Ipswich Town first-team coach Matt Gill about his time at Norwich and his start to life under Paul Lambert at Portman Road.
It’s been a couple of weeks now so how are you finding life at Ipswich Town?
MG: It’s been really good but such a busy time with lots going on.
This has been new for all of the staff but it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable time with two pleasing performances, which help. Now we have a chance to build on that and get some work in during the international break.
How did this move come about for you?
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MG: It all happened very quickly but I’ve known the gaffer a long time and we’ve kept in touch since he released me from Norwich.
I’ve been able to go into all of his other clubs and watch him and his staff at work before then going into coaching myself at my last club, Tranmere. The gaffer actually loaned us Janoi Donacien (from Aston Villa) so it really is a small world.
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When I was at the academy in Norwich I continued to get his advice and spoke to him regularly, so when he called me it was a great phone call to take.
I jumped at the chance to work with him here.
Did the prospect of moving between Norwich and Ipswich daunt you at all? You were born in Norwich, weren’t you?
MG: Yes, I was but I played for a lot of different clubs during my career.
The opportunity to work with the manager here was massive and one I couldn’t turn down. It’s a great opportunity.
I spoke to my family and close friends and it was pretty overwhelming and something I was so excited about and desperate to join up with him as quickly as possible.
I’d like to think all of the clubs I played for (Peterborough, Notts County, Exeter, Norwich, Walsall, Bristol Rovers and Tranmere) would feel I gave my all. Sometimes I didn’t perform great as a player but I always gave everything.
It’s the same with coaching.
Your job title is first team coach, so what does that involve?
MG: I’m here to support the gaffer and the rest of his staff.
It’s quite a young squad so it gives me the chance to bring over a lot of the things I’ve worked with the younger players at Norwich on, but ultimately I’m here to support the manager as much as I possibly can.
What are you memories of playing under the manager at Norwich?
MG: Yeah, I was a player at Norwich when he first came in and we were in a tough position then but he had a real knack of galvanising everyone very quickly and bringing groups of people together.
I didn’t play a big part in the two years I was there at all but he made me feel a part of it. He did that with everyone and that’s a real strength of his because he makes you feel part of it whether you’re the chef, the cleaner or working on reception.
He’s brilliant with people and a vastly experienced manager who has worked at some big clubs and has travelled around to see how other people work.
I’m sure he’s a better manager now than he was at Norwich because he can’t not be, given the experiences he’s had.
What have you made of the young talent at the club?
MG: The club’s been renowned for bringing through young players and I’ve been really impressed. They’re all desperate to progress and learn, which is all you can ask.
There’s so much talent, shown by the lads with England U20s this week and we’ll go over and see them at Colchester.
From the oldest player to the youngest player, we’re here to help improve them all and hopefully the team as a result.
You’ve come into a situation with Ipswich bottom of the table. Is that a situation the young players can handle?
MG: The players couldn’t wish for a better manager at this point. He’s always said that if young players are good enough then they will play.
He was lucky enough that when he was younger he had a manager who was prepared to through him in, I was the same under Barry Fry at Peterborough, and as young lads you just want that opportunity. Then it’s down to them to take that opportunity,
The young lads will get a chance at this club if they are doing the right things and the pathway will be clear for them.
We’ve given them a freedom in the way they played and we’re not too worried about mistakes, as long as we’re doing what the gaffer wants.
How much did you enjoy meeting George Burley, John Wark and Terry Butcher recently?
MG: It was an outstanding day really. They are club legends so to pick their brains and hear their stories was amazing. It was only a few hours but it could have been all day if they had the time.
I played under Russell Osman at Exeter so have exchanged a load of messages with him. He’s out working in India at the moment but he’s going to come in as soon as he’s back.
Marcus Stewart sent me a few texts, we played at Exeter together as well. He’s busy at Bristol Rovers but Russell will be coming in.
The club has such an amazing history so why wouldn’t you use that as fuel?
You must have felt a sense of togetherness that has grown during your short time here?
MG: The fans for the first game against Preston were brilliant.
We really are going to need everyone pulling in the same direction if we’re going to get out of the situation we’re in.
The training ground staff, the players, the Portman Road staff, the fans and everyone associated with the town need to be pulling in the same direction.