McCarthy on ‘mindboggling’ wage demands, managing for the future and being ‘cool’ with Evans
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town travel to Sunderland on Saturday after an eventful end to the January transfer window. Here’s what Mick McCarthy had to say at this lunchtime’s press conference.
Q: With the team eight points off the play-off places, did Marcus Evans consider taking more of a gamble in the transfer window?
A: Well we were looking, but you’ve seen the state of the transfer window. I have to say that some of the wages we were quoted for people was just mindboggling.
“Let’s just cut to the case – we’re not going to pay it.
“People say ‘why doesn’t he (Evans) just have a go?’ Well actually, no, because it would compromise everything else that we’ve ever done, everyone else in the dressing room.
“And I’m not convinced it would make that much of a difference.”
Q: Does Marcus Evans share your ambition for this club going forwards?
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A: “Yeah, he does. But how do you judge ambition? Is it that everybody has to throw shed loads of money at it? Does he have to spend beyond what he can or wants to do? Or is it ambitious to keep trying to build and get better? He’s very thorough with the academy and the scouting.
“We haven’t thrown shed loads of money at it and we aren’t going to start throwing shed loads of money at it, but he still wants to be a success and we’ll keep trying to be a success with the model that we’ve got.”
Q: You obviously been talking to Marcus about transfers. Has he asked you about your future? He must want to know in order to put plans in place if you do walk away in the summer.
“No, he doesn’t, because he knows while I’m here...
“I signed Barry Cotter yesterday who I think will be a good player for the club (in the future). I’m sending Flynn Downes out to Luton so that he will be a good player for this club next season. I’ve signed Aaron Drinan because I think he’s going to be a good player for next season and beyond.
“He knows he can trust me to keep doing the job, whatever I decide to do, or what he decides to do for that matter.
“Listen, I might get offered something and say ‘no, I don’t want to do it’. But he might not offer me anything.
“Equally I’m not nipping at his ear saying ‘I want to talk about my future’ and he’s not saying ‘you better come in, I want to do something’.
“I left it like that when I spoke to him before Christmas and I’m cool.”
Q: So you manage as if you’re going to be here next season until a decision is made?
A: “Absolutely. When I took my first job at Millwall they brought me a big pile of paperwork, I did the pre-season, I was looking at signing players and I worked as if I was going to be there (long-term) when I didn’t have a clue if I would be!
“I could have got 10 games, anything could have happened, but of course I did stay.
“I’ll continue to work and plan for the future here until my future is determined, whether that’s Marcus who determines it or whether I determine it.
“It could be either way at the moment.”
Q: You mentioned ‘mindboggling’ wages earlier, how much harder is it becoming to compete?
A: “I think it’s changed. This league’s got better since I took the Sunderland job in 2003 and equally since I took the Wolves job in 2006.
“There’s better teams, better players, maybe there are better managers with different ideas and different ways of playing.
“In the past there were maybe more players around that I could get – the Gary Breens, Dean Whiteheads, Liam Lawrences. I don’t know if those sort of players are still around, the ones that are up-and-coming that you can go and nick and galvanise a team.
“At Wolves it was Matt Jarvis, (Michael) Kightly. I don’t know if they are still there, that type of player.”
Q: Just how inflated has this transfer market become in the last year or two?
A: “It’s beyond what we will pay for some players, there’s no doubt. And I get that. There has to be a scale.
“There are a lot of teams with the parachute payments. Sunderland, for example, get £42m, £36m and then £18m. That’s 90-plus million pounds over the next three years – wow!
“What have I spent over the last three years? Three million is it? What have I brought in - £14m? We’re comparing apples and pears.
“And I’ve always said I’ve got no problem with that, at all. Working at the level I do, we do it very, very well.
“I’m not going to give you any figures (on wages asked for yesterday), but even I was going ‘no, really?!’
“People in the Championship are asking for the sort of money we were paying at Wolves in the Premier League not that long ago.
“You know, 20s, 30s (thousand a week). I’m saying ‘can we have three players for that money!’
“It’s just not happening and that’s alright, I get that.
“What we get from my lads, and what they give me, is brilliant and I love them for it.
“I say to them ‘play well, get your move and you go and get 20, 30-something grand a week if it can happen’.
“Good luck to them because they give everything to me.”
Q: You said earlier that you’re not convinced spending a bit extra would make that much of a difference. Could five, 10 million pounds extra make a difference or would it still be a drop in the ocean?
A: “It can have a really significant affect if the right players are brought in. I go back to my time at Wolves when we’d finished in the play-offs, then just missed out, and the following year we bought Christophe Berra and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Fair play to Steve Morgan for backing me.
“Sylvan scored something like 45 goals in 18 months and Christophe was just a rock at the back. We were a better team for what was, at that time, a significant investment on our part which we hadn’t been doing.
“I guess, at the right time, it still can be done.”
Q: I remember Paul Jewell saying after he left here that he regrets not pushing Marcus a bit more to do the next level of deals. Is that something you think about?
A: “I bet he did, just as I’ve asked. But if it’s not there then you don’t stamp your feet and pull your hair out and throw your toys out the pram. You get on with it and make the best of what you’ve got.
“Marcus is not doing it to spite me or anybody else, it’s because that’s what he wants to do with the club. It’s his club and good luck to him. That’s fine, and I adhere to that and do the best I can.”
Q: You said earlier that your successes in the past were based on nicking players and galvanising teams. Can that still be done in this modern era? That is at the heart of Marcus’ five-point plan.
A: “We’re still doing that aren’t we?”
Q: Yes, but is there a glass ceiling to how far that can take you though? You won leagues with that approach before. Can you win leagues, get promoted, even finish in the play-offs on that approach now?
A: “I keep hoping we can. We’ll keep going for that and striving for that.
“It might be, as I’ve just said, that, at the right time, if there’s somebody you think is going to make you better and you can afford it...
“If, come Christmas, you are in the top eight and you can get somebody who can get you in the top six, that is the time. If you can do that and it makes a real difference then that would be a really good investment.
“But if you’re mid-table and you don’t think you are going anywhere...
“You have to be conscious of not upsetting the applecart with wages. You don’t want three or four players in here that are suddenly earning significantly more than all the soldiers and warriors who have been scrapping and fighting and playing for me over four or five years.
“If they see somebody else swan in here on twice as much it tends to have a big affect.”