Full transcript: McCarthy speaks passionately about his future, Evans’ silence and fractured relationship with fans
PUBLISHED: 16:27 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:31 15 March 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ioswich Town boss Mick McCarthy spoke passionately about his uncertain future and fractured relationship with the fans during today’s pre-match press conference. Here is the full transcript and video.
Q: Was Tuesday night a difficult one for you to get over? Was that one that ate at you for a little while?
A: Well it wasn’t one of the most enjoyable experiences, but I played in the club golf day yesterday and had a great day thank you.
I’m looking forward to Bristol City.
Q: Do the players go out of their way to lift your spirits after a night like that?
A: I’ve spoken to them today just to make them all aware that we’ve all got to be professional and whatever is going on we’ve got to carry on doing the same things, whether that’s speaking to the media, speaking to the public. We continue doing the same. We don’t change.
Q: Did you get a call from Marcus Evans? Did he offer up his support?
A: I wouldn’t talk about that. My relationship with Marcus has always been good. Win, lose or draw I always get a call at some stage and he’s the very same person regardless of result or performance. He’s always exactly the same and that’s what I’ve always really admired about him. That’s very supportive that. He’s not up and down – he’s very consistent.
Q: I guess he’ll know all about Tuesday night, even if he wasn’t here?
A: I would think so. Marcus is probably one of the brightest fellows I’ve come across – he’s intelligent and knows what’s going on.
Yes, I think he’s fully aware.
Q: Will you speak to him over the international break?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Will that be the time to talk to him about your future?
A: No, I’m not planning to have a chat with him about anything actually. I’ve got nine games left now and I fully intend to try and get as many points as possible.
Q: Are you looking forward to the international break? You must feel you need it?
A: I don’t need it in relation to how I feel and needing to get away from people giving out stick to me. Not at all.
In fact, the more people give out stick to me the more belligerent I get – so, you know, be careful.
Q: What have you said to the players in the last couple of days?
A: Just about being the same people. I don’t think we played particularly well, but the situation we are in isn’t as bad as the reaction.
I do think the reaction is to me and not to them (the players). The atmosphere was a disgrace on Tuesday night. It will make it incredibly difficult to play if that continues over the remaining three games at home.
If that does continue it’s ridiculous because it does affect the players playing in that.
Come and support the team, support the players and if they all want to stand afterwards and boo me then fine.
I don’t know what they were trying to achieve. If it was to try and get me out then it’s not achieved anything because I’m not going to leave.
If it was to try and put pressure on Marcus to sack me, well I’m still here doing the press conference for Bristol City. And I’m certain I’ll still be doing the press conference for Middlesbrough at home (final game of the season).
Q: Was the worst thing Tristan Nydam getting stick? A minority getting on the back of a young, homegrown player?
A: I thought that was appalling and to those who did it, I think they are a disgrace. He’s a young kid and he’s a good player for the club.
I asked him how he was this morning and he said he didn’t hear it. I don’t know.
I don’t think they singled him out, but they should be giving him more encouragement.
It’s sad actually that he had to come into the team in those circumstances. It’s sad for Ben Morris that he made his (league) debut in that.
Q: It probably was only a minority doing that regards Tristan…
A: Over my five-and-a-half years here the vast majority have been very supportive. And lots of them continue to be that way.
But yeah, a 59-year-old fella who has been around the block a few times handling stick is one thing, but an 18-year-old kid is another – that could set him back a long way.
I hope people are feeling that was wrong to do that to him.
Q: Is it good for you to be away from home this weekend? You’re recent record on the road (five unbeaten) is good…
A: Oh yeah, I think our record (in general) has been very good recently. It’s been alright! It’s funny, I was watching the news last night and my ugly mug came on. I thought ‘I’ll turn that up and see what they are saying’, then afterwards it was ‘Norwich have had one shot and equalised…’ They’ve won one in seven and are three points beneath us. I don’t see any hue and cry about them or a shout for the manager out there.
Q: You didn’t feel that the atmosphere on Tuesday night reflected the current form and results – and that’s right – but you must realise that stems from a bigger picture. It’s about how long the club has been treading water in this division, years without a cup run, years without a win against the rivals – all that has gone into the melting pot. It’s not just a short-term reaction. Do you see that?
A: Yes, of course. Yeah, I understand that. Maybe they want change? Myself and the players can’t really affect all of that. We turn up and work hard in training and in games, trying to do our best.
Every year I’ve tried to get in the top six and have done it once. I’ve done my best and all the players have.
All the other stuff I can’t affect. That’s why I’m saying that it (the atmosphere in midweek) doesn’t reflect things.
Do you understand that I’m talking from my point of view, from the training ground, on behalf of me and the players. Not on behalf of how many managers there were before me and the fact they got relegated when they did and the crowds are going down.
We’ll continue to try and do our best for the club.
Q: You’ve said you are sick about answering questions about your future. We’re not particularly enjoying asking them week after week. This could have all been avoided, couldn’t it, if this situation had been cleared up a bit sooner?
You’ve talked about the emotional support Marcus gives you. Do you not feel the conversation with him (about your future) had started sooner?
A: Not really, no. You just all want to know. You all want that little snippet of information. I don’t know how many people would be glad to see the back of me after Tuesday night, or even before that. I’ve said before ‘be careful what you wish for’.
I think there will be a fair amount of people who give me support and want me to stay, but that’s not been resolved – and until it is... I’ll make sure you are the first to hear.
Q: You must want to know? Surely by resolving the situation earlier would have prevented an atmosphere like Tuesday night? People want to get their heads around what is to come.
A: I guess so. He could turn around and offer me a new five-year contract, say ‘I want you to stay here and continue what you’re doing on the budget that we’ve got’ and get the team playing however we play to get the results we get over and above what was probably expected.
I wonder what people would say if he said that?
Marcus has never been one to be speaking too often to you or anybody else. The more you clamour for it the less likely it’s going to come because he’s not going to be pressurised into it, as I’m not going to be pressurised into anything either.
Q: I just wonder if you feel it’s unfair that you are the one that has to constantly keep facing the questions. Would it have helped if Marcus had spoken a bit more?
A: I don’t do fair and unfair really, I just do my job. I don’t think you’ve heard me come in here and moan too much about anything have you?
I keep doing it. By asking me isn’t going to provoke Marcus to speak anyway. And I’m actually comfortable with it. I’m cool with it.
Q: So you can understand why he’s kept his powder dry in terms of speaking to you about your future?
A: We had this discussion before Christmas and I said at that time ‘you’re going to have to wait and see’.
What if I’d decided I wasn’t going to say, irrespective of what happens. There wouldn’t have been a change of manager then. My contract would have been seen out anyway.
And if I’d have turned around and said I wasn’t staying I wonder how that would have affected the whole piece?
I’m not going to compare myself to Sir Alex Ferguson, but at the time he told everybody (he was retiring) suddenly players looked like they’d downed tools and didn’t play anymore. The following season he stayed and they won the league.
That would have been remiss of me. That would have been very unprofessional if I had decided that.
And what happens if Marcus had come out and said ‘I am not keeping him’. How would I have felt about that and everybody else?
That might have been throwing their hats and knickers in the air and dancing on the tables – I haven’t got a clue. But I’d have still been here. I wouldn’t have gone.
It wouldn’t have been ‘I’m going to go then, if you’re not going to keep me I’m going to go, I’m going to walk out’. No way.
I said I had my 12 months at the end of last season and that I would see my job out. And that’s what I intend to do.
If Marcus wants to extend that then I will consider that, certainly. And I might consider it even more now with all the people trying to get me out just to really annoy them.
Q: It’s become a bit of a siege mentality now, a bit of a them and us situation with the group huddle on the pitch and what you’ve been saying about the fans. Is that a healthy situation for the football club?
A: Have I created that? I take it always that if you are inside this building you are inside peeing out. Whether you are top of the league or bottom of the league – that’s the way it is.
And if you are outside you are peeing in. That’s the way it is.
Nothing has changed with me, nothing at all. The only thing that has changed is probably the amount of aggro I am getting.
If that’s because we’ve been in the league for how many years, or the pitch is not great, or the stadium is not great, or people think my football is not great...
They thought it was brilliant when I got them out the dirt when they were bottom and cut adrift, they thought it was brilliant when we finished in the top six...
And I haven’t changed! The only people who have changed are the people who are watching. If they are getting bored of everything and I’m getting the flak for it well so be it because I am the figurehead and I’m quite happy to take it.
Q: It must make things easier when the fans are inclusive of that ‘them and us’ mentality. If was you and the fans fighting the world together, a case of ‘we’ve not got the best budget but we’ll bloody a few noses along the way’...
A: I think I give that message always. When I came to the club that was my message and nothing has ever changed. We haven’t got the best budget, I’ve got these players, I’ve got seven loan players and by the way we are going to go out and give absolutely everything and do the best we possibly can.
That was accepted then because it was seen as a success finishing 14th. It was accepted the following year because it’s ninth. It’s really accepted the following year, and I’m d**k s**t all of a sudden, when we finish sixth.
I haven’t changed. And I would love the fans to be onside. But how can I do that? I keep trying. We get two great away wins, we should have been Norwich…
I’m still doing my part of the bargain. I’m absolutely 100% doing my part of the bargain.
If I can get them to buy into the way I do it, well... You’re going to have to tolerate me for nine more games at least, unless Marcus offers me to stay.
Q: Do you really not care what fans think?
A; Of course I care what fans think. When I say I don’t care, I don’t go home and lose sleep. I don’t go home and cry myself to sleep.
I want to be with the fans, of course I do – wherever I am. It’s about the fans. They’ll be here when I’m long gone. They’ll be here when all the players have gone too.
I would love the fans to be back onside. I have loved my relationship with them. But wow, I think I’m pretty much getting the thin edge of the wedge at the minute.
Q: You’ve said before that you sense managers have a shelf life at clubs. Do you think it’s just a matter of reaching a natural end?
A; Maybe. But the natural end will be at the end of this season when my contract runs out. I wasn’t going to walk away from my contract last year. Why should I walk out of work and go looking for something else?
As I’ve said, I’ve completed my end of the bargain. I haven’t changed, by the way, since we won the first five games of the season and were scoring goals for fun.
I haven’t changed at all and I’m still completing my end of the bargain, which is my contract.
Q: Do you think there is an understanding of just how much more difficult it has become for this club to compete in the Championship?
A; I think there is an understanding that fans want their team to be winning and playing well and for it to be a happy atmosphere and to come and socialise and for it to be a nice environment on a Saturday and for us all to be in it together.
We had that for a long time, just not at the moment. I hope we get it back. That might be by me leaving, or it might not be.
It might be me leaving and you are top of the first division in a couple of years or something. That would be fabulous.
Q: You’ve said before that you wouldn’t want to be turning up and there only being so many thousand season ticket holders...
A: Do you know what, there is a lot of support for me. There is a lot of support for me and the team. It’s not all negative. I don’t think that’s the case.
Yes, I’d love to have everyone back onside because I really loved my first three-and-a-half, four years here – much more than this season.
That still doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep doing my job and be professional until the bitter end.
Q: Do you enjoy your job at the moment?
A: I love my job. I come in every day and enjoy it. When I walk out on a game day I enjoy that because I always think we’re going to get something. And when we do it’s brilliant. When we don’t I just have to suffer the consequences, which is what happened on Tuesday night.
Q: Have you had a rift like this with fans at any other stage in your career?
A: At the end of a contract, when it ends, I guess. I won the Championship with Sunderland and Wolves, but when it started to come to an end at those clubs I started to get a bit of grief.
I’ve never had an atmosphere like that on Tuesday night though. I’ve had more hostile atmospheres, but that was complete apathy. I don’t think there was any respect for the players actually.
Giving the manager stick is one thing. Doing it to the players is another altogether.
Q: Is that what hurt the most?
A: It’s not doing anybody any good. It’s not doing the players any good. It’s not doing the club any good. I’m now here talking about it and it goes national and worldwide.
Do you know what, perhaps I don’t want it to ruin my brand and what people think of me. I think that’s probably restricted to this area at the moment and Ipswich fans.
The players are trying their socks off for everybody. It might not always be great, but they are trying their best. All I’ll ask is for people to give them their support.
If they want to give me grief and boo me at the end... cool.