Mick McCarthy regrets having to ‘fight fires’ with Ipswich Town fans

Mick McCarthy has endured a tough fifth season at Ipswich Town. Photo: Steve Waller

Mick McCarthy has endured a tough fifth season at Ipswich Town. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Mick McCarthy admitted he regrets having to “fight fires” with the Blues’ long-suffering supporters this season, insisting the 2016-17 campaign has been one of the toughest of his career.

McCarthy celebrates his 25th anniversary as a football manager today, having begun his career in the dugout at Millwall with a 1-0 home win over Port Vale, on March 21, 1992.

Since then he was managed Republic of Ireland in a World Cup, taking the team to the last 16 in 2002, and has won the second-tier title with Sunderland and Wolves.

His first two-and-a-half seasons at Town were a big success, but since the play-off defeat at the hands of Norwich in 2015, the Blues have regressed and McCarthy has bore the brunt of fans’ frustration, especially this season.

“I will have better seasons than this, whether that’s here or somewhere else,” said McCarthy.

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“You always want better seasons. I don’t want to be firefighting and putting out fires with fans and everything else.

“I want to be successful and I have probably had more of that than the other stuff. I don’t want to be getting to 58 and be putting fires out everywhere, I’d like to have a few more successful seasons.”

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The Blues head to Cardiff today, unbeaten in eight, but having drawn seven of those games, are 16th in the table and were seven points clear of the drop-zone, prior to Bristol City’s home game with Huddersfield last night.

Asked if this season has been one of his toughest as a boss, McCarthy said: This season? Yes it has.

“As a manager or coach you actually like to get the support of people and, pretty much, I have had that nailed-on for four years.

“The last six months has not been the case so much, from a section of the fans, and I get it as well. I’m not complaining about it, they want to come and watch better football and see better results.

“But I’ve had unwavering 100 per cent support from Marcus (Evans) to everyone at the club, who’ve been fabulous, and that means a lot.”

Part of that support network is assistant, Terry Connor.

“A good assistant wants to assist you and make the team better, and you better, but doesn’t want to be in your chair,” said McCarthy.

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