Mick McCarthy: This is happiest I’ve been as a manager

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town’s Mick McCarthy says this is the happiest has felt in his long and successful managerial career.

The Blues boss enjoyed his spells in charge of Millwall, Sunderland, Republic of Ireland and Wolves – the latter visiting Portman Road for a Championship clash this afternoon (3pm ko).

But the 56-year-old admits that, three years into his time in Suffolk, this is the most settled and content he has felt.

“I tend not to look back, my eyes are focused forward,” said McCarthy, when asked about his six years at Molineux, a club he led to the Championship title in 2009.

“I’ve got firm friends at Wolves still and a good affinity with the fans I think. The relationship of respect is mutual between myself and the club.

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“I loved my time at Sunderland, had three great years there, the Republic of Ireland was pretty good for me too.

“I’m always loath to say ‘this is the happiest I’ve been’ because I don’t want to be disingenuous to any of my former clubs.

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“But I’ve not been any happier than I am here or enjoying it more than I am here, even though I had a bit more success at Wolves and Sunderland and Ireland.

“I’m just saying that, in terms of being settled and happy and enjoying the job, that’s never been the case more than here.”

McCarthy’s words are timely given the managerial uncertainty currently at several of Ipswich Town’s divisional rivals.

Queen’s Park Rangers, Brentford and Fulham are all currently without a permanent boss, while this week Reading boss Steve Clarke was given permission to talk to Fulham about their vacancy only to turn it down and return to the Madjeski Stadium.

“I just wonder what reception I’d get if I went and spoke to somebody and then came back here?” said McCarthy, who was heavily linked with Fulham back in the summer.

“If you come back and win all your games then nobody is bothered, but if you start losing…

“I thought for all intents and purposes he (Steve Clarke) got it and that Nigel Pearson had got the Reading job.

“None of them have got a manager still though – Brentford haven’t, QPR haven’t and Fulham haven’t.”

Blackburn, Charlton, Huddersfield, Leeds and Rotherham have all changed manager since the start of the season too.

At Ipswich, by contrast, things are as stable and settled as you can get at a Championship club.

McCarthy is the 13th longest-serving boss among the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs and the fourth longest-serving in the second tier.

At many other clubs the owner and fans would have got twitchy following a recent run that included just one win in 10 matches, but at Portman Road that was never the case. McCarthy had more than enough credit in the bank following three solid years of progress.

“There’s never been any instability here,” said the Yorkshireman, whose side went into last weekend’s international break off the back of morale-boosting victories against Bolton (2-0 at home) and Rotherham (5-2 away).

“We had a difficult time when we weren’t winning games but we weren’t getting slapped around the place either.

“We had good performances to be honest, even when we weren’t winning. Now we’ve had two good results and it’s made the place a lot brighter.”

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