New boss Jim socks it to Town
JIM Magilton is the new manager of Ipswich after chairman David Sheepshanks admitted: “He blew our socks off!”The two men sat alongside each other at yesterday's press conference to unveil only Town's 12th manager in 70 years as a professional club.
By Mel Henderson
JIM Magilton is the new manager of Ipswich after chairman David Sheepshanks admitted: “He blew our socks off!”
The two men sat alongside each other at yesterday's press conference to unveil only Town's 12th manager in 70 years as a professional club.
News of Magilton's appointment became one of football's worst-kept secrets after the 37-year-old former captain went from rank outsider to red-hot favourite in a matter of days, so impressively did he present his case.
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Sheepshanks said the decision to appoint the ex-Northern Ireland international midfielder had been taken after an exhaustive process during which many fine candidates had been interviewed.
He was quick to add: “Jim's outstanding leadership qualities, passion for both the club and the job, and his will to be a winner have shone through from the very beginning.
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“He has outlined a clear strategy and plan of approach that has won the unanimous support of the board in making this appointment.”
On Magilton's right sat Bryan Klug, the Academy manager who will work alongside him as first-team coach while yet another ex-Ipswich player, Tony Humes, replaces Klug to spearhead the youth set-up.
But there are also casualties of the backroom reshuffle brought about by last month's shock exit of previous manager Joe Royle.
His former assistant, Willie Donachie, has left the club and chief scout Colin Suggett has also parted company with Town, while reserve coach Steve McCall and goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes retain their current positions.
Magilton has already identified the man he wants to replace Suggett and an announcement is expected in the next week or so.
In the meantime, he and Klug have less than three weeks before the Ipswich squad return for pre-season training after finishing 15th in the Championship - the club's worst end-of-season finish in 40 years - last time out.
Magilton thanked Sheepshanks and his boardroom colleagues for the “wonderful opportunity” and admitted to being instantly attracted to the role as Royle's replacement.
His initial reaction, that he would not be applying, was clearly a smokescreen as he actually wasted little time in registering his interest.
With Klug as his 'running mate' the pair impressed immediately, although as recently as Friday the board interviewed his former international team-mate, Lawrie Sanchez, who is now the Irish boss, for the job.
Sheepshanks added: “There will be those who see this as a gamble, however, this is the case with the selection of any manager from outside.
“We see it as a bold and progressive move, representing both continuity and change. Both men know the strengths and weaknesses of our playing staff with Bryan Klug having coached over half of the first team squad at Academy level and equally both have a clear vision as to how they will restore our first-team fortunes and lead the club back to the Premiership.
“Cut these two men in half and they bleed blue and white like us all who support and love this club. They will need time and our patience but we are confident that their arrival will herald a bright new era for the club.”