'It's vital he does a good PR job with the fans' – Paul Hurst set to be officially unveiled as Ipswich Town manager today
PUBLISHED: 09:21 12 June 2018
‘Anything is possible’ if new Ipswich Town boss Paul Hurst can reunite and reinvigorate the fanbase, says club legend Russell Osman.
A mixture of anger and apathy has gripped Blues supporters in recent times, with attendances at Portman Road dipping to near 20-year lows towards the sadly sour and divisive end to Mick McCarthy’s six-year reign.
However, there is a much-needed sense of new hope heading into a 17th successive season in the Championship thanks to the appointment of up-and-coming manager Paul Hurst.
Hurst – who guided Shrewsbury Town to an unlikely third place finish and run to the League One Play-Off Final last season – will be officially unveiled this morning and inherits a squad full of emerging talent and key men returning from injuries.
“The exciting thing is the potential,” says Osman. “I think back to Sir Bobby (Robson) when he first arrived here – he wasn’t an established name.
“Everyone has to start somewhere and you only get experience by being given an opportunity. Paul’s been given that opportunity, at a great club, and it’s up to him to take it now.
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“I just hope he has a good rapport with the supporters because they need someone they can relate to. It’s vital he does a good PR job with the fans off the field and gives them the type of football they want to see on it. They pay their money and just want to be entertained.
“Some major bridges need to be rebuilt with them, but if he can reunite everyone and restore some feelgood factor to Portman Road then anything is possible.”
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Osman, who will be providing live punditry of England’s World Cup group games at Greshams Sports and Social Club over the coming weeks, added: “Paul Hurst has got to buy into the traditions of the club and give young players a proper chance. Not just one or two games here and there, but really trust in them.
“(Owner) Marcus Evans has said there will be a greater continuity of style between academy and first team going forwards and that’s great to hear because it’s been crying out for that for the last six years. It’s so important the two become more in sync.”
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Hurst, who has only just returned from a family holiday in Dubai, will spend the rest of this week completing a League Managers’ Association summer course in London before formally starting his new job next Monday.