Royle's delight at 2007 deal

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle has spoken of his delight at signing his new contract that keeps him at Portman Road until 2007.Royle, who has signed along with assistant manager Willie Donachie, said: “We are both very happy here and now we are looking forward to finishing the job we came to do.

By Dave Vincent

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle has spoken of his delight at signing his new contract that keeps him at Portman Road until 2007.

Royle, who has signed along with assistant manager Willie Donachie, said: “We are both very happy here and now we are looking forward to finishing the job we came to do.

“We were always going to sign, but the chairman has been away a lot recently and we just had to sort out a few formalities.”


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Both men have agreed two-year extensions to their current deals, which were due to expire next summer.

The pair first met on Christmas Eve 30 years ago, when Royle was transferred from Everton to Manchester City, where Donachie had been since leaving school in his native Glasgow.

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“I haven't been able to get rid of him since then,” laughed Royle, referring to their long-standing friendship and working relationship.

“But seriously, Willie is one of the best coaches in the business and I always said that when I went into management I would want Willie by my side.

“He joined me at Oldham about 12 months after I went there, because he was still playing at the time, and we've been together virtually ever since.

“Willie was with me at Everton and Manchester City, too, and now Ipswich. And when I had a break from management he coached at both the Sheffield clubs.

“We talk constantly about the team and what we are going to do, and while our views seldom differ he's certainly no 'yes' man.

“With first-team coach Steve McCall and goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes we have a full hand and everybody at this club is committed to going forward.

“Steve is the ultimate club man and a very good coach, while Andy has settled in so quickly since joining us in the summer that you'd think he had been here five years.”

Securing his management team to long-term deals is a huge boost to chairman David Sheepshanks and his fellow directors, their decision to appoint Royle in succession to George Burley having paid huge dividends.

When he arrived in October 2002, the new man's brief was to regain Premiership status for the club.

After a near-miss last season, when Town went down to West Ham in the play-offs, they are bang on course to succeed this term.

Royle, referring to the cash crisis that forced Ipswich into administration within four months of his appointment, added: “We weren't to know when we came here that the job would change as much as it did.

“But after falling down a massive snake we are all - every single person at the club - climbing ladders again.

“It has taken less time than people might have thought, and the team has changed a lot, but we are at a stage now where the entire club is moving forward.

“We have been able to go out and buy a player and, while we're still not flush, we are financially solid again.”

Royle has no injury problems as he prepares for the home clash with Championship leaders Wigan on Tuesday, a game midfielder Kevin Horlock will miss as he serves a one-game ban for collecting five yellow cards.

It is likely that new signing Darren Currie, who made an impressive debut as a substitute in Saturday's 4-2 win at QPR, will start against the Latics.

Currie, a £250,000 recruit from Brighton, came off the bench to score and earn himself a place in the history books as Ipswich's 250th goalscorer since the club turned professional in 1936.

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