Royle: This award is for everyone

ALTHOUGH not totally comfortable with the principle of managerial awards, Blues boss Joe Royle picked up the Nationwide accolade for October and dedicated it to the players, staff and supporters, writes Derek Davis.

ALTHOUGH not totally comfortable with the principle of managerial awards, Blues boss Joe Royle picked up the Nationwide accolade for October and dedicated it to the players, staff and supporters, writes Derek Davis.

Former World Cup referee Jack Taylor was on hand to make the presentation at the Alex in Felixstowe, with Willie Donachie and Tony Mowbray also praised.

Royle recently admitted he felt the criteria for managers' awards was wrong and it should not be judged purely on having a string of wins in a month but rather what that particular boss had achieved in those particular circumstances.

October started with a scrappy 2-1 victory over Rotherham with two goals from Pablo Counago.


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A 1-0 win at Bradford City the following Saturday came from Alan Mahon's first goal for Town and added to Nicky Law's woes.

A weakened Burnley side were no match for an on-fire Blues who blitzed the Clarets with a brace from Counago, and one each from Jermaine Wright, Shefki Kuqi, Chris Bart-Williams and an own goal.

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Another single-goal victory over Stoke City, and the first clean sheet at home since last April, ensured Town moved into the top six when Matt Richards scored his first senior goal.

The following Tuesday came a rip-roaring 4-3 victory at Crystal Palace after being two down within 11 minutes. Richard Naylor came up from the defence to pull two goals back by half-time. They went ahead through their Spaniard Counago and just when Town looked to have won the points they conceded a silly penalty and with time almost gone it was all-square. But virtually from the restart Kuqi burst through with a terrific finish for all three points and saw Town climb to fifth place.

The 1-1 draw at Preston was anti-climatic but it was probably their best performance in all six October matches as another Counago penalty equalised and secured a very good point after David Healy had opened the scoring.

Town took 16 points from a possible 18 and surged up the table after losing at Sunderland on the last day of September.

Unfortunately the award jinx struck and so far this month Town have lost at home to Gillingham and drawn away at third-bottom Derby County.

It is the second time Royle has won the Nationwide Manager of the Month award since taking over at Ipswich. Last season he won the March prize.

Royle said: “As the manager the award comes to me but really it is for the whole team.

“It shows that we had a very good month and if we can have another couple of months with the same sort of results then we will be there or thereabouts in the final shake-up.

“Unfortunately we have not won since so in a way it would have been good to have played Nottingham Forest this weekend so we can get the momentum back.

“On the other hand it is no bad thing that we are not playing as it gives us a chance for some injuries to clear up and we will have the suspended players back for the following week at Sheffield United.”

Former World Cup referee Jack Taylor formally presented the award and also recognised the part which Willie Donachie and Tony Mowbray have played along with Royle.

He said: “The union between Joe and Ipswich Town is almost perfect. I have known Joe for a long time and I know Ipswich Town as a club and they are truly suited.

“Along with Willie and Tony, Joe has a great management team which has already shown - and especially during October, when they had a fabulous month. I have presented Joe with this award before and I am sure I will do so again.”

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