Stu says: Five observations following Mick McCarthy’s dramatic exit announcement
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Mick McCarthy dramatically announced he was walking away from Ipswich Town following tonight’s 1-0 home win against Barnsley. STUART WATSON reports.
Mick’s final game
The night ended with Mick McCarthy dramatically revealing his departure from the club with four games of the season to go.
This was a predetermined move – both the timing and the nature.
It’s understood the club were simply waiting for the play-offs to be mathematically out of reach before making the announcement for contractual reasons. McCarthy was keen to leave with a bang.
The Yorkshireman calmly spoke for three minutes about the game in his post-match press conference, then called the fans a ‘disgrace’ for booing a substitution (more on that later) and then declared: ‘But I won’t have to listen to it again because that’s my last game, I’m out of here’.
With that he banged his hands on the desk and, literally, exited stage left. How sad it ended this way.
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It was a good performance for his five-and-a-half year rein to end on. Just like in the entertaining 2-2 home draw with Millwall on Easter Monday, and unlike in Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Brentford, Town played with the hand brake off.
Yes, they rode their luck at times in the first half, but they got their noses in front through Jonas Knudsen’s fine glancing header at a corner in the 54th minute and then could have put the game to bed after that.
The crowd – officially numbering 13,271 (but clearly lower as all season ticket holders are automatically counted) – will have gone away feeling they got value for money. That’s something that has been an exception to the rule in recent times.
Towering striker Kieffer Moore, back at his former club, headed against the underside of the crossbar from a corner in the fifth minute.
Bartosz Bialkowski showed good reactions to prevent Adam Hammill’s dangerous deep cross creeping into the bottom corner, Brad Potts lashed into the side-netting and Lloyd Isgrove had a good finish ruled out for a marginal offside call.
The relegation-battling Tykes, playing with offensive personnel, were giving it a real good go.
Town were playing with freedom though and strung some flowing moves together. The closest they came was when Bersant Celina smashed a shot over at the end of a lovely move that started with a lovely Mustapha Carayol flick and Martyn Waghorn pass.
Knudsen first goal of the season was a beauty. He was well beyond the near post when he glanced home a header on the run following Carayol’s corner delivery.
Town could and should have put the game to bed after that. Substitute Grant Ward was a threat with his direct-running. Celina had a close-range shot saved after steadying himself in the box and Martyn Waghorn fired over at the end of another good move.
Take your pick of wizard puns after Barry Cotter’s superb debut.
When he was signed from Irish side Limerick for around £50k in January everyone spoke about how he once bore a striking resemblance to Brazilian superstar Neymar (it was all down to the haircut).
Never mind Neymar, he looked more like Cafu bombing up and down the right.
Okay, maybe we’re getting a bit carried away, but the 19-year-old couldn’t have dreamed for a better start to life in English football.
Playing as wing-back he produced a bit of everything in the first half. There were magnificent touches out of the sky, glorious switch passes, driving runs and some silky skills to boot.
This, for context, is a teenager whose previous senior experience was limited to 11 appearances in the League of Ireland.
That was why there was so much controversy when he was substituted in the 56th minute. McCarthy claimed afterwards that the youngster was knackered. A section of supporters booed the decision and chanted ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’.
It will be announced today who will take charge for these final four games – Nottingham Forest (a) on Saturday, followed by Aston Villa (h), Reading (a) and Middlesbrough (h).
Some sort of combination out of academy staff Geraint Williams, Bryan Klug, Gerard Nash, Alan Lee and Kieron Dyer is likely.
After ending a six-game winless run, Town are back up to 12th and back above rivals Norwich City (who drew 1-1 at Sunderland).