Sunday Verdict: New Ipswich Town manager has a lot to thank Bryan Klug for
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Agent Klug’s operation win back hearts and minds was a major success.
Four points from four games under Bryan’s temporary charge may sound like a meagre return, but this stint was always going to be judged on far more than results.
The most reluctant caretaker boss in the history of caretaker bosses said from day one that his primary goal was to restore a sense of togetherness and positivity at his beloved Blues. Well he’s certainly done that.
Now he can step back into his vital academy role and hand over the baton to someone else who will start with a whole load of goodwill.
Conceding a 96th-minute equaliser in yesterday’s 2-2 home draw with Middlesbrough did little to dent the newfound Portman Road positivity that has grown since the end of the long-running and ultimately mood damaging Mick McCarthy soap opera.
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Klug’s scorelines – previously a 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest, 4-0 home loss to Aston Villa and 4-0 win at Reading – don’t tell the story.
Firstly, he has restored some upbeat rhetoric. There’s been more talk of ‘we’ than ‘me’.
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Secondly, he’s encouraged the players to play with positivity and expression. He’s started the subtle rewiring process for players programmed to pragmatism.
It’s backfired at times, but it’s been far more entertaining to watch. And the fact Blues fans have lapped it up is proof they don’t want for much.
Klug put it best after a well-received end-of-season lap of appreciation followed the confirmation of a 12th-place Championship finish.
“Today is what the club’s all about – people getting behind the team,” said Klug. “You can see the team is not ready for certain challenges yet, but you can recognise the effort. I think that’s what the club should be about.
“I said that was how I was going to judge if we’d been successful. We’d have obviously liked to have more than four points out of 12, but going around the town and talking to people and seeing how the atmosphere is in the ground is good to see.
“It’s something to build on. I’ve spoken to the players about that.
“The spirit is always going to be there with this group. Adding some quality is the task for the new manager. I think there is something to work with.”
That’s the beauty of football. There’s always the summer reset button. And with change comes renewed hope.