The Verdict: ‘Mexit’ looks inevitable now – and no-one knows quite how that’s going to pan out
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No amount of counselling can get this increasingly fractured long-term relationship with Mick McCarthy and Ipswich Town back on track now.
The television cameras documented him carrying out an aggressive double fist-pump with clear ‘up yours’ connotations, accompanied by the words ‘f*** off’, in the direction of the 2,000 or so travelling fans after Luke Chambers gave the Blues an 89th minute lead at Norwich City yesterday.
Moments later, in the fifth and final minute of stoppage-time, Timm Klose snatched an equaliser to ensure Town’s nine years of hurt in the East Anglian derby would go on.
McCarthy insists his actions were aimed at no-one and that it was just the emotion of the moment There was motive though. Audible boos had greeted a perceived negative substitution. Then the toxic chants of ‘Mick McCarthy, your football is s**t’, which have had intermittent outings over the course of 12 months now, were given an airing.
Nevertheless, no matter how rude the customer, no matter how much you think they are in the wrong, you simply cannot react in kind.
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The Yorkshireman started this season insisting he wanted to win back hearts and minds. Yet he’s increasingly felt unloved and unappreciated – and he simply can’t hide it. The snarky, sarcastic, dismissive tone he’s adopted in so many of his press conferences has overshadowed any of the sympathy he could and should have received over a miniscule budget and key injuries.
This latest gesture could be his Roy Keane moment – the equally confrontational Irishman departing Portman Road not long after his infamous ‘be quiet’ gesture to Town critics in 2011. Surely there is no way owner Marcus Evans can offer him a new deal now?
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What a shame McCarthy’s near six-year legacy will end on such a sour note when he should be going with a huge amount of respect and gratitude for turning around the fortunes of a club that was in a mess when he arrived in November 2012. The spotlight should be on owner Marcus Evans. Yet McCarthy has continually swung it back onto himself.
To adapt a phrase we keep hearing in this country – Mexit means Mexit. It’s on the horizon and no-one knows quite how that’s going to pan out. ‘Be careful what you wish for’ arguments will be countered that such talk is the politics of fear. Who knows if the polls on this one would be as close as 52-48%. Voter apathy would certainly be an issue.
When outsiders ask ‘what do Ipswich fans realistically expect?’ they – and McCarthy – miss the point entirely. This over-riding feeling of disillusionment runs far deeper than simply the position in the table.