Terry Butcher says criticism of Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is harsh

Disgruntled Town fans hold up a banner at the end of the Ipswich Town v Rotherham United (Sky Bet Ch

Disgruntled Town fans hold up a banner at the end of the Ipswich Town v Rotherham United (Sky Bet Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 29 October 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher believes the club’s supporters should give manager Mick McCarthy the chance to turn things around now he has his best players available again.

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the Yorkshireman taking charge. He is the 10th longest-serving boss in English football’s top four divisions and, on a restrictive transfer budget, has overseen Championship finishes of ninth, sixth and seventh.

Progress has stalled in 2016 though and the atmosphere inside Portman Road turned toxic following Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with rock-bottom Rotherham. The Blues are 16th in the table after 14 games and McCarthy is facing mounting criticism regarding a lack of entertainment value.

“I think the criticism is harsh,” said Butcher, who played more than 250 times for the club during the halcyon era of the late 70s and early 80s.

“The whole calendar year has been disrupted by injuries to key attacking players – he’s been without Ryan Fraser, Teddy Bishop, David McGoldrick and Jonny Williams for long periods. Then the top-scorer, Daryl Murphy, was sold close to the deadline. That would hurt any team, no matter who they were.

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“Mick doesn’t go on about all that because fans get bored of hearing excuses, but those are the facts and it has prevented him from really progressing the team these last few months.

“We’ve all been there as managers and I sympathise with him massively. It must be frustrating as hell. I can assure you he will be feeling it more than anybody else because he’s the one in charge.”

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Butcher, who managed Coventry, Sunderland and Brentford in England, as well as Motherwell, Sydney, Inverness, Hibernian and Newport, continued: “It’s undoubtedly been frustrating watching Town this season, but I do think the good things we’ve seen glimpses of will become more consistent over the coming weeks.

“I still feel like there is cause for optimism. Freddie Sears is back scoring, McGoldrick and Williams are fit again, while players like Bishop, Luke Varney and Leon Best are getting match hardened again.

“There’s a bit of youth and devilment in this squad now, a lot of good combinations. Saturday would have been a win and a good performance from an attack-minded team had it not been for a couple of uncharacteristic errors at the back.

“Ipswich have got an excellent goalkeeper, a strong back four and now they have finally got their best creative talent available again.”

Butcher added: “Mick has clearly got the backing of the owner, the respect of his players and I think it’s important that he has the support of the fans too. Everyone should stick together at this tough time.

“Everyone was saying Saturday was a game Ipswich had to win, but they didn’t have to win it. It would have been nice to have won, but it’s not a critical situation as yet. It’s a situation that can be remedied.

“The fans have got to be patient. I’m not having a go at them, because they’ve got the right to voice their opinions, but I think the circumstances need to be considered.

“Can Mick and TC (Terry Connor) get the players motivated? They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again, no doubt.

“I don’t think there is a better man to turn things around and get the club up the table. He certainly gets my vote of confidence.”

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