The Verdict: Is it really necessary to swear Mick? Fans have a right to an opinion
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These latest caustic comments may have just burned any last bridges that Mick McCarthy had with some Ipswich Town fans.
Saturday’s 2-1 comeback victory at Burton Albion was what being a football supporter is all about. Fans’ favourite Bersant Celina stepped off the bench late on and duly bent in an 89th minute free-kick winner to spark pandemonium among the travelling fans on the old-school terraces.
It was rare memorable moment for the Blues. They are back to within one point of the play-offs with a game in hand. It was a chance to get a few of the doubters back on side again. Then boss McCarthy did his trick of trying to douse any flames of discontent with petrol.
During an expletive-ridden press conference he told supporters that Celina hadn’t been introduced because of their calls. Fair enough, but adding ‘there’s more chance of him not going on when they start telling me what to do’ is stubbornness bordering on the childlike.
He went on to say: “Listen, unless somebody decides otherwise, you’ve got me, boring old big nose f****g fart with s***e football until May.”
Not the wisest move from a man who has admitted he needs to win back hearts and minds. Given his recent comments about potentially walking away when his contract expires next May, it feels like he has given up on that mission.
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Good for him, said some. If the fans give it out (and they did), then they have to be big enough to take it. Many do like the fact Mick speaks his mind. It can be refreshing in an era of platitudes and glib patter.
He could have made his points in a far more measured and more inclusive manner though. Educate the fans about your thought processes, don’t tar them all with the same brush and dismiss all as idiots.
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Many of them spend a lot of money and time following their beloved Blues. Just because you’re not a qualified plumber, you do have the right to be unhappy with the level of service provided by a plumber. They have seen enough to be entitled to an opinion.
They are entitled to question McCarthy’s view that Celina wasn’t suited to a ‘scrap’. Why couldn’t the plan be to keep the ball down under the wind and try play better football than their struggling hosts?
They are entitled to be disappointed with the recent home defeat to rivals Norwich. Fine margins, yes, but a ‘great’ performance?
They are entitled to be frustrated with the club’s stagnation and question McCarthy’s insistence it’s only been a few poor months in five years.
It must be hugely frustrating when everyone is a critic. There is more comment, hyper-analysis and social media noise than ever before. That’s the job though. That’s why modern day managers and players get the big bucks.
I’m not offended by the swearing. I swear myself. Most of us do. There’s a time and a place though. Most employers wouldn’t be happy if their brand or business was being represented that way.
It certainly doesn’t feel representative of Ipswich Town. Not of a club that’s had an innate and tangible family feel. A nice club that neutrals admire.
Sir Alf Ramsey could appear aloof, he could be confrontational, but he took elocution lessons and took pride in holding himself with dignity.
Yes, the Cobbolds once apologised to Sir Bobby Robson after fans called for his head in the early days and promptly offered him a new contract. They also made him apologise after he called the fans ‘zombies’.
Perhaps the problem is that McCarthy seemingly answers to no-one. He repeatedly said last week ‘I’ll decide’ when quizzed on his future. Is that healthy?
In the not-so-distant past ex-chairman David Sheepshanks would pull managers to one side and have a quiet word if he felt they were getting a bit carried away with their comments.
At worst, McCarthy’s comments were classless and showed contempt for the people who pay his wages. At best they were ill-judged, ill-timed and unnecessarily divisive in a powder-keg situation.
The bottom line is, without the fans the game is nothing.