Town turn to 'born leader' Magilton

EVEN before he had made his mark as a player, Jim Magilton harboured thoughts of one day becoming a manager.He said: “Twenty years ago, when I was 17 and starting out with Liverpool, I already felt I had the potential to be a manager one day.

By Mel Henderson

EVEN before he had made his mark as a player, Jim Magilton harboured thoughts of one day becoming a manager.

He said: “Twenty years ago, when I was 17 and starting out with Liverpool, I already felt I had the potential to be a manager one day.

“I am a leader. I was reserve team skipper at Anfield and I have led every other club I've ever been involved in. But this is the club that means the world to me.


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“When I walked through the door seven-and-a-half years ago I never expected this. But when I was saying my farewells a few weeks ago there was something inside of me telling me that I was going to be back here one day.”

That the opportunity should present itself so quickly was a major surprise. Few people, if any, expected the Ipswich board to instigate a change of manager when they did, Joe Royle leaving on May 11 to trigger the hunt for his replacement.

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Town have found the answer on their doorstep after Magilton consulted new first-team coach Bryan Klug and put forward a joint presentation that immediately found favour in the Portman Road boardroom.

Chairman David Sheepshanks, insisting he left no stone unturned in his search for Royle's successor, said: “There are some disappointed managers out there.”

Sheepshanks explained that the first list drawn up by himself and chief executive Derek Bowden, from over 50 serious applications, contained the names of 14 prospective bosses.

He added: “Of the 14, we interviewed 10 of the leading candidates - two withdrew and two we were declined permission to speak to - and Jim presented brilliantly each time.”

Magilton revealed that he had taken a call from ex-manager Joe Royle yesterday morning as he was preparing to attend the press conference.

He added: “Joe leaving when he did was a surprise. I have the utmost respect for him, as a manager and as a human being, and ringing me was a tremendous gesture by him, so typical of the man.”

A significant factor in Magilton's appointment was his enthusiasm to work with Klug, who is one of only 80 people in Britain to have gained his UEFA Pro Licence, the supreme coaching qualification.

Magilton laughed: “Bryan has got every licence you care to name - except the television one. But seriously, he is moving away from the comfort area of the Academy and his influence will now be over the entire club.”

The new boss plans to carry on playing, but joked: “It would need a malaria outbreak for me to play in the first team again.

“I plan to play in the reserves, not every game but now and again. In my book talk is cheap and I want to teach young players, cajole them and show them, about how senior players should conduct themselves.

“I don't envisage any problems in dealing with players who were my team-mates last year and in some cases for many years.

“If there are any I will deal with them and I can't wait to get my teeth into it.

“This is a clean slate for everyone. A new manager means a new attitude and I want these lads bouncing out of their skin once we get back and start preparing for next season.”

Magilton confirmed that 32-year-old Jason De Vos - “outstanding individual and leader” - will succeed him as club captain.

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