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Monday, 29 October 2012

Ipswich Town: Curbishley, McCarthy or Shearer - Who will be the new manager?


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Thirty years ago Ipswich Town were not only one of the major forces in England, they were one of the biggest names in Europe too. Today this proud Suffolk club is managerless following Paul Jewell's decision to leave and currently prop up the Championship.

Jewell's exit was hardly unexpected. The former Wigan and Derby boss had lost more games than he actually won as Ipswich boss and gone 11 games straight without a win. But now the search is under way to find his successor and, given the stature of the club, there has been no shortage of big names linked to the vacant post.

Here I am going to look at the main runners and riders for the coveted job and give my assessment on their chances of landing the job and being a success.

Mick McCarthy

The former Sunderland and Wolves boss is currently the bookies' favourite and it's easy to see why. McCarthy is a Championship manager. He knows this league inside out. The former Republic of Ireland boss has won promotion with both Wolves and the Black Cats and knows exactly what it takes to get out of this division. His style of football may not be to everyone's taste, but it gets results and he is a man in demand.

George Burley

The former Scotland manager has spent 20 years of his life at Portman Road as player and manager and considers the Tractor Boys as his club. He took them to the Premier League in 2000 and even sealed a fifth place finish and a place in Europe for them. Unfortunately second season syndrome really hit the club and they were relegated, but Burley would move heaven and earth to get Ipswich back up the league again. They do say you should never go back, but I think this would work for both parties.

Alan Curbishley

The former Charlton and West Ham boss is linked with every managerial vacancy going, but this is one that could really suit him. Ipswich is a decent club and he would demand the respect of the players and the fans for his work with Charlton all those years ago. However, that is the big concern. Curbishley's best work was with the Addicks more than six years ago. We knew he wanted a break from the game but one job in six years? Does he really have the desire to get back on the training ground?

Alan Shearer

The former Blackburn, Newcastle and England striker was one of the best strikers this country has ever produced, but not every top class player makes a great manager - as Ipswich know only too well thanks to Roy Keane. Shearer didn't do his reputation any favours by failing to save his beloved Newcastle from the drop and seems to be enjoying his role in the media. Does he really have the passion to get back out on the training pitch? He would be a huge name, but in Ipswich's position it would also be a huge risk.

Owen Coyle

The former Burnley and Bolton boss has a reputation for playing football the right way and that would win him fans at Portman Road. However, you get judged on your results in this game and getting relegated with Bolton has put a stain on his CV. The Scot may need a break away following the emotional turmoil at the Reebok, but I could Coyle and Ipswich being a good mix.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The Baby Faced Assassin is carving out a real name for himself as a manager in Norway and it's only a matter of time before he is lured back to these shores. Wolves were linked with him in the summer and so have Blackburn over the past few weeks, but both jobs would be potential banana skins for him. Ipswich would be ideal. They are currently bottom of the Championship so the only way for him would be up. He would also be given time to implement his ideas and beliefs at Ipswich with survival the main goal this season and then to kick on next year.

Other names in the frame include former Ipswich defender Terry Butcher, Gary Megson, Alex McLeish, Billy Davies, Paul Tisdale, Glenn Hoddle, Gordon Strachan and even Paolo Di Canio gets a mention.

Ipswich need to make the correct move here. They should be up there challenging for promotion to the Premier League, not fretting about being relegated to the third tier of English football. Personally I think they have to look forward and appoint a young, ambitious manager. Someone like Solskjaer or Coyle, who has a bit more experience about him. McCarthy would probably get them up, but they would have to axe him before landing in the Premier League as he is simply not up to that job. Shearer would get the nation's attention but could possibly turn Portman Road into a bit of a side show.

But, calling all Ipswich fans, who would you like to see in the dugout at Portman Road? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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