Mick McCarthy is the new manager of Ipswich Town, writes Vernon Grant
The former Wolves boss has been in contact with some other football chairman of late but he has decided to take on the challenge on offer at Portman Road.
The so called ‘tractor boys’ are rooted to the bottom of the Championship and lost their last game 3-0 at the hands of fellow strugglers, Sheffield Wednesday. That came after the club had sacked Paul Jewell as manager.
Ipswich Town were once a force in football, in the days when the late Bobby Robson managed them to domestic and European glory. But that was decades ago and, when it comes to football in East Anglia, it is Norwich City who now compete with the big boys in the top flight.
McCarthy has his detractors. Maybe I am biased as I have known Mick since he was playing for Barnsley. Many years later I worked with him at Sky Sports. He is a top bloke. In a game full of scoundrels, liars and hypocrites – Mick is a straight talking fella.
He doesn’t get every decision right. Which manager does? Fans of Irish football are still divided over his handling of the Roy Keane affair when Mick managed the Republic of Ireland national squad.
Overall he did a good job at Wolves and remains friends with the club Chief Executive Jez Moxey. That is despite McCarthy being sacked by Wolves after a series of bad results, and a particularly humiliating heavy defeat at the hands of local rivals West Bromwich Albion.
Many Wolves fans will not agree with me but, like many neutrals, I think Wolves were mad to sack Mick McCarthy. He may have taken them down. But their relegation was a racing certainty once Moxey and Chairman Steve Morgan cocked up replacing him. They thought they had somebody lined up to take the job at Molineaux, but they didn’t.
In the end they offered the job to McCarthy’s inexperienced assistant Terry Connor, another nice footballing man. But Connor is a coach, not a manager, and he could not keep Wolves up.
Connor joins McCarthy at Ipswich Town. I think Mick McCarthy was worthy of a Premiership job but, as we all know, they come along rarely. Mick now has the challenge of keeping Ipswich in the Championship.
He said: It’s a good club. There’s a big challenge ahead of us. We’re in a relegation scrap. But I like a challenge.”
I wish a good man good luck.
Here are some classic Mick moments