With more than a hint of inevitability, Paul Jewell became the latest manager to find himself out of a job on Wednesday, after just less than two years at Ipswich. The final straw for Jewell came on Tuesday night when his former side Derby side overturned a deficit to inflict another defeat on the Tractor Boys courtesy of an injury time winner.
For Jewell, it was an all too familiar feeling. Conceding late goals have plagued Ipswich all season long and Tuesday’s heartbreak was the second such scenario in the space of four days, having conceded an injury time goal in their 2-1 defeat at Hull on Saturday.
Jewell is an honest manager, and admitted after that defeat that he was pondering his future at Portman Road and that he didn’t feel up to the job in hand, only to be encouraged to stay on by owner Marcus Evans. Last night’s defeat, however, proved the final catalyst for Jewell, and he left the club by mutual consent on Wednesday morning. The statistics made for grim reading for Ipswich fans. Jewell resigns with the club languishing at the foot of the Championship table some four points from safety. Ipswich have only recorded one league win thus far, and that was way back in August, so his decision to resign hardly comes as a shock.
With Jewell now departed, the talk inevitably switches to who will be the next Ipswich manager, Town’s fourth in the short time span of five years. The club’s Chief Executive Simon Clegg has already indicated that the club are keen to make an appointment as quickly as possible, and have already shortlisted a group of around 34 names whom they deem suitable replacements. The decision to be made quickly is a necessity bearing in mind Ipswich’s troubled league position and the wish not to get cut adrift at the bottom.
Unfortunately for Ipswich, the timing of Jewell’s departure coincides with a period in which fellow Championship clubs Blackburn and Crystal Palace are also both on the hunt for a new manager. This may make it difficult for Ipswich to land their number one target, especially considering their current predicament. But there are still plenty of names out there for Town to consider. Mick McCarthy is currently amongst the front runners to get the job and it is easy to see why. McCarthy has vast experience of Championship football during his tenures at Wolves and Sunderland, and he seems willing to return to management after being out of a job since February.
Owen Coyle is another manager who is itching to get straight back into a managerial position following his recent departure from Bolton, but with his roots firmly in the north, a move down south may seem less appealing to him. However, the early bookies favourite is former Charlton manager Alan Curbishley. Curbishely has been largely distant from the game since he left West Ham in 2008, but he has, perhaps surprisingly, appeared as the frontrunner to get the job. Unlike Coyle, the appointment of Curbishley would make greater geographical sense seeing as he already lives in East Anglia, so he may be tempted to end his five year exile at a club that represents a real challenge.
Other names too are in the mix, not least Harry Redknapp, but Ipswich need to think carefully about this decision. Ipswich have long term ambitions of becoming a Premier league side once more, but the immediate future will be dictated by whether they can maintain their Championship status this season. A wrong choice here could set the club back years.