Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The hardest ever caretaker manager job!

Hardest caretaker job ever

With all the managerial changes, one that has gone largely unnoticed is the sacking of Roy Keane from Ipswich. I’m not going to dwell on that sacking as it was probably the right move and had become inevitable.


Rather than look at the sacking I would rather discuss the totally unenviable job inherited by caretaker boss Ian McParland. You really have to feel sorry for him.

McParland stepped up to take the role with Ipswich sitting in a terribly disappointing nineteenth place in the Championship only three points above the drop zone. They have one only one of their last nine league games and confidence amongst the players was at rock bottom.


The forty-nine year old Scot has only experienced management at one other club and that was Notts County where he was the manager for two years until the ill fated Sven Goran Eriksson take over at the club. He has been a coach at Nottingham Forest and has been assistant to Roy Keane since November 2009. He stepped into the breach when Keane was sacked last Friday.

His first task was to take his beleaguered team to Stamford Bridge for a ridiculously tough third round FA Cup tie against Chelsea. You could say that he had nothing to lose, but it was hardly a game for the temporary boss to be able to make his mark.


As it turned out his Ipswich side battled well until the thirty-third minute when two goals in a minute knocked the stuffing out of them. Chelsea then used the rest of the game to try to build some confidence and get their big players scoring goals again. They did just that and ran out 7-0 winners.

After the game McParland tried to remain positive.


“The boys are a bit shell-shocked, with the manager going. For half an hour, we were doing okay, we were in the game but we gave them three bad goals. I’ve never been beaten like that. It hurts my pride but I’ll bounce back. Let’s not forget who the lads were playing against. Some Premier League clubs were beaten seven or eight here last year, so maybe we’re in good company.”

His pride was hurt but at least it couldn’t get any worse. Yesterday news arrived that Ipswich had appointed former Bradford, Wigan and Derby boss Paul Jewell as their new manager. It isn’t known whether McParland will stay on the staff but it seems unlikely as a new man usually brings in his own people.


It was also announced that Jewell wouldn’t be taking over the role until after Ipswich’s game on Wednesday evening. McParland will be in charge for that game as well as the one against Chelsea. He will have a tenure of just two matches. Let’s hope that the second game isn’t as disastrous as the first one was.

Who are Ipswich playing? Arsenal.

The second and final game of Ian McParland’s short spell of management is the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against the Premier League’s third placed team and second top scorers.


After that game McParland will hand over to Jewell who will face games against Millwall and Doncaster. Doesn’t sound quite as daunting does it?

I’m sure McParland is enjoying his short spell in the spotlight but I doubt if any caretaker manager has ever had such a hard spell in charge. For a struggling Championship team to take on those two sides at the best of times would be asking close to the impossible but in these circumstances, it is even more difficult than that.

I wish him well on Wednesday because unless his pride is to take another knock he will need every piece of luck going.


Graham Fisher



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