Hot off the heels of the last fiery debate, Should He Stay or Should He Go? returns to judge the dire situation at Ipswich Town and ask if Roy Keane’s time as manager is up.
Down at Portman Road, there is a genuine worry that Ipswich is in deep trouble. They are rooted to the bottom of the Championship and have failed to register a win so far this season. Ipswich Town, historically at least, used to mix it with the big boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They were runners-up twice in the top flight, won the FA Cup in 1978 and clinched the UEFA Cup in 1981. How times have changed.
Go – First of all, Ipswich haven’t won all season. The League Cup first round win against Shrewsbury Town was on penalties, so this cannot count. This for a club, as previously mentioned that were once in the top flight and playing well is simply not good enough. They lack any cohesion within the squad and their inability to convert leads into wins is extremely worrying for The Tractor Boys’ faithful. Tuesday night’s game at home to Watford is a perfect example of that. This has to come back to the man at the helm, the man that players look to for leadership when the chips are down, the man that had such a successful career at Manchester United. Roy Keane.
Town have made their worst ever start to a season in history and if you thought that was bad then this will make it even worse. They have conceded the most goals in the Championship at the time of writing, 26. They have gone 11 games without a clean sheet. And Jordan Rhodes, who never really got a chance to impress for Ipswich, dropped down a division at the beginning of the season and has now been banging in the goals for Huddersfield Town with 11 to his tally so far. The fee Huddersfield paid for him? Nothing, because Roy Keane felt he had nothing to offer so did not renew his contract.. Bad business indeed. Then, Ol’ Keano signed Sunderland pair Carlos Edwards and Grant Leadbitter on deadline day and neither have impressed sufficient enough for their price tag of £4m combined.
Two years ago, Town forward Jonathan Walters picked up the club’s Player of the Year award after scoring 13 goals. Now though, he has just four to his name and his apparent lack of confidence is plain to see. Also, players like Jon Stead, Leadbitter, Edwards and others, have Premier League pedigree in them. They should be battling harder and digging their heels in, getting Town out of this dreadful mess. It is Keane’s responsibility to ensure this happens through man-management, coaching and motivation and it is really obvious that he isn’t doing his job satisfactorily. To many, it is amazing that Keane is still in a job, and they must beat fellow apparent-relegation battlers Plymouth Argyle at the weekend or Keane will be on his bike. How Sir Bobby Robson must be seething up there.
Stay – Hang on a minute people. Doesn’t anyone remember what Roy Keane did at Sunderland? When he joined them at the start of the 2006/07 season, they were languishing at the bottom of the Championship in 23rd place having lost their opening four games under interim boss Niall Quinn. Keane managed to turn this around and the wins came flooding in by the bucket load. As the Black Cats went from strength to strength, Keane picked up the February and March Manager of the Month awards.
Sunderland then clinched the title comfortably and secured promotion to the Premier League. Keane then collected the Championship’s Manager of the Year award to add to his amazing first season as a manager. The season after, Sunderland experienced some dreadful rub of the green when they had numerous players out injured and suspended. But still, Keane managed to keep them up in the Premier League. Although Keane later fell out with majority shareholder Ellis Short and resigned, Sunderland were still to survive and build on his early success. Also, don’t forget it was Keane who signed Anton Ferdinand, who is now flourishing in Sunderland’s impressive form in the current campaign, hence showing his eye for youth and talent and not being afraid to blood their potential.
At the end of the 2008/09 season, Ipswich Town’s average attendance finished on 20 873. Their current average attendance stands at 21 342. So not only have we seen an increase in gate receipts, but also it shows that the fans are very supportive and that can only help Keane. At 38, Keane is considered one of those ‘young’ managers. He already has a division title to his name and let’s not forget all the trophies he claimed as captain at Old Trafford. On occasions he carried that team when Alex Ferguson was arguing with officials and other managers. He is a born winner and natural leader. If there is anyone in that division who can cope with pressure, it’s Keane. Most Ipswich fans interviewed on various sports news media, support Keane and hope he can stay and turn it around. Remember, he did it at Sunderland.