Joe Royle leaves Ipswich.

I’m delighted that Royle has gone. I didn’t want him in the first place, along with all those in the North Stand who were chanting “Royle out” before he’d even been appointed nearly four long seasons ago. In all that time, I think we’d agree he really didn’t win over many of the sceptics either. A few, maybe, and I’ll admit at times in the second and third seasons here, his gung-ho tactics were so entertaining that I wasn’t complaining.
But Royle should not be blamed for being himself. He came along as Joe Royle, and he managed as Joe Royle. Good for him. The board got what they asked for.
And there’s the problem, of course. It was the 2002/03 season board who appointed the wrong manager, and it’s those people who we should be saying good riddance to now, much more than Royle, who simply did what he was paid to do. The board were so seduced by the pre-match canapes at Old Trafford and Highbury in 2000-2002 that an immediate return to the Premiership was simply the only thing they could contemplate. They needed a manager who could happily think short-term, one season at a time, with promotion the only objective. Royle was a decent choice. The fact that the supporters clearly would have preferred to see a new squad develop, even if it delayed promotion for a year or two, was just ignored. What do we know? Well, maybe not much. But what we want shouldn’t be ignored, because in the Championship, we represent the club’s main source of income. We knew what Royle was being brought in to do, and we didn’t want that. We wanted another “five-year plan” (or maybe two or three, given that we’d done it once already). Instead, four years have been wasted.
Nowadays, of course, executive management which makes a mistake never falls on its sword, as Mr Blair exemplifies. They just say “this has been valuable experience” and that it “makes us even better qualified for the job” and anyway, “who is there who could do it better?”
I think we’re about to see if this is true. Let’s see if we get a promising manager appointed, with a couple of years to get results. It’s a fantastic time for that, if we can keep the youngsters. The supporters have the patience. Can the board stop acting like junkies desperate for another fix of the high life, and join us?