This is a golden chance for a fresh start at Ipswich Town
PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 April 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town find themselves at a crucial juncture.
The Blues did not kick on from a position of strength in January 2015, limped into the play-offs and have gone increasingly stale as a club since then.
Something needs to change ahead of a 16th successive season in the Championship if the haemorrhaging of season ticket sales is to be limited.
And if it’s not going to be owner or manager, as appears to be the case, then the playing staff needs a good overhaul.
Boss Mick McCarthy, increasingly testy, has seen his relationship with fans sour. However, he’s signalled his intent to stay on for the final year of his contract and reinvent his underperforming squad.
If the transfer budget afforded to him by owner Marcus Evans continues to be restrictive, major improvements will be difficult but not impossible.
A clearing of the decks will free up a major chunk of the wage bill.
Luke Chambers, Christophe Berra, Steven Taylor, Jordan Spence, Jonathan Douglas, Paul Digby, Leon Best and Giles Coke are all coming to the end of their deals, while Tom Lawrence, Emyr Huws, Toumani Diagouraga, Jonny Williams and Dominic Samuel will see their loans expire.
This is a golden chance for a fresh start.
Remember, managing director Ian Milne told us back last August that the three season-long deals for Lawrence, Williams and Best alone had cost the club £2m alone. Only one of them has proved good value.
There may have been no wastage in terms of transfer fees, but it’s fair to say a restricted budget hasn’t been used to its maximum. How much did Cameron Stewart earn for his two substitute appearances? It won’t have been an insignificant sum.
The recruitment strategy this summer needs to centre around quality not quantity.
Town fans were yesterday asked, in a live web chat, what was top of their wish list if McCarthy stays.
Signing a genuine replacement for striker Daryl Murphy claimed the most votes (52%), then keeping hold of keeper Bartosz Bialkowski (24%), followed by a permanent deal for Huws (19%) and handing a new contract to influential skipper Luke Chambers (5%).