‘Be careful what you wish for’, says Tommy Miller
PUBLISHED: 10:17 18 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:33 19 February 2016
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Ipswich Town fans questioning the club’s ambition should think back to 2009, says former midfielder Tommy Miller.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy has overseen three years of impressive progress at Portman Road, turning a shambolic relegation threatened outfit into a stabilised one that secured the club its first play-off place in a decade.
However, with an injury-hit squad eighth in the Championship table with 15 games to go, there is now a concern that a glass ceiling has been hit under continued limited spending by owner Marcus Evans.
There was a similar debate brewing back in 2008/09 after the Blues had finished ninth under Jim Magilton’s management. More was demanded, Magilton was sacked and Evans threw money at high-profile replacement Roy Keane. A year later Town finished 15th with 10 points fewer than the previous campaign.
“There were some people who thought we should have been achieving more when Jim Magilton was in charge, but then Roy Keane came in, spent a lot of money and success didn’t materialise,” said Miller, who made more than 200 appearances for Town during two spells in the 00s.
“We went from ninth to 15th, so I would just say ‘be careful what you wish for’.
“Yes, Ipswich did brilliantly last season to finish sixth. The question is, did they over-achieve? Possibly. Expectations can rise very quickly, but people shouldn’t forget the bigger picture.”
Miller, now the assistant manager of Conference side Halifax, also played under McCarthy’s management at Sunderland – the Black Cats finishing bottom of the Premier League in 2005/06 and then winning the Championship the following campaign.
He added: “I still say that if Mick had the sort of money to spend that previous Sunderland managers had he would have consolidated them in the Premier League and had them competing in the top half year after year.
“The Championship is very strong this year, teams like Derby, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday have spent big and I can see why some are saying ‘why didn’t Ipswich go for it too?’ You can understand the fans’ frustrations. Having finished sixth last year they are concerned their club is not kicking on.
“All I would say is judge the situation at the end of the season because there are still a lot of games to play. It’s far too early to be writing them off. I would just say ‘stick with them’. You can easily win a couple of games in this division and suddenly the picture is very different.
“They are going through a tricky spell at the moment, but Ipswich have the right man in charge. He knows what he’s doing. He’s been there and done it.”