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Talk of the Town - an exclusive weekly look at Ipswich Town
ESSEX COUNTY STANDARD TOWN CORRESPONDENT MATT PLUMMER DELIVERS HIS WEEKLY THOUGHTS ON THE NEWS FROM PORTMAN ROAD: Paul Jewell might not have been the first name on the lips of Ipswich Town supporters.
After all, recent, lingering memories of his final post hardly inspire confidence.
His reign at Derby was nothing short of disastrous as the Rams, with tails between legs, limped out of the Barclays Premier League with a record low of just 11 points.
That sorry statistic undoubtedly paints a false picture of the man’s talents, though.
Jewell took over a sinking – or more to the point sunken – ship and was powerless to halt their slide back into the Championship.
He’ll also be keen to forget his troubled tenure at Sheffield Wednesday, which he memorably described as “absolute murder”.
But Ipswich fans underwhelmed by his appointment should forget those dark days and concentrate on his immense achievements at Bradford and Wigan.
He took two unfashionable clubs into the Premier League – the latter of which are still reaping the rewards from his spadework – and built squads capable of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Now he’s been charged with the task of doing the same at Portman Road.
He has a monumental job on his hands, given the damage and scars caused by Roy Keane’s regime.
But he knows that and is prepared to bide his time, start slowly and gather momentum.
That was the thing that impressed me during his first press conference on Monday.
He didn’t waltz in and promise the world, as Keane effectively did after replacing Jim Magilton in April 2009.
All that would have done is heap more pressure on his shoulders.
Instead, he pledged to build from the bottom – exactly what’s needed – and draw on his varied experiences in the game.
He knows he has a mixed CV.
However, he also says he has learnt from his mistakes and has had time to contemplate during his two years out of the game, working for Sky and watching games and training sessions in Spain and Italy.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t exactly blown away when rumours of his appointment hit the web last Thursday.
But the more I think about it, the more I think it could work and his sensible, considered and honest views in his press conference cemented that belief.
I really warmed to him, too, and feel confident his affable personality will endear him to the players.
Keane was a bull in a china shop. A hard man who, it would seem, made enemies as quickly as he made friends.
Some players would have reacted to his methods but plenty of others, clearly, didn’t.
Jewell won’t suffer fools but he’s certainly capable of improving team spirit and getting the players believing in themselves again.
He said several times about putting a smile back on the players’ faces and hopefully he can do just that.
It’ll be nice to see some smiles on supporters’ faces, too.
Keane’s reign will be remembered as a dark period, apart from an initial outpouring of positivity and optimism following his appointment. From then on, you sensed a leaden cloud hung over Portman Road.
There was a feeling of intimidation, maybe even fear, and it wasn’t the warm, hospitable and welcoming club we all know and love.
To an extent, some of its rich heritage and tradition filtered out the window, in the sense that Keane was so, for want of a better expression, ‘un-Ipswich’.
Maybe, just maybe, we’re about to get that sense of belonging and affection back.
Jewell has the attributes, both in terms of management and personality, to turn things round but of course he’ll need time.
He won’t work wonders overnight and it would be unrealistic to expect otherwise.
However, as long as we see improvement and progression I’ll be happy.
Sadly, we never saw any evidence of either under Keane.