Roy Keane is clinging to his job as manager of Championship club Ipswich Town by his fingertips with some reports locally indicating that he will be removed from his position by the weekend. With his side sitting just 6 places and 3 points above the relegation zone, Keane has failed miserably in the pledge he made to bring top flight football back to Portman Road when he arrived in a blaze of glory back in April 2009. In fact when Keane said he would get the club out of this division few thought it would be via the bottom!
Keane arrived with good credentials, a magnificent playing career of which the mainstay was over a decade at Manchester United where he won pretty much everything there was to win and with mentors such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough he seemed a good choice, especially as just a couple of years earlier in his first managerial role he had taken Sunderland from the bottom of the league to the Premiership in a single season and then kept them there.
Following Keane’s appointment Ipswich won their remaining 2 games of the season to finish 9th and fans dreamed over the summer of big money signings and a charge towards the Premiership, money was provided and Keane spent it - £1.5m on Manchester Uniteds reserve winger Lee Martin, £1.7m on Watford’s Hungarian striker Tamas Priskin and a combined £4m on Sunderland’s Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards were just some of the deals he completed and Ipswich began the season as 4th favourites to win Promotion.
But then reality set in as 14 games into the season they found themselves rooted to the bottom of the league with no wins and just 7 points, Keane’s expensive signings flopped. Priskin scored just once in the League and spent the 2nd half of the season on loan at QPR, Edwards and Martin flattered to deceive and although Leadbitter proved a good signing he was often just a single ray of light on dull performances.
Gradually though, things picked up and Ipswich became harder to beat and although any hopes of promotion and long been killed off by the dreadful start, they managed to pull clear from the bottom and finished in 15th. Again the decent finish to the season left supporters optimistic that Keane just needed time and was beginning to get things right.
These hopes were raised when Ipswich made a good start to this season and a 2-1 away victory at Sheffield United had Ipswich sitting in the top 6 with 2 winnable home games coming up and harbouring serious promotion prospects. Then the current, disastrous run began, 6 straight defeats and just a single win in 9 games has been Ipswich plummet like a stone from 6th down to 19th where they find themselves today.
So, where did it all go wrong? – In my opinion it went wrong that first summer when Keane spent the best part of £9m on players that turned out to be poor signings, The poor start and bad performances have meant that since then the Owner has been reluctant to provide more money for Keane to spend presumably because he is not convinced it will be spent wisely, Keane has had to rely on loan players and has had to sell before he can buy resulting in a small squad with many young players whose confidence is easily knocked and Keanes Tactics and man management have been questioned on more than one occasion and it seems only a matter of time now before the change is made.