Jim Magilton and the poison chalice of QPR

I can’t be the only one already feeling sorry for former Ipswich boss Jim Magilton on hearing the news that he has been given the managers job at Queens Park Rangers, thus becoming the fifth permanent manager employed by Flavio Briatore since his take over in 2007.

Considering that Magilton was sacked by Ipswich in April for failing to steer the team into the Championship play offs, Ipswich finished the season just two places higher in the table than QPR, with five more points.

Ipswich Town chief executive Simon Clegg explained at the time of Magilton’s sacking that the manager had failed to deliver despite significant funding by club owner Marcus Evans. He went on to say that Ipswich Town were looking for ‘a winner’ to replace Magilton.

On this evidence there is every chance that Magilton will not last the season with QPR, given their fondness for sacking ‘under achieving’ managers.

Jim Magilton is an honest manager who will certainly give 100% at QPR, he always has as player and manager, he certainly deserves the chance at what is now considered a big club waiting to happen. I hope that I am wrong, but I don’t see QPR having the patience to think long term and allow someone to build the team and for that reason I would expect Magilton’s stay to be quite brief.

Roy Keane joins Ipswich Town

200px-roy_keane_croppedRoy Keane has agreed a two year contract to manage Championship side Ipswich Town, following the dismissal of Jim Magilton on Wednesday. Magilton was allegedly sacked over the phone after failing to guide Ipswich into the play off places, his assistant John Gorman has also left the club.

Keane had been sounded out some weeks ago according to news reports and the clubs owner Marcus Evans has promised the financial backing for a push for promotion to the Premier League. Having steered Sunderland from second from bottom to the Championship title in his first season in charge, Evans has every confidence in Keane doing the same for Ipswich.

“He has extensive contacts in the game and is a proven winner who encourages his team to play the attractive football that Ipswich Town fans have come to expect. I believe he is the right man to take this club where we want to be – the Premier League.”

Keane is impressed with the commitment of the club and the ambition of owner Evan’s and chief executive Simon Clegg and has said that he ‘can’t wait to get started.’ The club will want Keane to move closer to the club, something that sources expect will not be a problem, despite the fact that he insisted in commuting from his home in Cheshire to Sunderland while in charge there.

What’s the odds on Ipswich to win the Championship title next season, I wonder?

Alan Lee has his say on facing former club

There is always added significance to a fixture when a player returns to the club where they once played. This is exaggerated even further when the player concerned is now playing for the fierce rivals of his former club.

This is the case for Alan Lee this Sunday. He and his new club Norwich City travel to Portman Road to face Ipswich Town in the East Anglian Derby. The striker is likely to get a rather unwelcoming reception from the home fans, that seems like a safe Championship English football bet to make!

However, Alan Lee doesn’t seem like the type of player to let this bother him. In fact, it seems reasonable to suggest that he might thrive on the stick given to him by Ipswich fans.

Speaking about Sunday’s game, Alan Lee revealed that he is yet to lose a local derby in his career and he ‘doesn’t aim to start’ this weekend. Overall, he admits that he ‘loves’ these type of games and that he will do everything he can ‘for Norwich City’.

Alan Lee is aware that three points would give Norwich City a huge boost in their bid to stay in the Championship this season. The on-loan man says that if his team repeat the performance shown against Watford on Monday, there should be ‘no problems’ at all in picking up the win.

As things stand, Norwich City are level on points with Barnsley and Nottingham Forest just above the relegation zone. With three games remaining, every point is crucial.

This means that, for Norwich City and Alan Lee, there is more at stake this weekend than local pride and bragging rights.

Charlton Athletic midfielder set for move?

Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton has revealed that he would welcome a return to Portman Road for his former team-mate Darren Ambrose. Magilton said that Darren Ambrose – who is out of contract in the summer – is ‘on a list of players’ that he would like to bring to the club.

The Tractor Boys boss believes that Darren Ambrose is a ‘very good player’ who has the ability to be a ‘match-winner’ for any team that he plays for. Jim Magilton also believes that Darren Ambrose left the club ‘too soon’ after starting his career with Ipswich Town.

Big things were expected of Darren Ambrose when he joined Newcastle United in March 2003 for £1m. However, things have never quite worked out for the 24-year-old. He only made 18 Premier League starts in over two years at St James’ Park and it was no surprise when Charlton Athletic signed him in the summer of 2005.

Darren Ambrose has had his fair share of injury problems at the Valley and even though he is currently part of Alan Pardew plans, perhaps he would welcome a fresh start at the club where it all began.

The ironic thing about Jim Magilton’s expression of interest in the player is that Darren Ambrose is likely to line up against Ipswich Town tonight when Charlton visit Portman Road. It seems that Jim Magilton will get a glimpse at the player that he would like to see back in East Anglia.

If the move does materialise at some point in the future, Darren Ambrose will join Pablo Counago, Tommy Miller and Richard Wright as players that have returned to Ipswich after previously leaving the club.

As for Ipswich’s overall situation, they currently sit 13th in the Championship after a rather inconsistent start to the season. The football odds expect them to push for the play-offs and they will be hoping that the recent victory against Plymouth can be the start of a good run for them. Whether Darren Ambrose will be part of this promotion push come January, remains to be seen.

Ivan Campo signs for Ipswich Town

Former Real Madrid midfielder signs for Ipswich Town.

Championship club Ipswich Town have completed the signing of former Spanish International Ivan Campo. The 34-year-old – who hasn’t played a competitive game since playing for Bolton in April – has signed a two year deal with the East Anglia club.

Ivan Campo certainly brings a wealth of experience to a very young Ipswich squad. Town boss Jim Magilton has admitted that part of the reason he brought him to Portman Road was because ‘the young players will really benefit from having him around’.

It will be the first time that Ivan Campo has played at Championship level after making 172 appearances for Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League. It will be interesting to see how he does in what is a very tough and physical league. Considering the fact that he might not have as much time to compose himself in the middle of midfield as he is used to, I wouldn’t be surprised if he operated for his new club as a centre back.

From this position he could guide the rest of the defence and use his experience to communicate with the midfielders in front of him. Jim Magilton recognises the presence Ivan Campo has and admits that his type of character has been missed since the departure of veteran defender Fabian Wilnus this summer.

As for the team as a whole, Ipswich made a losing start to their Championship campaign. They suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Preston North End, equalling the amount of times they lost at Portman Road last season. After just missing out on the play-offs last time out, they are still one of the promotion favourites, but will be looking to bounce back with a win against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.

As for Ivan Campo, he isn’t likely to make his debut too soon. He hasn’t played in a competitive game for around four months and will want to improve his match fitness before playing in the Championship. When he does make his debut though, I expect him to be an important player for Ipswich this season.