Is Paul Jewell the right man for Ipswich Town?

Following the dismissal of Roy Keane last week, Ipswich Town have appointed Paul Jewell as their new manager.  But for some reason Paul Jewell (Plan B lookalike) decided to sit out the first two fixtures and left Roy Keane’s assistant Ian McParland to sweat it out in the dugout.  After all, it was away to Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup and at home to Arsenal in the first leg of the League Cup.

Being a wily old fox Paul Jewell probably thought that Ipswich were going to be on the wrong end of a thrashing in both games and subsequently suggested he would leave the team in the capable hands on McParland as he hadn’t got to know the players.

Well, after Chelsea returned to winning ways and thrashed Ipswich 7-0 last Sunday at Stamford Bridge Jewell must have felt rather smug.  The last thing a new manager wants to do is start with a hiding.  So imagine his dismay when he witnessed a gallant Ipswich team beat the mighty Arsenal 1-0 last night at Portman Road from a comfortable seat in the directors’ box, knowing he cannot take an ounce of credit for their best result in ages.

Instead he will take charge for the first time this Saturday when Ipswich travel to Millwall; a game which looking at the form book should result in defeat for Paul Jewell’s Tractor Boys.  The following Saturday Ipswich are at home against Doncaster Rovers.  If Jewell fails to win that game he then faces Arsenal at The Emirates in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final; and on the 1st February Paul Jewell will return to Pride Park when Ipswich take on Derby County where he is bound to get a hostile reception.

So what has Paul Jewell done since he miraculously took Wigan into the Premier League?  Not a lot is the simple answer.  His record at Derby County is not a good one.  He replaced Billy Davies and won his first match in charge when Derby, then of the Premier League, beat one of his former clubs, Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on penalties.  Four days later they were knocked out of the same competition by Preston North End who was fighting a relegation battle in the Championship. His 16th game in charge saw him lead Derby to a 2-0 defeat to another former club, Wigan, and in doing so set a new club record of 21 league games without a win.  That same year, Derby County were relegated from the Premier League with just 11 points, equalling a 108-year Football League record.

Just three points above the Championship relegation places, if I was an Ipswich Town fan I would be sad but relieved to see Roy Keane given the sack but shaking my head at the appointment of Paul Jewell.  I wouldn’t be too surprised if Ipswich Town get relegated to League One this season while fierce rivals, Norwich City rub salt in to their wounds by winning promotion to the Premier League.