MISTAKES? YES, BUT HURST WAS ON HIDING TO NOTHING
A DECADE of successful work in the lower leagues led Paul Hurst to a chance in the Championship that he never even thought he would get – not without leading a team like Shrewsbury Town there himself, at least, as he came so close to doing last season. Now the assumption will be that the step up to the second tier was simply too big; that he was out of his depth. And, in all likelihood, fewer Championship chairmen will look to the lower leagues for new managers as a result. All I can say, having played for Hurst at Grimsby Town, is that the first part of that is nonsense, and the second is a crying shame. Hurst will not be out of work for long, but the more you analyse his 149-day tenure at Portman Road, the more you see that the job was a thankless task from the start. His squad was depleted by the departure of David McGoldrick, Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner – who between them scored 32 of Ipswich’s 57 league goals last season – and Adam Webster, for a combined £10 million. Hurst made mistakes, which I’m sure he will admit in time. There has been criticism of his recruitment, almost entirely from the lower leagues, but his track record in signing young hungry players is why owner Marcus Evans handed him the job in the first place. Evans wanted to see some youth and dynamism in the dugout and out on the pitch. The fans demanded it after the howls of complaint about McCarthy’s football. But it was also seen as a way of moving forward within the constraints of one of the division’s smallest budgets. Now that’s out the window, they’re right back where they started. But please, enough already with “they should have been careful what they wished for”.