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Matt Holland's Blog 10

24 October 2012

I write this week from the States but news travels fast these days and I wasn't surprised when I heard that Paul Jewell had left Ipswich Town. The writing was on the wall when Paul didn't appear for his post-match press conference after the defeat to Derby County on Tuesday night and you didn't need inside information to work out something serious was happening behind the scenes.

His departure was confirmed on Wednesday and Marcus Evans is now looking for his fourth manager since he bought the club in 2008. Other teams have got through more managers in the same period but you can't escape the sense of instability at Portman Road.

Paul's quotes after leaving were typically gracious. He accepted he's paid the price for 11 games without a win and it is very hard to make a credible argument why he shouldn't have been let go. The season is in full flow now and Ipswich are rooted to the bottom of the npower Championship table.

Something inevitably had to give and, after 21 months in the job, Paul knew the clock had been ticking for a while.

The good news for Ipswich in the short term is caretaker Chris Hutchings isn't short of experience. Of course, he's been an integral part of the coaching team that hasn't got the results but he's been at Portman Road for nearly two years and during what's going to be a difficult time for the club, a bit of continuity rather than rushing into a snap appointment is probably the lesser of two evils.

Saying that, Evans hasn't messed about in the past when it has come to naming new managers, so an announcement could be imminent. Attracting the right calibre of manager when you're propping up the table isn't easy and any of the potential candidates out there will know there won't be unlimited financial resources on tap.

The managerial merry-go-round continued this week with Dougie Freedman's move from Crystal Palace to Bolton Wanderers. At 38 ,and with less than a hundred games under his belt as a manager, Dougie definitely falls into the novice category but it is refreshing to see the next generation of British coaches being given a chance at a big club with real potential.

There's obviously no guarantee of success at the Reebok but he is going to a club on an upward trajectory. I've been saying all season that I always expected Wanderers to move up the table despite their shaky start under Owen Coyle and Dougie's taking over with the team up to 16th and only five points adrift of a Play-Off place.

It's a platform at least. They've only been beaten once in their last four and although the expectation will be for him to take them much, much higher, he won't be sitting down at his new desk with the club in a full blown crisis.

His big challenge will be adapting to a new environment. Dougie spent 10 years playing for Palace and then started his managerial career at the club, so he was part of the furniture at Selhurst Park. He doesn't have the same degree of familiarity or goodwill at the Reebok and that change of dynamic will make life different early on.

A coach who isn't on the move this week is Billy McKinlay after Fulham refused Blackburn Rovers permission to speak to their number two. It was a blow to Rovers, especially after Tottenham Hotspur had already blocked their move for Tim Sherwood, and they seem no closer to finding a full-time replacement for Steve Kean.

There has been a lot of criticism of the way Blackburn has been run since the Venky's bought the club two years ago but this time they're probably making the right move in not rushing to name a new manager. Both McKinlay and Sherwood would of course represent a calculated gamble due to their relative inexperience but panicking after Fulham said no this week wouldn't be wise.

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