Sunday, June 23, 2024

Kieran McKenna: Ipswich Town manager signs new four-year deal

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Analysis – Nick Mashiter, senior football news reporter

The new deal will make McKenna one of the best paid managers in the Premier League, just a year after he won promotion to the Championship from League One.

It also provides security for Ipswich as the compensation for him and assistant Martyn Pert will increase, having previously been around £4m.

The Tractor Boys have barely put a foot wrong, acknowledging the interest would come after their impressive success but refusing to get drawn into any circus.

The united front, taking a table which including McKenna and chief executive Mark Ashton, displayed at the League Managers Association dinner last week – where McKenna won LMA Manager of the Year – underlined they always viewed this period as ‘business as usual’.

It is not a new scenario they have had to deal with. McKenna was close to joining Crystal Palace before Oliver Glasner was appointed in February, while Brighton’s interest was there even before it was announced Roberto de Zerbi would be leaving.

There was a plan to leave Portman Road – regardless of promotion – this summer but with options dwindling and a new deal on the table it was important for McKenna to make a decision and avoid upsetting his employers, given the amount of interest and speculation in him.

Ipswich need to be competitive for the Premier League and it was becoming an unwelcome distraction where the focus needed to be on summer business.

Ultimately, McKenna and Ipswich have been excellent for each other.

When they failed to go up in 2021-22, after McKenna joined in the December, there was a degree of confidence the club could build – and set the philosophy and culture – under the former Manchester United coach while challenging at the top of League One, rather than potentially rebuilding while struggling in the Championship.

Since then they have only improved.

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