If you were to go on what the bookies believe, we’d have got through four managers by now.
Ian Foster started off as the favourite, only to be replaced quickly by Stephen Bradley. He seemed odds on to get the job, until he wasn’t and Mark Kennedy, the Birmingham coach, took pole position. Now, former West Ham, Manchester United and England man Michael Carrick is being heavily linked with the Imps job.
Carrick the player is one of the most decorated midfielders ever to play for England, with five Premier League titles, a Europa League, a Champions League and a World Club Cup on his resume. He began his career with West Ham United but made his name at Old Trafford, where he appeared 316 times in 12 seasons. He played 34 times for England, and when he retired, he went into coaching.
He was handed a role on the coaching staff under Jose Mourinho, at the same time as Kieran McKenna who is the current Ipswich Town boss. He remained with the Old Trafford giants throughout Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign and even managed the club for three matches before Ralf Rangnik arrived at the club (won two and drew one which feels like more than Rangnik). He then departed in December 2021 after 15 years of service.
He is now favourite in the latest odds to take over at Sincil Bank, but again, it doesn’t quite feel right to me. I’m not sure of the validity of the bookies’ rankings; we’ve seen it so many times with Michael Appleton, being favourite for West Brom, then fading away, then coming back. Carrick, whilst a huge name, doesn’t feel like the sort of person we’d be hunting, but it’s easy to say that sat behind a keyboard, isn’t it? It’s the same for the other ‘big-name’ candidate, Mark Kennedy, who doesn’t seem inspiring on paper, but may well be a great manager waiting to prove himself.
What I am led to believe is that a decision is expected imminently, with 11 weeks to go until the start of the new season that’s good news. Clubs are already signing players, and yet we haven’t thrown our retained list out there yet. We feel as if we’re in limbo, and whilst last summer being in the play-offs meant we were behind everyone else, this time out it seems hunting for a manager could be stepping the evolution of the playing squad.
Once a decision is made, whether it is Carrick, Kennedy or someone out of the blue like Notts County’s Ian Burchnall, the club can begin to move forward and plan for what feels like a tough League One season ahead.