Brian Hamilton says Fermanagh coach Kieran McKenna deserves his chance to shine with Ipswich

Kieran McKenna has a “wonderful opportunity” to bring Ipswich Town back to the top of English football.

he potential when they get there is exciting, ex-Northern Ireland manager Bryan Hamilton.

With the support of American owners and a fan base that balances patience and realism, as well as some desperation to return to the Premier League after a 20-year hiatus, Hamilton believes McKenna has arrived at Portman Road at a perfect time. . .

The club raised eyebrows when they installed the Fermanagh native, 35, who was part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching staff at Manchester United, as new manager last week.

Hamilton, who still has a close association with the club he signed for 50 years ago, was as surprised as anyone else, but he is also captivated by the thought behind the nomination and intrigued by it. that can be achieved, believing that “someone is going to do it right” in the former UEFA Cup winners.

“I met the GM and the people who bought the club and want something special to happen,” said Hamilton, who, along with his former club and international colleague Allan Hunter, is a regular at Portman Road on a match day. role of ambassador as well as being important in the association of former players.

“It’s an investment on their part and they want better days and better things from their investment.

“There is a reasonable and reasonable level of expectation, although they do expect to get things done and become a bigger club – they will be patient, but they want to see continued development.

“Kieran has been very well received, it’s not a bad time to come in, you don’t normally get a team that is at the top of the league, you normally get a team that is at the bottom of the league. This team is not at the bottom of the league and I think they have enough qualities to get into the top six.

“If he had been appointed in three months, it would have been very difficult for him.

“I think there is potential for the team to take off. This is a great opportunity for him because it is a very good club with a great tradition and a history that has gone on for too many years now in a bad place with the new owners, there is dynamism in what they are trying to do. “

Ipswich was last promoted to the Premier League in 2000 and had an incredible first season, finishing fifth and qualifying for Europe.

A year later, however, they were relegated and then slipped to Tier 3 in 2019.

A return to the elite level may seem like a long way off, but Hamilton knows enough about the Tractor Boys structure and has seen other examples of teams rise through the ranks to give him confidence that McKenna will have the tools available to make an impact.

“The club have been through such a long time where it hasn’t worked and what I believe is someone is going to be lucky,” said Hamilton, who will be celebrating his 75th birthday on New Years Eve. .

“They are going to have a very good club with a very good history and a group of players who can do better.

“I think they could do what Leeds United and Sheffield United have been doing in recent seasons.

“There are a lot of clubs of this ilk that have gone through indifferent times.

“I think the expectation right now is that they want to get into the league and in a roundabout way that’s smart speaking, because if the expectation is to win the Champions League it will be in the very long term.

“Kieran will have time and he will have the opportunity to show what he can do and what he can develop and I hope it works for him. It will be amazing and brilliant for him if it works.


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