Two weeks ago the situation looked as dark as ever at Ipswich and it looked like Paul Jewell had to do something radical to turn things around.
It was obvious that the Liverpudlian manager wouldn’t last until January if the results didn’t start to improve and I came to the logical conclusion that Jewell had two options; either rebuild the team with loans and free transfers or make radical changes to his tactics.
The other conclusion I came to was that loan signings and free transfers were not the long-term solution but it seems like the 48-year-old Ipswich boss feels otherwise.
The previous loan signings of Giovanni Dos Santos, Keith Andrews and Jimmy Bullard were all useful in the short-term but did not help the club in the long-term. If there are bigger problems at the club then loan signings aren’t the solution.
The same applies with free transfers, normally there is no problem with picking up a player out of contract but if a player has waited until October to find a club then there is good reason to be skeptical.
You have to think; if this player loves playing football and has a lot of talent then why has he sat around for months waiting for a club to sign him?
The answer is that the player is waiting for a club like Ipswich to start struggling so he can exploit them. As soon as a manager like Jewell is desperate, he will give the player whatever wages he can in an attempt to keep his job. It is obvious that Reo-Coker has played his cards well and he has secured himself a contract that lasts only until January. This means that the midfielder keeps his options open and has nothing stopping him from moving on to better things later in the season.
I pointed out the issues with these signings two weeks ago and since then Jewell has signed an additional four loan players and signed Nigel Reo-Coker on a free transfer.
On paper it looks like great news for Ipswich as the club can now put names like DJ Campbell, Danny Higginbotham, Richie Wellens, Bilel Mohsni and Reo-Coker on their team sheet.
However, any Ipswich fan will know all too well you don’t win football matches with just a good team on paper. In fact the names are almost the least important part of a successful team. Everything needs to be perfect, from the tactics to the harmony within the squad and only once those are right can the club start to think about promotion.
Ipswich have started every season with relatively big names by Championship standards but they have struggled to even bring the club a mid table finish because they only ever have the names and they forget what else is needed.
So whilst these new loans and free transfers may improve results temporarily and bring the team out of the relegation zone they won’t help Ipswich avoid their usual mid table finish. If Ipswich want to break free from mid table obscurity then they need to change their philosophy and come into games with a different approach tactically.
Jewell has done a decent job in the transfer market and he has secured some great signings without spending as much as previous managers like Roy Keane did. The former Wigan man clearly has a good eye for bargains and this is without doubt his strongest attribute as a manager.
Unfortunately the Ipswich manager hasn’t had much success with any other part of the job as the team have always been a step behind their opposition tactically and are figured out too easily once the season gets going. If Ipswich are to improve then they have to look at becoming more tactically astute rather than changing their personnel.