Ipswich Town have had a week of good news and bad news. The bad news is that Paul Jewell’s main transfer target Joel Ward turned down the chance to sign for Ipswich and chose to sign for Crystal Palace.
However, the good news is that Ipswich have now made their first summer signing in Macclesfield right back Elliot Hewitt. The young Welshman turned 18 years old on Wednesday and this signing shows Ipswich are heading in the right direction.
Joel Ward put in some very encouraging performances at the back for Portsmouth last season and at 22 years of age he looked like just what Ipswich needed. Many see the club’s failure to sign Ward as bad news but others are actually pleased that the club failed to lure the former Portsmouth man to Ipswich.
If Joel Ward did sign for Ipswich he would have been joining the club for the wrong reasons. Over the last few seasons the Ipswich squad has consisted mainly of players who clearly don’t care about playing for the club and are only playing for the money. Their lack of passion and desire to play for the club was always clear to see.
It was obvious that Grant Leadbitter never cared about Ipswich because he only started to play well when his contract was coming to an end and he needed to sell himself to other clubs by playing well. Joel Ward is not necessarily in the same category as Leadbitter as he turned down higher wages to join Crystal Palace and be closer to his family. However, if Ward did accept Jewell’s offer it wouldn’t have been for the right reasons and it would have showed in his performances on the pitch.
The great thing about this week has been that Ipswich have signed a player who looks like he will be proud to wear an Ipswich Town shirt. Elliot Hewitt is exactly the right type of player fans have been crying out for. A young lad with the desire to make a name for himself and more importantly a desire to play for Ipswich. Picking the gems out from the lower leagues is a far superior transfer policy to what Ipswich used to do when they only searched for players in Premier League Reserve teams.
It seems that Paul Jewell may well have learnt the lesson that other managers have failed to. If he keeps up this transfer policy then there will be a different atmosphere at Portman Road next season. Fans will turn up to the games and see the team play with passion and determination whether they win or lose. It will be refreshing for the fans to see a new attitude within the team after so many years of seeing failed Premier League players lug around the fine pitch.
A change in the teams work rate and philosophy won’t come with just one signing though.
It is concerning to think that Paul Jewell once named Grant Leadbitter as his Ipswich captain. At the time myself and most other fans were unhappy with the decision as I can’t think of a worse player to captain the side. It can hardly be inspiring for the team to play under a captain who doesn’t care about the club. Thankfully Paul Jewell did strip Leadbitter of his captaincy later on in the season and all we can do is hope that he has learnt his lesson. The next few signings will shape the team for next season and whilst the signings don’t necessarily need be young they need to want to play for Ipswich.