Monday, June 2, 2014
Former Ipswich Town boss Joe Royle is already looking forward to East Anglian derby day after joining Norwich City as a ‘football consultant’.
The 65-year-old has been out of the game since 2009 but was one of the first people that Neil Adams called when he was appointed full-time Canaries boss in April.
Adams was one of the star players in Royle’s Oldham team which won promotion to the top-flight in 1991 and he was keen to be reunited with his former mentor.
Everton legend Royle twice led Ipswich Town to the play-offs as manager (2004 and 2005), despite the club going into administration following their relegation from the Premiership. He finished his playing career at Norwich City, injuries limited his appearances for the Norfolk club.
In an exclusive interview with the EADT and Ipswich Star, Royle said: “I signed Neil as a player, he was a great servant during those halcyon days at Oldham, a major player, and we have always kept in touch.
“I congratulated him when he won the FA Youth Cup with Norwich a few years ago because that was such a great achievement when you consider who much money the big clubs spend on recruiting kids.
“He called me as soon as he got the job, asked me if I wanted to join him and I just said ‘I’m there’.
“I’ve been looking to get back into the game, but when you’re over 60 there is this perception that you are out of touch or have lost your marbles.
“There have been one or two possibilities in recent years, but it was nice that Neil and David McNally (Norwich chief executive) came to me.”
Asked if he was worried that the decision to join Norwich would taint his reputation among Ipswich fans, he quipped: “I don’t know about that, I seem to remember a few of them booed me when I first went there!
“Joking aside, I have great affection for both clubs. I never disrespected Norwich while I was Ipswich manager and I won’t be disrespecting Ipswich now I’m at Norwich.
“They are both fine clubs that are run by good people. There’s nothing I’d like more than for both clubs to go up next season and for the East Anglian derby to return to the Premier League.”
He continued: “I’m obviously looking forward to the derby games next season. I think both clubs should be up there challenging for promotion.
“Ipswich had a good season under Mick McCarthy and seem to be going in the right direction, while Norwich have the nucleus of a side that only went down by three points.”
On what his role as ‘football consultant’ will entail, Royle said: “Anything Neil wants me to help him with really. I’ve already met with him and some of the board to discuss transfer targets and few enquiries have already gone in.
“It’s important to say that the manager will always have the final say, as should always be the case.”