McKenna’s New Ipswich Deal Ahead Of Premier League Adventure

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With injury ending his professional playing career early, Kieran McKenna was not a well known name within wider footballing circles, so plenty of fans were intrigued when he turned up at Portman Road to take on his first managerial job with Ipswich Town.

Having joined the club in late December of the 2021/22 campaign, their turn in form was very noticeable, ending the season with seven wins (and seven clean sheets) in their final ten matches – which more than built on their eleven game unbeaten run in February and March.

It was not enough for promotion though, McKenna had to wait until 2022/23 for that success to arrive, and their promotion from League One into the Championship was confirmed in late April as they had mathematically secured automatic promotion and ended the season in second place.

McKenna’s side started the 2023/24 campaign exactly where they had left off, and once again by the end of the campaign they had secured their promotion into the Premier League, by again snaring second place in the table. In the two years he has been in charge, Ipswich have accumulated 194 points, scoring 193 goals and they became the first side since Southampton way back in 2012 to secure back to back promotions into the top flight.

Despite Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion expressing firm interest in him this summer, this week the 38 year old former Northern Ireland Under 21 midfielder again committed to a new and improved contract extension (four years) to bring an end to the speculation surrounding his future.

Despite the rumour mill suggesting even just a week ago that McKenna would likely turn a new deal down as he looked for pastures new, that always felt a little bit off when you looked at the reality of the situation. The 2024/25 will not see Ipswich installed as favourites for survival given the gap that exists between the two divisions, he has never managed at that level before, and the season basically becomes a free hit for him to learn from. For Ipswich, with the increased financial revenues on offer, it’s an opportunity to really lay foundations for more sustained growth in the future.

Leaving for the pressures of Brighton, and particularly Chelsea, just felt like a no brainer from the start given his development path, as he has basically now put himself in a position where he absolutely cannot lose reputation wise next campaign, irrespective of what actually happens.

Ipswich fans will definitely be looking forward to whatever ride will now greet them.

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