Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has delivered a defiant message to a section of Ipswich fans who 'hounded' him away from the club last year.
McCarthy spent six years managing the Championship club until 2018 when it ended in explosive circumstances. He was on the receiving end of vitriolic abuse from a section of Town fans after a 1-0 defeat against Brentford and was asked to leave via the back door after the game due to fans waiting to 'throw bottles' at him.
It all centred on the style of football McCarthy's team were demonstrating. Fans demanded a more attractive brand and eventually, McCarthy left.
A year later, Ipswich got their wish when the club played better football but were relegated from the Championship. Speaking at the launch of the SportsDirect FAI Summer Soccer Schools, McCarthy tells Balls.ie it's a conclusion he takes no satisfaction in, having enjoyed his spell with the club.
I was doing a good job there. My job is to win games and stay in that league was my remit, and that's what I continue to do.
I'm sad that they've gone down. Some of the lads are taking huge cuts in wages who were with me and who were brilliant for me. The staff, I've no doubt people will be losing their jobs because of it so that's going to be sad. It's a great club and pretty much most of their fans were brilliant with me. The ones that hounded me out, I hope they enjoy watching the sexy football in the first division.
A positive start to his second reign as Ireland boss has McCarthy in a positive mood moving forward. With an away trip to Denmark on the horizon, the task only gets tougher from here.
Further good news comes in the form of an inspired Shane Long. The Southampton striker has returned to form and made history this week with the fastest ever goal in the Premier League. It's a development that has McCarthy delighted: “He can have a real impact because of his physical presence and his work rate and his power and pace."
Long's return poises the question of what position he plays in. Given David McGoldrick's superb showings, a shift to 4-4-2 could be on the cards.
Yet, as is clear from his stint with Ipswich, McCarthy's mind will not be influenced by external factors.
Some chump said to me: "you got to get two up front". Fucking hell. We played two up front in Gibraltar and had hardly any shots. We played three against... we played one up front, well, three up front we played here. We had far more chances and played better.
It was just a different game, one team sitting in and making it hard, the other team we had pressing. Who knows where they're going to fit in.
Never swayed, always certain.
Places can be booked at www.summersoccerschools.ie for the Sports Direct FAI Summer Soccer Schools around the country.