McKenna leads Ipswich to Premier League.

Manchester United, external, and Ipswich Town lauded Kieran McKenna as “hugely talented” and “highly respected” when he departed Old Trafford to take the helm at Portman Road. While such accolades are often bestowed upon coaches transitioning into senior club management, McKenna has surpassed expectations in a remarkable manner.

Upon joining Ipswich, McKenna swiftly guided the team to consecutive promotions, achieving over 90 points in each campaign and netting an impressive 193 goals along the way. Now, at 37 years old, he leads Ipswich back to the Premier League for the first time since 2002, earning the chance to compete in what former captain Mick Mills termed “the promised land.”

Last summer, following their promotion from the third tier, Mills suggested that with a modest squad improvement of around 20%, Ipswich could contend for a top-six Championship finish. However, under McKenna’s coaching and astute recruitment, Ipswich consistently remained within the top six throughout the season, often occupying the top two spots.

What makes Ipswich’s achievement even more remarkable is their frugal spending on signings, reportedly only £4 million, compared to the significant investments made by their closest rivals, who benefited from the Premier League’s parachute payments. Despite this financial disparity, Ipswich’s success under McKenna’s leadership stands out, with a win percentage of 57%, surpassing even the most illustrious names in the club’s managerial history, including World Cup winner Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson. Unsurprisingly, McKenna was rightfully named Championship Manager of the Season last month.

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