Former City coach explains why he joined Ipswich Town
- Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd
When Paul Lambert's name flashed up on Matt Gill's phone with a job proposal, the former Norwich City coach did not expect him to offer him a role at Ipswich Town.
Gill was a highly rated member of City's academy coaching team and was overseeing the development of the U23s at Colney. The 40-year-old played a key role in the development of young stars like Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis.
The former midfielder played under Lambert at City and had kept in touch with the Scot since they both left Norwich.
When Lambert landed the role at Portman Road, he called Gill as he sought to put his backroom staff together in Suffolk.
"It was totally out of the blue," Gill revealed. "We'd kept in contact ever since I played for him and I'd been to visit him at a few of his old clubs so the call itself was a bit of a surprise. A good surprise.
"When he said it was Ipswich, it was an even bigger surprise but in football it's a small world and if an opportunity suits where you are at then you have to take it. I would imagine he has no regrets in taking it and I know that I certainly haven't."
Gill, who worked alongside Darren Huckerby in City's academy, left his role at Ipswich last month and is eyeing a return to the game as a first-team coach rather than a manager.
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Norwich have benefitted from a wealth of top talent emerging through their academy that Gill worked with. In Godfrey and Lewis' case, they became real assets for City before moving onto Premier League clubs whilst Aarons and Todd Cantwell have shown their quality in Farke's squad.
Developing and improving players is one of the sole reasons Gill decided to get into coaching after his retirement and speaks with real fondness about his time working in City's academy that included stints working with the U15s, 16s, 18s and 23s.
His decision to leave Norwich, a club he played for briefly as a youngster and then professionally under Lambert, was met with shock but Gill weighed up the opportunity and has no regrets about his choice to travel 45 miles and join Ipswich.
When asked whether crossing the divide was a difficult decision, Gill said: "It certainly was.
"There are a few reasons (why I decided to take it). I really loved what I was doing and if this offer hadn't come up at that point, I would like to think I would still be doing that job at Norwich. I loved that role with the 23s and my previous roles in the academy.
"I was keen to work in a first-team environment and to get the opportunity to do that at a Championship club at the time was something that ticked the box as far as me being ambitious.
"Another thing to take into consideration was its location. I have a young family and so that ticked a massive box for me. I knew I could live at home, be present for my kids and wife so that was a massive part of the decision also. I'd have 11 house moves in 17 years.
"Don't get me wrong, the decision to cross the divide is one that I didn't take lightly. I obviously got loads of stick for it. I came off Twitter the night before it got announced as I thought that was probably for the best.
"I didn't take it lightly but it ticked a lot of boxes for me, especially the family one. It was a tough decision but one that I wanted to take and really give my all."
Gill left Ipswich in May as Paul Cook pressed ahead with rebuilding the Suffolk club after another season of failing to reach the play-offs in League One.
When Farke arrived at Carrow Road, Gill's role as U23s boss was made permanent, and the two enjoyed a healthy relationship. The ex-City coach believes he will take a lot from Farke as he continues his progression elsewhere.
"I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Daniel, we had a few pre-season tours to Germany when I was there. The 23s team went along with the first-team
"I have taken loads from Daniel. The biggest thing I take is the consistency of approach. During the difficult period in his first season, he remained really consistent in the work that they did and how he approached everything that they did.
"Players are desperate for consistency and Daniel gave them that. As for mine and his relationship, I was lucky enough that he would let me sit in on team meetings and press conferences. He was really open to, not only helping young players, but young coaches and he was pretty supportive of my journey."