IT was the stuff of fairytales. The local boy who proved himself on the Premiership and international stage returns to his roots.
Kieron Dyer, the prodigal son, is back home.
But stepping outside the bubble of euphoria, I asked myself: ‘Does Ipswich Town need Kieron Dyer, or does Kieron Dyer need Ipswich Town?’
It sounds a harsh analysis to make for a returning hero, but when you consider we realistically have nothing to play for in the month he is here, he clearly wasn’t fit enough to start two successive games and is preventing emerging talent Luke Hyam from playing, maybe it isn’t so harsh a train of thought.
Darren Ambrose and James Scowcoft will both testify that ‘going back’ doesn’t always work out – also see Robbie Fowler.
Kieron told himself he would leave his Ipswich career on that strange night where his goals were unable to prevent play-off heartbreak against Bolton. But, he returns to Portman Road nearly 12 years on unable to push his way into a relegation-threatened West Ham team and having only played 90 minutes of football 15 times in the last five years.
Avram Grant clearly sees his month at Ipswich as an exercise in regaining fitness and rejuvenating Dyer for the Hammers run-in.
But Dyer is the one who holds the cards here, with his contract expiring in the summer and living closer to IP1 than E13. In a way, like Jimmy Bullard, this is hardly a gamble from Paul Jewell. If he picks up an injury, he goes back. It fails to work out, we move on.
But it is a real statement of intent. Why Roy Keane couldn’t attract the Jimmy Bullards and Kieron Dyers is one of the reasons he is not here anymore. Instead, he bemoaned the geography of the club and the tightness of the purse strings, which were tightened by distrust.
Only time will tell on this one, but an ageing injury-prone midfielder should not be signed above wages for the elusive goalscoring striker next season. Just one win in the last seven games, following a stoic 0-0 draw at Leeds and the crushing 3-0 defeat at home to bogey-side Watford on Tuesday, has only yielded a miserable four goals.
With season ticket brochures due to drop on doorsteps anytime now, Simon Clegg and Marcus Evans will have fingers crossed Jewell gets his players to rediscover their shooting boots at home to a now managerless Scuthorpe, on Saturday (3pm).
Finally play Connor Wickham up front, and give Dyer a licence to thrill off the wing, and we should not be staring at our fourth home game without a win. If Dyer’s return was a PR triumph, that would surely be a PR disaster.