The sorry story of the Paul Hurst Curry Wurst

There’s a popular pub in Ipswich, The Greyhound, that always has a football-themed item on its matchday menu. For years, it was the Big Mick Burger, named after long-serving manager Mick McCarthy.

Sadly, McCarthy outstayed his welcome at Portman Road, and the once-popular burger became hard to swallow. McCarthy said he refused to be hounded out and would leave the club on his terms, and the pub responded in typical fashion.

Visiting Millwall fans, who had endured McCarthy as boss themselves some years before, also got in on the act after stopping for a pint before a game.

Not long after, the Yorkshireman walked out of Ipswich after a typically dour 1-0 home win over Barnsley. The Tractor Boys responded by appointing Paul Hurst, the man who had taken Shrewsbury to the brink of promotion to the Championship (and who now manages the Iron, of course).

In keeping with its menu tradition, The Greyhound sought opinions from customers about a tasty new matchday dish, and the Paul Hurst Curry Wurst was born. From the first game of the new season, the delicious spiced sausage and chips gave the Big Mick Burger a thrashing.

According to Dan Lightfoot, the pub’s landlord: “On the opening match, we sold 15 of the Paul Hurst Curry Wursts at lunchtime before kick-off. The much-maligned Big Mick, although delicious, was only managing six or seven sales as it clung on to our football specials board towards the end of his last season.”

Alas, early-season optimism under new boss Hurst soon evaporated among the Ipswich Town faithful. They had replaced a pragmatic, old-fashioned defend-at-all-costs boss with a younger manager who couldn’t win a game of football.

It’s a scenario familiar to fans at Scunthorpe United, where he’s now in charge and tasked with getting promotion. But the odds don’t look good. Far from improving, they’re lengthening by the week, and currently it’s 150/1 for the Iron to win League Two.

Under Hurst, Ipswich took 12 league games before recording an unlikely win at Swansea City in October. They never won again under him, and he was sacked after a 2-0 loss at Leeds two games later. Hurst had managed to pick up just 9 points from 14 league matches and Ipswich were rooted to the bottom of the table.

The news of his sacking was bitter-sweet to customers at The Greyhound. While Paul Hurst had become indigestible, the Paul Hurst Curry Wurst remained popular.

But times move on, and Ipswich appointed a new saviour in the shape of former Norwich manager Paul Lambert. You might think he’d have been hard to stomach for the success-starved Ipswich fans, but they loved him from the start (even though relegation was a certainty).

And the Greyhound promptly ditched the Paul Hurst Curry Wurst. In its place? Step forward the Paul Lambembert Burger. Say what? Well, it’s a scrummy lamb and herb burger served with a large dollop of melting camembert, rocket and cranberry jelly.

The pub announced excitedly: “Like Paul Lambert, the burger we have created in his name is a winner.

“We’re hoping Mr Lambert is a success at Portman Road and remains in the hot-seat for years to come because we’re running out of options for new dishes.”

So, there we have the sorry story of the Paul Hurst Curry Wurst and how it only came to grace a pub menu for three months. Meanwhile, the Paul Lambembert burger is still going strong. A year after Lambert’s appointment, Ipswich Town are top of the league (albeit League One) and the long-suffering supporters are loving their football for the first time in years.

Scunthorpe United appointed Paul Hurst as manager at the beginning of the current season. The team’s start has, putting it mildly, been indifferent. They were bottom of League Two in the early stages, although a minor recovery has since seen them rise to the heights of at least 22nd in the table.

Will Mr Hurst survive for much longer at The Sands Venue Stadium? Will his team rise to the challenge?

Let’s face it; they can’t do any wurst.

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