ACADEMY PETITION PRESENTED TO SIMON CLEGG
Delivering the fan’s petition to the club prior to the Cardiff game on Saturday (18th Feb 2012) the Trust Chairman, Carl Day, told Chief Executive Simon Clegg “the Academy is the cornerstone of all things Ipswich Town, has a proven past and in a very short space of time over 5000 fans had signed up to urge the Club to commit to securing a Category One Academy as the best way of securing the future of the Club.”
In the half hour meeting with the Chief Exec, who was accompanied by Academy Sponsorship Manager, Simon Milton, Carl, and Trust committee member Graham Steel, acknowledged that Football League Clubs have been pushed into a corner by the aggressive tactics of the Premier League in threatening to withhold payments to the Football League if they do not agree to the adoption of the Elite Player Performance Plan.
Simon Clegg maintained there is a “tipping point” in the calculations about which option to pursue; Simon Clegg suggested, as an example that should it cost £10m a year to run a Category One facility this would bring the Club back into administration. Carl Day pointed out that the Trust would be interested to learn how this has been calculated and why owner Marcus Evans, who is the only owner of the clubs debt, therefore the only one who could put the club back into administration; would call in his loans to the club.
Simon Clegg mentioned that we didn’t have all the facts, in fact he didn’t have all the facts yet; therefore the Trust couldn’t possibly understand the complexities involved in such a decision; Carl Day was able to point out that the Trust had in fact managed to obtain copies of the documentation and had a better understanding then he had thought.
Mr Clegg said the future of the Academy was his number one priority at this time and whilst no decision had been taken he was committed to “the very best academy for the long term interests of the Club.” When a decision had been made he said that the Official Supporters Club would be informed before any public announcements on the Club web site.
Simon Clegg stated that the Official Supporters Club is independent of ITFC, however the Trust Chairman pointed out that funding and membership of the Official Supporters Club is generated by the club; season ticket holders and gold club membership automatically makes you a member, therefore not that independent and in fact a part of ITFC (as stated on the Supporters Clubs own website www.itfcsupporters.co.uk ).
The Trust welcomes the decision to “go for the best”; a step beyond the aim for a “quality” academy, Mr Clegg’s position of just two weeks ago. Continued pressure based on sound argument will bring about Category One and forge ahead with the rich tradition of the football club developing its own players to the highest standard.