Academy: Road To Category One Status

A year appears to be a long time at Portman Road. For it appears today from comments attributed to Bryan Klug that the Club is considering upgrading to Category One status in the Academy structure, something the Trust argued for extensively which was supported by the fanbase with a 5,000 strong petition.

Former Chief Executive, Simon Clegg, criticised the Trust at the time claiming that we, the supporters, did not understand all that was required despite the Trust having sight of the rulebook and having read the requirements in some detail before making any statement.

Our statement at the time read as follows;

“The Trust is very disappointed that today Simon Clegg, the Chief Executive of our football club, has confirmed that Ipswich Town FC will not be applying for Academy Category One status for next season. Town have opted for Category Two in the Elite Player Performance Programme (EPPP) reorganisation of youth football which comes into effect this summer. The Trust campaigned for the club to proceed with Category One and feel that this is a short-sighted step to make. We understand that going for Category One would be an extra financial burden on the club but we believe that in the long term, producing the majority of our own players is the way forward for this club.”

So what has changed, other than the Chief Executive? Well maybe it is a greater understanding of the impact the introduction of the Football Fair Play rules will have because while expenditure on the Academy is excluded from the Fair Play rules. However, within the Trust, we always felt that Academy Expenditure would be excluded by the Football League, as it had been by UEFA in their long-published Financial Fair Play Rules. The Trust foresees a greater emphasis on youth development, something that has always been close to the hearts of Ipswich Town supporters. For many fans the sight of home grown talent such as Luke Hyam is a far bigger boost than buying in expensive talent not schooled in the “Ipswich way.” We also anticipate that the average age of sides in the championship may reduce because younger players are often less expensive than older more established players.

Ironically, Carl Day, chairman of Ipswich Town 1streiterated the Trust’s support for Category One status on About Anglia Tv last night ahead of today’s announcement from Bryan Klug. The Trust believes the Academy is the lifeblood of our football club and we would support any move towards Category One status


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