Reaction to the club pursuing Academy Category One Status

The Ipswich Town Supporters Trust welcomes and celebrates the Club’s announcement that it will actively be pursuing Category One status for the Ipswich Town Academy for the 2014/15 season. If successful, this will be a great step forward in restoring the club’s much-loved tradition for producing home-grown talent.

In recent years the Academy, though greatly strengthened with excellent coaches such as Bryan Klug, has sometimes struggled for funding to extend its students sporting and educational development. The Trust hopes that by pursuing Category One status, this work will be resourced in a more sustainable way.

At the time the original decision to pursue Category Two status was taken, the Trust put forward a structured business case for Category One being a better long-term option for Ipswich Town, and presented a petition signed by 5,000 Town fans, all of whom were passionately in favour of the retention of the top level of Academy and dismayed that any other option should be considered. Despite this, and despite the Trust demonstrating a more detailed understanding of The Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) and financial regulations than was apparent in some people who occupied senior positions in the Club at that time, our case was treated dismissively and patronisingly by the then Chief Executive Simon Clegg who stated that Category One was ‘unnecessary’. This week’s announcement demonstrates that Clegg’s failure to respect supporters’ views was an opportunity missed by Ipswich Town.

We hope the Club will now engage with the Trust in a more active and meaningful way, and make a commitment to working in partnership with the supporters whose passion and commitment to Ipswich Town is now being matched by Mick McCarthy’s ever-improving team. The Trust itself has recently welcomed Susan Gardiner, Joe Fairs, Grant Bage and Gavin Barber onto its Board and looks forward to welcoming more new members.

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