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[Blog] Why Simon Clegg Must Go
Written by SouperJim on Sunday, 12th Feb 2012 13:37

I've had my doubts about Mr Clegg for some time now, but the 50% refund fiasco he is currently presiding over has finally convinced me. He is a walking PR disaster who is doing immeasurable damage to our club. He must go and he must go NOW.

I've seen many derogatory posts about our chief executive, both on the forums and in news posts, over the last three years. Some have had merit, some less so, with most receiving varying amounts of opposition.

Often exactly why Clegg is such a poor chief exec has seemed hard to quantify, we aren't furnished with details on exactly what his day to day job is and what responsibility he does or doesn't have.

Some criticism he has received can also be put down to a simple class divide. However, for me there are now numerous concrete examples of how Mr Clegg's performance has been wholly inadequate and why Marcus Evans should pull the plug.

Firstly, you can argue that Simon is not a 'football man', that his experience as the British Olympic Association chief executive not directly relevant to his role here at ITFC.

What role did Simon play in bringing Roy Keane to this football club? Speaking shortly after his arrival, Clegg said Keane was "absolutely right for this football club" and would bring "promotion to the Premier League at the earliest opportunity".

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it is clear to most supporters that Roy Keane was absolutely wrong for this football club and the short-termist attitude to success we have shown since Simon walked through the door has undoubtedly seen us go backwards.

During Keane's tenure, all the noise coming out of the football club and indeed from Simon himself was that "decisions on transfers will be made collectively". Fast forward four transfer windows later and Keane is on his way out of the club having, by and large, wasted a small fortune on some very average players and having let the promising Jordan Rhodes leave for what could now be considered peanuts.

To top it all off, the contracts of the small handful of senior players who were keeping our heads above water had been allowed to run down without new deals being agreed. What was Simon Clegg's exact role in all of this?

Mr Keane's parting shot of "I made the mistake of agreeing to take the job before I met the chief executive" suggests that he at least considered some of the blame to belong at Clegg's door. Sour grapes? When asked why the club allowed their contracts to run down, Clegg would only say "I don’t really want to get into the specifics of it".

So, on to the Paul Jewell era. An end to the short-termist attitude? Project get-out-of-the-division-tomorrow-by-throwing-money-at-it finally shelved in favour of a little insight? Certainly that doesn't seem to have been the case up to the current transfer window, despite an apparent shift in Mr Clegg's involvement in transfers following the Charlie Austin debacle. With the player apparently in Simon's office and ready to sign, he was instead allowed to go and speak to Burnley, who didn't similarly squander their opportunity.

Not soon after, and Mr Clegg was at it again, this time upsetting contract negotiations with existing players by publicly stating that the club would not be "held to ransom", with the likes of Damien Delaney then suggesting that all he had been doing was patiently waiting at the end of a phone for Mr Clegg to show him a little courtesy rather than gobbing off to the press.

And so we come to more recent developments. After the 7-1 thrashing at Peterborough, Simon then managed to arguably turn what was an unusually in-touch decision to offer free coaches to Blackpool into another PR disaster. When asked, live on Radio Suffolk, what he would do for those supporters who couldn't attend the Blackpool game or had already spent money on travel arrangements, he stumbled over his spin-doctor's answer having been obviously unprepared for the question. Needless to say this left many supporters rather disgruntled. My issue here is not what the club did, but how it was delivered, much pomp and circumstance, but far less follow through.

This has now been followed up by similar gaffs such as his backing of the 'Supporters' Club rallying cry for certain fans to "grow up or stay away" (surely you should be showing a little guidance to those over-enthusiastic supporters Simon, not helping to drive a wedge through the fanbase) and his programme notes against Forest. Whilst we sat amongst the ruins of yet another failed promotion campaign, Simon proudly reassured us that he had been concentrating on the far more important business of giving the turnstiles a lick of paint. And I don't even have the energy to get into the rent agreement debacle.

Is Simon now simply an out-of-touch yes man, an incompetent spin-doctor and a powerless figurehead for Marcus Evans's drive to suck the life out of our club and turn us all in to happy consumers, filing silently through the (freshly-painted) turnstiles, wads of cash in hand?

But no, what’s this? A ticketing trial for the Middlesbrough game! Finally a little leadership Simon, finally a glimpse of a willingness to balance income against loyalty to the fanbase. A 25% reduction in ticket prices for those purchasing before the game, as a trial for a possible more permanent decrease if the increase in bums on seats shows promise.

Numbers were up, further buoyed by recent wins over West Ham and Coventry. In we all piled with a "Thank you Mr Clegg, aren't you a benevolent chief exec!" and then after half an hour, the game was off. The boos rang around Portman Road, why was the game allowed to begin if, freak changes in conditions aside, the pitch clearly wouldn't last the freezing temperatures until 5pm?

And against this backdrop of utter incompetence, it's Clueless Clegg to the rescue! Don't worry everybody, after paying 25% less to watch just 30 minutes of football, we'll only charge you 50% for the replay (travel costs aside and assuming you can make it)!

What a fantastic way to encourage those new fans that elected to take up the reduced-priced tickets! They'll be queuing up to fork out for the replay, safe in the knowledge that Mr Clegg has got their back. But it's not his fault folks, he is "guided by league regulations" and after all, the terms and conditions to cover this eventuality are printed on the back of your ticket, dear consumer.

Once again Mr Clegg proudly steps out onto the Radio Suffolk stage to be humiliated live on air, stumbling over his words as the presenter, very gently so as to not rock the boat, points out to Simon that this decision might not be well received. Furiously back-pedal Simon, tell us that you'll look at it in the coming days, despite the damage already being done and you being shown up once again as the completely out of touch dotard that you are.

The fans must come first, without us, there is no football club. This utter contempt for people who have supported the club, through thick and thin, for countless years must end here. We are not pound notes Simon, we are people and we pay your wages. Without us, you are nothing.

Mr Evans, if ever you needed an excuse to bring to an end this sorry tenure of 'our' chief executive, I would suggest you have it and I would urge you to act now, before Simon starts the avalanche that will finally bury your business model.




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TheDalaiFarmer added 20:33 - Feb 12
Pathetic
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BillBlue added 21:31 - Feb 12
Unfortunately, I have to agree with every word. Is it Mr. Evans lack of understanding of the situation or is there an ulterior motive. I, probably like a lot of fellow supporters, am becoming seriously worried but let us stay firmly behind the Manager and the team. A well written blog. COYB
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Kropotkin123 added 21:37 - Feb 12
I've had my doubts about the Clegg argument for some time now, but the capitalisation of 'now' has finally convinced me... the first two replies are spot on!
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smurfsareblue added 21:39 - Feb 12
I Have supported the club through thick and thin for 35 years (J Duncan, Graham Harbey etc). Due to having 2 small kids, one on the way and having been between jobs for a couple of months last year, cash flow is at an all time low. Therefore I have to pick and choose my games now. Could not make Saturday for a number of reasons and for the first time that I can remember I can't really get motivated to spend cash going back to PR (although because I am addicted to ITFC I will no doubt waste more of my hard earned cash in the not too distant future).

If we forget Saturday and the furore around the stupid, ill thought out, off the cuff - screw you, comments of Simon Clegg (think before you speak and if you have nothing good to say Mr Clegg then please don't bother), then the issues that need to be looked at are as follows -

ITFC charge too much to watch football for supporters who a season ticket is out of the question (due to work or travel comitments, family commitments etc).

1) Why if I decide at the last minute that I can get to the game and pay on the door on the day, does it cost up to £2.50 on top of the normal over-inflated price?
2) I support ITFC not the opposition, why have different price category games for matches that are seemingly 'more attractive' but essentially Championship football league games?
3) although I applaud the idea of a discounted (win the old fans back & attract new ones) offer for reduced ticket prices, I am somewhat sceptical at the timing - The worst weather forcast since the season kicked off and Clegg seems to be intimating that future ticket prices will be assesed on whether the trial works and whether fans flood back off the back of this.
4) Why Have a new kit each year - stitch fans up a bit more often!!
5) Why Spend the whole transfer window trying to stitch up a club on their knees by trying to steal 3 of their players for peanuts as 'they need the dosh' and then end up with nothing more than 1 cheap (althout may be a diamond in the rough) midfielder we do not need as much as some defenders!

I will no doubt be slated by some people on this site for being a fan who does not go to every game (see reason above) and be wingeing and wining, however the above issues are just a small % of the reason why historically die hard fans like myself have had enough and why less than 2/3ds of the stadium are full each week!

I appreciate that Mr Evans has thrown a lot of cash at the club, but it is not my fault he decided to trust a couple of managers to waste his cash unwisely, it is not my fault that he was happy to ignore players contracts running out leaving income from future sales of said players dissapear. It is not my fault that he speaks when he feels like it and seems like to does not give a monkeys about the white elephant he has bought and is destroying.

Sack Clegg, speak to the media more often in a manner that seems that you care about the paying fans (I care not that we see your face), give us a plan - where do you want this club to be in 1/2/5 years and tell us how you intend to get there!!

Give EVERY fan who bought a ticket to attended (in blody cold weather) a FREE ticket to the replay OR the next game they can attend.

Stop taking the p11s by trying to take more cash out of the supporters to make up for the losses of the incompetent management from top to bottom of this once admired and loved club.

Rant over - I await the backlash with interest

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SouperJim added 00:15 - Feb 13
I see a couple of trolls from the forum have turned up, guess I must really be on to something! Thanks for the thought provoking counter arguments fellas, I'll leave it up to others to decide who the pathetic jerkoids are.
0

singtown added 03:23 - Feb 13
Cleggy should pay the 50% on behalf of all town fans returning for the replay!
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ozzydog added 07:13 - Feb 13
smeghead has proved time and time again that he is simply not up to the job.



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RegencyBlue added 08:35 - Feb 13
Excellent Blog.

Clegg is a walking public relations disaster. If there is a wrong way of approaching something he finds it!

Our only hope is that after the Olympics have finished Evan's need for Cleggs contacts will be at an end and he can be consigned to the dustbin of history where he belongs!!
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Happy2bBlue added 11:30 - Feb 13
Excellent blog, spot on. The incompetance and arrogant attitude of this bloke is staining our club, he should go before even more damage is done. It's no wonder that none of our transfer targets want to join us.
1

Lightningboy added 11:56 - Feb 13
All Clegg has done since he's been here is alienate the supporters..if ME has any sense then he'll send him packing at the end of yet another dismal season..we need a chief exec who has Ipswich connections..surely there's an ex-player who can fill the role?
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tractored added 12:03 - Feb 13
I knew he was rubbish as soon as he made his " small club to the North" comments they are all right for fans to make but not for someone representing the club. Anyone who knows football, which he doesn't, knows that comments like that will come back and bite you on the ass.
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Marshalls_Mullet added 12:33 - Feb 13
Tractor red..... was that after Sir Alex referred to City as the 'noisy neighbours'?

I think Sir Alex was in a better position to say it after 20 years of success.

Was probably Clegg trying to have the same impact.
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Wickets added 13:03 - Feb 13
Top Blog well done Jim, i too agree with every word.
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Behind_Enemy_Lines added 13:35 - Feb 13
Well said at least some people on here can see the wood through the trees, as for the first two comments it just sums them up themselves, yes they are pathetic and most definetly jerkoids !!!!
1

Wickets added 14:04 - Feb 13
Sheepy, Bowden, men of stature, men with tact, men you could trust, now we have Simon Clegg!!!!!!!
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Pip50 added 19:54 - Feb 13
Morons it's all about money get over it.

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Whymarktonomarks added 20:07 - Feb 13
Great blog mate ,supported by an equally great post from SouperJim .
Couldn't agree more with all your comments ,especially the 'Pompey' debacle , so there's not a lot more that I could add .
As previously been mentioned ,we are not really 'privvy,' to Clegg's day job details , but ,whatever they maybe , has there actually been any positives relating from a Cleggs ill fated judgements ?
If there has ,then they are surely outweighed by all the negatives .
One more thing , apparently a championship club such as Ipswich ,cannot afford to have undersoil heating installed , according to Cleggy , so why don't you do us all a favour , do one and use next Months salary to pay for it as a 'parting gesture.'
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pointofblue added 21:55 - Feb 13
It's not about the money per se, more about the complete mess Simon Clegg has made of Public Relations, and on more than one occassion. Maybe all we need is Clegg to take a step back and for someone who can think on their feet to handle PR. The idea of PR is to make things better...Simon Clegg continually manages to make things worse. And again he has driven a wedge in the fanbase instead of uniting us.
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Greybritain added 08:47 - Feb 14
Decent read Souper.
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itfc1981 added 11:21 - Feb 14
Superb account of all Cleggy's failings over the last three years. People easily forget how many gaffs he has made. Putting them all together in one peice really brings it all home.

He is out of touch. Only a couple of months ago he said he thought Rhodes wont make Championship standard. Can Marcus Evans afford to have him in charge of Portman Road for much longer?
1

dirtyboy added 13:06 - Feb 14
There's not a bottomless pit of money.

Important FACTS

1 The referee called off the game

2 The club has to pay wages, player appearance bonuses etc

Now, understanding the above two items (I could probably go on, but let's keep things simple) a 50% reduction is a generous offer.

You'll be the first person on here moaning when the financial statements are released and we're losing money and Evans decides he's had enough.

This club HAS to be able to support itself, Evans is not a free ride forever.

It's a business decision that has the best interests of the club.

The transfer issues I can agree with to a degree, but whose fault it really is? I don't know, again, maybe he is doing the right thing.?

Two sides.


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SouperJim added 13:14 - Feb 14
Just to follow this up, I think the ticket offer now on the table following the Middlesbrough game is actually quite fair. Simon could have offered more however and it's not true that you can't please everyone, if he had offered the choice of a full refund or free entry to the rematch then I don't think anyone could really criticise that offer. What has now been offered is a decent enough gesture, but it should have been the offer from the beginning. Clegg should not have talked to the press early doors without having a clear message, nor should he have suggested that 50% off was all the club could offer or attempted to hide behind league regulations the way he did. The new offer now puts the lie to his earlier words and shows him up to be the slimy spin doctor that he is.

Whichever way you cut it this has been another PR disaster from Mr Clegg. I would ask his apologists this:- would the club have made these new discounts if it wasn't for the outcry amongst supporters? I highly doubt it. And for those who would label us supporters who don't just lie down and take out medicine as whingers, unfortunately that is what the Marcus Evans approach has forced us to be. The club simply will not look after our interests in the same way the Cobbolds did, so unless we want to be shafted we must continue to stick up for ourselves and let our voice be heard. It doesn't make us anti-itfc.
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BlueBadger added 16:45 - Feb 14
So hang on, the club roll out a discount deal, which they don't have to do as will be a loss-leader, the game is abandoned, so they refund fans and offer the same(or even a better one, if you were there) deal. He backs the supporters club against a minute minority of idiots nd a few players go to richer or better placed clubs?

What have the romans ever done for us?
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SuperReuser added 17:58 - Feb 14
I always enjoy the TWTD blogs but this has to be the most pathetic, deluded blog I have ever read.

I appreciate you have spent time on this, and also appreciate that this is your opinion but I believe the job Simon Clegg does for our football club as CEO is good. Yes I agree, wouldnt it be lovely if we could all get free tickets to every game. To ask fans to pay £5-£10 for the next fixture is very reasonable. Too many clubs go into administration these days (look at Pompey, Darlington, Rangers) and it is essential clubs generate revenue to avoid this.

Whilst I do believe Ipswich ticket prices are too high, and I believe a reduced ticket price would encourage more people to attend matches (not reducing profit in any way and probably benefitting the lads on the pitch) Clegg clearly has a lot of experience and in most cases knows what he is doing, probably a lot more than 95% of us on this forum.

People are too quick to blame Clegg when actually, none of us have any idea how to run a football club or what goes on behind closed doors. A job like his is always going to be viewed negatively by the fans as he is the one who has to make the decisions which in modern day football are often critisised.

Through all the 'Jewell Outs' I always stuck by Jewell, and through all the 'Clegg outs' I will stick by him too as he has not done a lot wrong.
-1

Whymarktonomarks added 19:02 - Feb 14
Firstly ,great posting 'Smurfsareblue.'
Apologies for screwing up my praises .
Secondly ,for those of you who disagree with the blogger ,and at the risk of being a 'Jerkoid,' I don't think that Cleggs expertise in running large concerns is the issue ,but the fact that his mouth doesn't give a chance for his Brain to engage first ,is .
Im not an expert in Cleggs CV ,but understanding and endering himself to a Football Clubs heartbeat does not seem to be on his priority list and until he puts the fans closer to the top of it he will continue to attract criticism .
Meanwhile ,all you posters , we all have differing opinions ,but , we all share the same passion that is ITFC ., so why be so aggresive ?
If the 'Bloggers' did not care ,they wouldn't be wasting their time on here .
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