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Town Already Planning for Great Leap Forward
Town Already Planning for Great Leap Forward
Saturday, 3rd Sep 2011 09:40

Chief executive Simon Clegg says the Blues are already making plans for the off-field work which would be required if the club is promoted to the Premier League via an initiative named Project Leap. Town have been away from the top flight for almost a decade now and aspects of Portman Road need modernising, while some Premier League regulations have changed during that time.

Clegg says the club is determined not to be caught on the hop when they finally reach the promised land with only 10 weeks separating the play-off final and the start of the following season: “Project Leap has been around for a year and it’s an exercise for me and the department heads to start getting our minds around what the implications of Premier League football would be.

“What has to be done, how much it’s going to cost, what we would like to do and how much that would cost.”

Amongst the issues addressed so far is the requirement for Premier League away teams to be given 3,000 seats at Portman Road, which would take the current visitors' section in the Cobbold Stand around and beyond the central Block D which houses premium season ticket holders.

Fans in that area were surveyed at the Arsenal Carling Cup match last season – where the away support was at Premier League levels - to find out whether they would like to stay where they are or move after promotion. Clegg says they made their thoughts very evident: “We got a very clear and unequivocal message that they don’t want to move and are quite happy where they are come what may.

“Which is great. I gauged them, explained what the problem was and the implications of it, and gave them the opportunity of experiencing that and got their feedback as a result.”

Project Leap has also looked at the situation with the Portman Road pitch which has required major work for a number of years, despite recently departed groundsman Alan Ferguson still managing to provide a perfect surface.

The restoration, which would cost six figures and require work deep below the surface, wouldn’t be carried out immediately after promotion: “We wouldn’t be able to do that in time for Premier League football because the lead time is too long - you wouldn’t know that you’d been promoted when you'd have to start," explains Clegg.

“Therefore, where our mindset is now is that we would have to factor in major pitch renovations at the end of the first season that we’re in the Premier League, even if we were relegated."

Clegg says there are also plenty of other areas which will need to be assessed as part of Project Leap: “You can see the way my thinking is. There are all sorts of other things we’d need to do - media facilities for the Premier League, for example.”

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TractorMan added 10:08 - Sep 3
How about moving away fans to the lower or upper Churchmans? 3000 seats there and a more authentic away experience being behind the goal.

robdaful added 10:10 - Sep 3
"major pitch renovations at the end of the first season that we’re in the Premier League, even if we were relegated."

That's good. I was thinking that they wouldn't do it if we got relegated. Meaning this would be a waste of planning.

tractored added 10:15 - Sep 3
Some Chinese guy had a Great Leap Forward. How did that work out for him?

berkstractorboy added 10:22 - Sep 3
Thats all great and would be needed, but right now the major part that plan depends on is achieving promotion. And without being too negative we are a million miles from that!!

tractored added 10:26 - Sep 3
Its a bit like Bowden saying we were going to be in the Champions League

ITFC_Forever added 10:39 - Sep 3
TractorMan, have you seen how fans get to the Upper Tier? Through the same turnstiles as the Lower tier and past the entrance to Legends. It can't work.

itfcjc added 10:46 - Sep 3
Getting ahead of ourselves a bit we're not there yet

radiogaga added 10:47 - Sep 3
The best way to generate a better atmosphere at PR would be to have the away fans at the opposite end of the cobbold, next to the north stand! That would be brilliant!

ElvisMariner added 10:55 - Sep 3
Away fans next to the Sir Bobby Robson Stand would be great for the atmosphere at Portman Rd but I would be amazed if it ever happened.

jas0999 added 10:59 - Sep 3
Signing players before the transfer deadline on permanent deals would have helped Clegg.

4everblue added 11:05 - Sep 3
What a wonderfully heartwarming story that shows how that nice Mr Clegg is planning ahead. I love the touchy feely way he's "gauged" the current residents of the Cobbold stand. Amazed he could find them awake though, they always seem comatose during the game.

Seriously, turf the zombies out and move the away fans to the north stand end please.

RegencyBlue added 11:08 - Sep 3
Can we just get promoted first please!!!

blueoff added 11:33 - Sep 3
As for the pitch, take the opportunity to install undersoil heating like Norwich have, it would save that fiasco from happening again

Keaneish added 11:42 - Sep 3
It's a fairly simple equation. Season ticket holders in the Cobbold move to Churchmans to fill that up and give the top of the Cobbold to the away fans so there's some interaction with the North Stand.

Christ knows, in recent times we've needed that to generat atmosphere as seen at the Arsenal game although the vocal support has been better in the North Stand of Late.

brian_a_mul added 11:57 - Sep 3
This is great news! Again it shows the commitment of Mr Evens to the club.
We now have a top class training facility, youth academy and PR is a good ground, ~30000, + getting a make over in certain areas. Now we are really gearing up for long term success. PJ is an experienced manager and is a good manager to help us get to PL.

Good work Clegg + Mr Evens!

thechangingman added 12:17 - Sep 3
As an RE teacher I am always looking for metaphors that will help the kids to understand more complex issues.

The good news here is that if I ever need to illustrate the concept of 'blind faith' I'll be able to tell them the story about how Ipswich were getting themselves ready for life in the Premiership whilst having a washed-up, clueless manager and an ill-assembled bunch of, ahem, 'professionals'.

Comedy Gold.

beerhelps added 12:24 - Sep 3
So thats what they were doing while Norris and GMac contracts were running out, that alright then!

TractorMan added 12:30 - Sep 3
It's recognised that the Upper Cobbold has the best views in the ground, so tney arent going to turf out highly paying home fans for that chance that 3000 away fans might turn up. Not many in the PL have that kind of following away, maybe 6 teams?

trueblue97 added 12:37 - Sep 3
does anyone know hold you have to be to see matches without a parent?

HARRY10 added 12:41 - Sep 3
The more I hear the less confidence I have in Clegg. Any decent CE should be commissioning reports and feasibility studies and regularly updating them. This is nothing new. Merely standard practice (something that under the hapless Sheepshanks we failed to do, with distasterous results).

It is Clegg's wish to make this public, as if it is some dramatic change in focus or intent. Just like Sheepshank's flawed waffle about us being able to meet all repayments were we to be out of the PL, Bowden's Champions League boast and Keane's 'promotion in two years' declaration this once again makes him (and us) look foolish.

S why no project to work out what would be a suitable price to get fans into the the ground for the recent cup game - or how to fill the ten thousand plus seats that sit empty at every game ?

Or better still Project High Jump where we look for a replacement Chief Executive who knows something about football, football contracts and marketing, to bring back fans to Portman Road.

sereneblue added 13:34 - Sep 3
Why do people always seem to want the away fans stuck up the cobbold end nearest the north stand? I sit in the Cobbold and have one of the best views in the ground,why should I and many others have to move just so to satisfy the odd PL away supporters and so the North stand can have the occasional banter with the away fans. Before any North stand fans start to have ago at fans that sit in the Cobbold for being quiet,that is how we like to watch our football, we don't all want to stand and sing,which I understand that is what you occasionally like to do, which I respect. So try and have a little respect for fans in the ground other than those in the north stand.

scooterblue added 14:03 - Sep 3
realistically how many premier league clubs take 3000 fans away. other than the top 5 or 6 i don't think many other sides would bring that many.

johnhazlebum added 14:11 - Sep 3
Forget aout Project Great Leap Forward, mark up a folder called Players Contracts.

Keaneish added 14:36 - Sep 3
@ thechangingman - i believe some of those kids may identify Religious Education as blind faith and the validity of your argument may lose a bit of credibility so i wouldn't seek too hard for a metaphor on this one.

I would like to hear your reasons as to why you think Jewell is washed up at 46 though if i may? I think 3 promotions and a league cup final are credible enough accolades at that age. Maybe it's his fraternising and philandering which has offended your sensibilities?

arc added 14:37 - Sep 3
Presumably they also have a contingency plan for relegation. Ask about that one next time, Phil. That'll set the cat amongst the pigeons.

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