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Trust Launches Academy Petition
Trust Launches Academy Petition
Tuesday, 10th Jan 2012 08:48

Ipswich Town Ist, the Supporters Trust, have set up a petition calling on the club to opt for Category One Academy status. The Blues are still to decide whether to choose Category One or the cheaper Category Two with other clubs, including Norwich City, already having committed to the former.

To add your name to the petition, click here. Last week, the Trust released a statement outlining the importance of the club taking up the more expensive Category One option.

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jutty added 09:06 - Jan 10
Category One is essential for a club, the thought of loosing our brightest prospects to other clubs, especially Nodge is unthinkable

carsey added 09:14 - Jan 10
ME thought he was going to come in here, get to the Premier League, gain some relatively cheap advertising and expensive clients then bugger off. Neither he or Clegg have any interest in ITFC outside of making money if they did they wouldn't even be asking the question about academy status. This club is doomed and it is only a metter of time before we get dumped in a real financial mess so our academy will be irrelevant.

Bleedingblue added 09:17 - Jan 10
Can we still do this if we're in league 1 next season Phil?

AndrewPC added 09:26 - Jan 10

So far you are in a minority of one here. So I would like to offer my support. The decision must be one taken on a value for money basis. That requires conducting a thorough analysis of ALL the facts. If not all the details on the rights and obligations of each category statu are yet available, then it is at least premature for supports to get on their high horses and cry out for category 1.

Of course, we want to see the club get back to actively supporting, developing and using highly talented young players. But that statement of intent must be delivered in practice through careful expenditure of scarce (financial and also know how) resources.

Let us wait and see what comes out finally before rushing into emotional decisions. Also, I assume that nothing rules out starting with a 2 status and monitoring the success or otherwise of others with 1 status to see if it is justified.

Bergholtblue added 10:10 - Jan 10
What's the point of any academy? Its not like the youngsters have any chance of playing in the first team is it, well not unless they hang around until they are 31.

BOjK added 10:41 - Jan 10
(cross-posted from the forum)

The problem with is that we don't know any of the facts.

We don't know how much a Category 1 academy will cost to run.
We don't know how much a Category 2 academy will cost to run.
We don't know if we sign up to a Category 1 academy if we'd be able to downgrade to a Category 2 in the event of relegation or ME not funding us.

Crucially we don't know if a rich owner will be allowed to subsidise the academy or will that money would mean we break the financial fair play rules.

If it costs £2m a season to run a Cat 1 academy, and that money can't come from ME's pockets, then that's money that we just can't afford. It isn't the fault of Evans or Clegg, and it isn't ITFC turning it's back on our rich heritage of youth development.

It may well just be that the FA in their infinite wisdom have made it virtually impossible for us to run a Cat 1 academy with the income stream we have, and no number of signatures on a petition, no amount of chanting, no amount of boycotting or waving of bedsheets would change that. Sadly.

One more point. The Trust (and many fans) are worried about what would happen to the club should ME leave, or run out of money or lose interest in financing a loss-making football club where he is increasingly unpopular with some fans who (bizarely) resent not seeing his face. Whilst Evans monies are used to sign expensive players on short term contracts we are actually pretty unexposed to such an evantuality. We aren't comitting to a large payroll bill in the coming seasons because we have few players tied up on expensive long contracts. The academy though is a long-term decision and would leave us much more exposed.

Should we get relegated at the moment and ME cut the cord, we'd probably be able to survive as we'd be able to reduce our wage bill very quickly.

Whether we'd be able to survive as a going concern in Division 3 with a Category 1 academy and no benefactor is much less clear.

Regrettably it is not a surprise to me that the trust seem unable to think through all this.

saffronblue added 10:55 - Jan 10
BOjK, well said, would like to know the facts before a knee jerk reaction. If the fans want a choice let Cleggy tell us how much it would add to our season tickets if we opted for a Class 1 and take a vote on that.

jonwillpott added 11:33 - Jan 10
What a load of rubbish some of you above speak!!! Firstly, if ME pulled the plug we would be in administration whether we fund a Cat 1 academy or not.....we have a debt in excess of £60M now, so that point is totally irrelevant. The reason we are not seeing any of the youngsters come through the ranks like we used to is because we have been unable to attract the top prospects here to develop and are already working as a 'second rate' academy. I went to watch the U18's last weekend and there was not one player (apart possibly from Maduako) who stood out from the crowd as a player who can make the step up in time. As well as not being able to attract the top prospects anymore we do not have the fantastic coaching skills we had when Bryan Klug was in charge - why do you think Spurs are now an emerging force with quality young players in there ranks??? The debt this club has means we cannot pay out vast sums in transfer fees for the class players we need to move forward - that is why PJ was restricted to bringing in all those 30+ has beens that everyone is now moaning about!!! So how do you think we can get this club back to where we should be if we only have a second class academy?? - bringing through quality youngsters (like we have done in the past) is the only way - the only way we are going to do this is being a Cat 1 Academy and bring in the best coaches to develop the talent properly (as we once did!!). The cost should not be an issue as the difference between Cat 2 and Cat 1 would be more that offset in the value of players on our books in due course. What long term assets do we hold at the moment - apart from Cresswell and possibly Carson I struggle to think of anyone!!

BOjK added 11:45 - Jan 10
Jonwillpott - try thinking about the difference between an internal and an external debt. If ME was to decide he couldn't afford to (od didn't want to) subsidise us on an annual basis we wouldn't go into admin. What would happen was we'd end up with a smaller number of players on lower salaries. Which may be better or may be worse.

If ME decided he wanted to sell the club (to recoup some of his investment) he'd either have to sell the debt too, or write it off. Nobody would offer ME any money for a club if he held a lot of debt.

Administration is not going to happen as long as our debt remains internal.

RegencyBlue added 12:01 - Jan 10
Our Academy has suffered as has the rest of the club from poor management. The disgraceful decision by Keane and Clegg to sack Klug, one of the most highly qualified coaches in the country dont forget, was a set back which will take years to recover from.

Having said that the Academy can and must be brought back up to what it once was. Although cost figures are said to be hard to come by many clubs seem to have already taken a decision so what are ME, Clegg and the rest waiting for? My guess is they will try to sign up as many season ticket holders as possible for 2012/2013 before announcing a Cat 2 Academy and hope the resulting protests will fizzle out before it costs them money.

Given that the additional costs of a Cat 1 Academy appear to be what it costs us each year to pay two Premiership has beens £20,000 a week each, something ME seems more than happy to do, I know what I would rather spend the money on!

Sign the petition!

saffronblue added 12:08 - Jan 10
Can all those calling for a Class 1 category Academy please explain to me the differences between the various categories and how that will change what we do at the moment.

Class 1 costs £2.5m what do we get for this?

Mark added 12:43 - Jan 10
There seem to be a lot of unanswered questions and I would appreciate a decent article explaining more about the new academy systems (if anyone has such a link, please post it). It is strange that Norwich didn't hesitate in their commitment to Category One however, presumably before they knew all the fine detail. Investment in youth has to be a priority and the way forward for ITFC, so I support the call for Category One unless a compelling argument against it is made.

sotd78 added 13:21 - Jan 10
From what I understand Level 1 Academies can get youngsters from anywhere. To justify that allowance they have to have such a strong infrastructure, nurse-maids etc that it costs £2.5m.
A Level 2 Academy can still attract youngsters from a 90 minute catchment. If we have a track record of bringing through our own players then we'll still mostly get the good youngsters in our catchment.
Of more concern is the compensation payment system which is going to allow big clubs to get hold of youngsters like Wickham before they sign professional contracts that enable clubs like us to sell for millions. If the Trust knew anything they'd be lobbying about that instead.

ChurchmanBlue added 13:38 - Jan 10
Does anyone know if the headline figure of a £2.5m cost per year for category 1 status includes the subsidy from the FA? If not, then this would considerably reduce the actual cost ME would have to pay out, as I believe that this is in the region of £750k. Also, does anyone know how much our academy costs to run currently? I have heard figures of in the region of £1m, which would mean that the additional cost to the club/ME would not be as onerous as the headline £2.5m.
I think it would be folly to adopt the policy of not trying to attain category 1 status. We currently suffer from have a large percentage of our catchment area in the North Sea, which puts us at a disadvantage, especially when compared to clubs in heavily populated areas. We need to be able to recruit talent from the largest pool available, so we must have that option, which we can only achieve through category 1 status.

RegencyBlue added 13:42 - Jan 10

I admire your optimism about still being able to sign the good youngsters within our 90 minute catchment area but given, as I understand it, we will be sandwiched between at least two Cat 1 Academies at Norwich and West Ham I do not share it.

One of the problems here of course is that in line with everything else to do with the club we do not know what long term plan Evans actually has for anything!

Mutiny added 16:43 - Jan 10
Should close the academy and any renmants of a youth policy down. Will save money that can then be wasted on 'over the hill' has beens. (or in Town's case never were's). Town are no longer interested in developing young talent - only interested in trying to get instant success, based on loanee's - it will never work and is a recipe for disaster. Most of the current first team squad have no long term interest in the Town - just interested in earning a fast, easy buck.

pettabobby added 11:39 - Jan 11
Can believe what I'm reading on here! The difference between cat 1 or cat 2 is a million pounds but the benefits are huge. We currently run at a loss of 10 to 15 million pounds a year which is added to our debt. Marcus Evans can only pay of the debt if we are promoted to the prem which means that if we are promoted there's no chance of investment in the team!
I can tell you we are going for cat 2 which puts our academy on the likes of stevenage, Northampton and Barnet.

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