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Clegg: Academy Amongst Proudest Achievements at Town
Wednesday, 6th Feb 2013 06:00

Departing chief executive Simon Clegg cites the work which has taken place at the academy over the last year amongst his proudest achievements during his time at Town. He revealed that the Blues’ youth set-up passed its recent audit and has been confirmed as a Category Two academy.

The Premier League's Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) led to a reorganisation of the academy system prior to this season, something that Clegg has spent much of the last year working on.

He says he recently heard the news that the academy had passed the independent audit it underwent in November: “It’s been recommended to the FA's Professional Game Board that we should be given Category Two status.

“Bryan Klug and I were down in London meeting with the auditors the week before last. The recommendation is that we should be given Category Two status."

Clegg faced criticism for not opting for the more costly Category One, but believes Category Two was the right choice for the Blues and that it was a significant achievement to make the improvements required to make that grade.

He said: “People shouldn’t underestimate the workload that went into that. It is typical of football fans, they read a snippet and working on the basis that we’ve got a fantastic academy, say we must go Category One. That was the wrong decision for the football club. I stood up and I was very vocal about it.

“I hope over the last four years I have been accessible and I’ve not shied away from answering difficult questions when there have been difficult questions, either to fans or the media.

“The academy and what’s been achieved, and particularly bringing Bryan Klug back, I take some pride from that.”

In terms of the first team, there have also been days to remember, if perhaps fewer than he would have expected when he took over from Derek Bowden in April 2009: “There have been some really good upsides, beating Arsenal 1-0 here, beating West Ham 5-1 and indeed beating Middlesbrough 4-0 on Saturday. There have been some good upsides, but perhaps not as many good times as I had hoped for.”

Off the field, he believes he has made his mark on the club: “I take some pride from the fact that it was my idea to rename the Sir Bobby Robson Stand and the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand.

“I take pride that we’ve brought in the East of England Co-op as a stand sponsor here.

"I think we’ve been able to protect the season ticket prices in the main over the last five years. I’ve made it very clear that my priority would be to protect the season ticket holders as much as I could.

“We’ve brought on the IT side, we’ve brought in direct debits spread over 12 months on an interest-free basis. We’ve brought in online matchday ticket sales with people having the ability to print tickets at home. I think there have been a number of initiatives that I’m quite proud of.

“On my head be it, but, having sat in the lower North Stand on one occasion, I took a somewhat blind approach to allow standing to go on there, which was not without its challenges from some of my colleagues here. But I was prepared to stand up and do that.

“We tried to do some stuff to help create atmosphere here, whether that’s stuff with the military that we’ve had here, whether it’s the Olympic torchbearers being paraded around the pitch, whether it’s Commonwealth or Olympic medallists in the directors’ box, zorb ball racing or the cheerleaders, I have tried to do things.

“I’ve tried to engage with supporters’ forums and even last Saturday, although obviously I couldn’t tell them anything about this week, I spent 45 minutes with the supporters’ forum here before the home game.

“I’ve tried to attend as many branch meetings as possible, although I’m disappointed that I’ve not got out to the Supporters Clubs in Barbados and Australia."

He says Town will always have a place in his heart: “It’s a great club, it’s been a huge privilege to be at the helm for four years and I’ll leave a really good team in place and I’ll continue to follow Town and support Town for the rest of my life. It’s been a very important part of my life for the last four years.”

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FormerlyChico added 06:51 - Feb 6
Clegg you presided over the worst period of performance in living Ipswich memory, but having read all the stories on TWTD and having met you at supporters events you seem like a genuine honest bloke and I wish you good luck in your future career.

carloss added 06:57 - Feb 6
Me me me, I, I, I, jumped up self important knob, we've achieved nothing!!! Worst league finishes in his reign, I dare say if we had signed the players he reportedly had in his office we may well have achieved his goal of promotion, at the end of the day you reap what you sew.

Goodbye good luck & good riddance.

itfctilidie added 07:30 - Feb 6
we had a top academy long before you clegg and will have one long after your gone, however all the best in pastures new, hopefully more suited this time

John_Portman added 08:01 - Feb 6
cheeky Stuart Pearce in the background there

buryblue77 added 08:33 - Feb 6
He said: “People shouldn’t underestimate the workload that went into that. It is typical of football fans, they read a snippet and working on the basis that we’ve got a fantastic academy, say we must go Category One. That was the wrong decision for the football club. I stood up and I was very vocal about it.

Well done with that statement Cleggy, a good way in which to alienate yourself from us 'football fans' although I'm not criticising the decision to opt for cat 2 status, it makes more sense from a financial point of view at this point in time, it's how he said it that I don't like. Not that it matters anymore, I was never happy with the appointment of Clegg as CEO so I'm not sad that he's gone. I hope the club is left in good hands with the new directors and Evans taking a more direct role.

TractorMan added 08:59 - Feb 6
Buryblue - he did say exactly that while we were going for Category 2 status when questioned at a fans forum last year.

Fatcatevans added 09:02 - Feb 6
There was a move afoot to rename the North Stand as the Sir Bobby Robson stand long before Clegg suggests it was his idea. Considering he was in charge during our darkest days he seems to take an awful lot of credit for nothing much really!

sotd78 added 09:13 - Feb 6
You have to wonder at the magnitude of these "achievements".
And then wonder what could have been done...This club could be at the forefront of things. It could lead the lobbying on safe standing - not turn a blind eye to the unsafe standing that goes on.
It could have decided to put its away fan area at the forefornt of activity - thus recognising the "best" supporters for each club we host. We might then have seen better from those we in turn visit. Away fans should be in "best" seats - not stuffed in a corner with pooor or non-existent facilities.
It could have provided better home fan facilites - utilising the back of the Co-op Stand and the artificial turf better for example.
It could have designated an area of Cobbold Stand for under 25 walk up tickets at a tenner a go - thus grouping and recognising the next generation of fans.That in itself might go a long way to improving the atmosphere. It could have spurned the Category classifications for matches- which everyone recognises as penalising the fans of the "bigger clubs" - in effect ripping us all off. It could have had staged ST payments years before it was embarrassed into doing it. It could actually promote games properly - like some of the London clubs now do. It could reward ST's with less complicated stuff than a loyalty card which is Ipswich based and not a lot of use to the 25% or more of us that don't come from the town itself.
It could get involved with the Town infrastructure so providing better parking, faster get-aways rom the ground - heabven kows what a Premiership size crowd would do?
It could have not attempted to buy the ground - this potentially putting the club into jeopardy. Brighton. Wimbledon anyone?
It could have paid up its rentalpropmptly instead of arguing.
It could have reparated all those smaller businesses that suffered under the Administration of the former club.
It could have put forward a proper five year plan which we could buy into instead of the four years of drift we have had.

I don't blame Clegg as such for this - he clearly dances to a puppet-master who appears simply to have given him a pot of paint and a few crumbs from the corporate table.

The pretence that we have endured for the last seveal years might yet be seen to have been better than the prospects of Divisions 1 and 2 that we might have faced without selling to MEG. But I think Mr Evans has now an opportunity to "do something better". Whether he will or can or even wants to remains open to debate....

Wickets added 09:20 - Feb 6
He more or less said his proudest achievement was to bring back Bryan Klug.

walberswick added 09:41 - Feb 6
doesn't this show that clegg was really working for ME on the 2012 olympics at the expense of ITFC?

JewellintheTown added 09:45 - Feb 6
driv·el (drvl)
1. Saliva flowing from the mouth.
2. Stupid or senseless talk.

Some on here talk bucket loads of the stuff.
Whether its number 1 or number 2, both require mouths to be closed.

alfromcol added 09:48 - Feb 6

Head in the sand, mate. Try looking at the bigger picture. Not sure what you have achieved in life, but I suspect that it may be less than Cleggy.

Onwards and upwards COYB

Kesgraveblue57 added 09:51 - Feb 6
Byeeeeeeeeeeeeee Cleggy !

PortmanTerrorist added 10:16 - Feb 6
His "achievements" are simply the bare minimum we would have expected at time of his appointment. One would argue that had we known how Clegg would have performed over past years versus a possible alternate who would have been no doubt cheaper, more committed, perhaps even local, then I doubt anyone would have accepted him in this position.

He probably did as good as he could what with his limited experience and with an eye on his next big role in Sport !

Cleggs greatest legacy is that ME now knows he has to be more involved, if not necessarily seen to be !

naa added 10:17 - Feb 6
The intelligence of some on here is really rather depressing.

Yes, of course it was ALL Cleggs fault that we didn't sign all these world beaters and we'd be top of the Prem if it wasn't for him. Get real.

Clegg obviously had been told the financial constraints he had to run the club under and was tied as to the wages and transfer fees he could offer. Why on earth is it his fault if he can only offer £10k when the player wants £20k? Should he break his budget every time? Of course not. It's not his budget to break anyway. If the player wants just a little more, then it's the manager's job to try to convince the player to stay, not the CEO's.

What Clegg is trying to say in this story is to show all the ignorant fans who seem to think he's terrible because he didn't sign Charlie Austin (a story about which we know nothing) or let Jordan Rhodes go (a decision that was completely the manager's, as it should be), all the things he has actually done for the club. A lot of which I think make pretty good reading.

So, it didn't work out for him here, and clearly he wasn't the best CEO in the world, but he didn't hide from the public and some of the stick he gets from fans with IQs that appear to be lower than the average labrador, is rather tiresome.

itfc1981 added 10:18 - Feb 6

itfc1981 added 10:21 - Feb 6
“I take some pride from the fact that it was my idea to rename the Sir Bobby Robson Stand and the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand".

Imagine citing that, I mean who here has not thought of that in the past.


mathieshattrick added 10:25 - Feb 6
No mention of the freshly painted turnstiles? How self-effacing.

cooper4england added 10:34 - Feb 6
Bit harsh sotd77. He did bring zorb ball racing to the club. Noone else thought of that.

hollywoodginge added 10:39 - Feb 6
Once again I see people with short memories stating that Clegg was here during our darkest days, having been born myself in 1982 (perhaps I was the curse) my beloved blues have had some good and bad times in my living memory, from the age of 5 I lived and breathed ITFC and I can honestly say that the period of Administration was by far the darkest time we have had, if anyone cares to dispute that I look forward to hearing your argument. Don't under estimate financial stability.

nolanfanips added 10:47 - Feb 6
Well Said naa.
I'd like to see some of the so called experts on here doing Mr Cleggs job. There is a lot more to running ITFC than meets the eye. He runs the business side and manager is in charge of the team and makes 'footballing' decisions i.e.selling and buying
I think you only have to see how things are going with certain players to know some price themselves out of a club.
I remember Brian Clough saying bemoaning the breakup of Notts Forest which was down to one player saying he got so much per week and then all the others wanted the same which was not sustainable even in those days and players left or were unhappy.
Its also clear to see with the crowds down at PR that is having a big effect on finances at the club to the tune of a few million over the year.

SouperJim added 11:33 - Feb 6
What a depressing list of "achievements". The fact that he is scrapping around to include zorb racing and cheerleaders says it all. Laughable.

Tractastic added 11:35 - Feb 6
I find it strange that he is already talking about all his 'so - called' achievements,many of which seem marginal to say the least.
The fact is that for all his 'so - called' achievements at the club ( which in my opinion don't add up to much )in his 4 years a Chief Exec these have been some of the worst years i can remember as a town supporter and that is likely to be how many fans will view his tenure.
Lets hope this is now the start of a new era.The fans deserve it.


naa added 11:36 - Feb 6
SouperJim: I'm not going to claim those things are the saviours of the club, but I think he's just trying to show how wide his remit was. It wasn't just about buying players


naa added 11:39 - Feb 6
Tractastic: I thikn you needd to read a little between the lines. He knows that a lot of fans give him stick (unfairly IMO) for not buying players and (ridiculously, as it's not his remit) for selling some players. So he's just trrying to show all the things he was involved in in his time here.

Yes, the last 4 years have been pretty awful, but to blame Clegg for that seems pretty stupid to me. As fans all we care about is the performance on a Saturday, and that's 95% down to the manager and players. Clegg had a role in that side of it (selection of manager, player contracts) but he was peripheral in both. His job was the club as a whole, all staffing, infratructure, ticket pricing, ground amenities etc etc).


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