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Milton: It Had to Be Something Amazing to Take Me Away From Town
Saturday, 1st Jul 2017 06:00

Simon Milton says it needed to be something amazing to persuade him to leave Ipswich Town after 30 years and says his new job is just that.

Milton, 53, is leaving Portman Road next week to become the corporate social responsibility director for Futurestars, a project he helped set up during his time as Town’s director of academy sales with one of the sponsors, OMA.

“I’m going to work for a client, which was always going to happen,” Milton told TWTD.

“The way that I work with clients who have helped me to fund the academy over many years is to build a relationship with them and lots of different people at different times have said, ‘If ever you fancy a change, we would fit you right into our company’.

“No matter what company they were, it’s always nice to know that and for people to say, ‘Listen, we’d just like you to come in and be involved in our company’.

“It’s happened a few times but I never, ever actually saw myself leaving the football club. I’ve gone out there so many times and said ‘I will be here for life’ because I truly believed I would be.

“But the company that I’m going to, OMA, is an oil and marine shipping company based in Ghana. I’ve worked with them since 2014.

“One of the main directors and shareholders, Gary Miller, is a big Ipswich fan, he lives in this area, he comes from around here, he’s worked in Felixstowe, but his main business is now out in Ghana.

“And he came to me in 2014 and said I’d really like to put some money into the academy but what I’d really like to do, and I need some help, is to put together a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme in Ghana and I would really like somebody from Ipswich to help me to put it together, design it and deliver it because we are a growing company in Ghana and we take our CSR project really seriously.

“He said, ‘I love football and I thought I could put some money into my football club and my football club can help me out in Ghana’.

“He honestly thought that nobody was going to reply to his his initial email because it was a bit off the wall, but I’d done it before. I’d been out to Ghana a few years beforehand.

“So I met Gary and we designed a programme and called it the Futurestars project and I’ve been out six or seven times in the last three or four years.

“I went to Ghana, set something up, we employed two coaches, we chose five schools. We did so much in the first year and it’s just grown.

“I’ve been out there every year and when I come back from every visit I send a report back about what I’ve seen, what I think, what should be next, how we’re going to work it.

“There are two or three guys within the OMA Group who are helping to run it, we’ve employed two coaches at the moment who go into the schools every day and I just come out whenever I’m available and go and support it and then put another report in.

“In my last report I suggested that the Futurestars project should become a charitable organisation because at the moment there are two companies funding it, OMA and Yinson, an oil drilling and container ship company.

"They drill the oil off Ghana and they move it around the world. And OMA are the Ghanaian shipping partners for them. They’re very much linked so we got them involved in the first year.

“Now we’ll make it a charitable organisation and then all the companies that work with OMA and that work with Yinson can now come on board and put money into our project for their CSR programmes.

“And then they can offer staff. When we have our days at schools or we all go down and paint the school, they send their staff. All the types of thing you want.

“So, I put this in a proposal to them nine months ago as what I think we should do moving forward and said I’d obviously be able to assist them with that and Ipswich Town will still continue to be involved because OMA are still big sponsors of the academy.

“Then about three months ago I was having a meeting with Gary about the Futurestars programme and he said, ‘We love the idea, the directors, the board at OMA and Yinson, but it works with you, so would you ever think about coming and joining us full-time?’.

“That was the conversation. And then I looked at everything that I’ve done and what I’ve built up here and just thought, ‘Do you know what, it’s the right time’.

“I’m going to join a company that I’ve worked with for the last three or four years so I know everyone, I know exactly how it runs. I’ll go to Ghana eight to 10 times a year for at least a week, so that way I can properly keep in charge of the project.

“I can speak to all the companies that we want to get involved by showing them exactly where their money will go and the rest of the time I’ll work from home.

“It’s five schools at the moment, but that can expand. It’s only in Tema in Ghana at the moment and a little bit in Togo, that can expand.

“There are big plans and that’s my job, I will be the CSR Futurestars director for the charity.

“That is where I’m going and that is why it had to be something amazing for me to leave, absolutely amazing. It had to be something I’m enthusiastic about.”

He says his first trip to Ghana in his new full-time role will be in September once he has overcome the injury he suffered in a charity game at his old stomping ground, Bury Town’s Ram Meadow, in May.

“We’re in the process of setting up the charity now,” he added. “My next visit to Ghana will be in September because by that time my achilles injury will be all sorted, I’ve just got it out of the medical boot.

“I’ve got six or eight weeks of rehab then we’ll go out and we’ll go and meet up with everyone out there. I can’t wait to go.

“It is the most rewarding thing you’ve every seen and I've ever been involved in. When you look at the footage on there and you turn up at a school and every child in the school and all the teachers are outside putting on a show, singing, dancing, that’s their way of thanking you for what you’re doing.

“I’ve been involved in some of the refurbishments where all the guys are down there painting and we've organised football festivals where we invite all five schools, they bring their school teams, but all the boys come, all the girls come, a band comes, they all have their own marquee area, they all cook their own food. It’s unbelievable.

“As I say, there are currently two companies funding it all so it’s going to be much better to get many more companies involved. We’ll have a much bigger budget to do what we want to do, expand the project but we will still continue to be one of the academy’s biggest sponsors.

“The two coaches are working to a programme which has been designed by Alan Lee and Lee O’Neill.

“It’s not an academy, it’s like an after-school football club but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to work to a coaching programme.

“Our coaches out there wear official Ipswich Town gear, the Ipswich Town badge is all over the schools and so are the companies’ logos.

“The association, doing something good from a PR point of view is brilliant as well. I’ve got so many people who want to come out for a week, so many coaches, just to do something completely different.

“We obviously look after them, take them out there, they stay in a lovely apartment half an hour from Tema where the project is based and where OMA’s headquarters are.

“It’s just the most rewarding week that people will have and it’s good for their CV to go and do something like that.”

Titus Bramble, who coaches at the Town academy, has already spent time with the project, which led to an exchange visit.

“Last year I went out for a week and I took Titus with me and he stayed for a month working with the coaches. He absolutely loved it.

“Once you get out there you can’t believe it, you can’t believe how much good you can do just by working in schools with the children.

“We brought over Raman Ibrahim, we’ll be doing that again, and he came to the Ex-Players’ Dinner. He looked after Titus when Titus was over there so Gary flew him over for a week because he’d done so much work for the project.

“We put him in the Novotel, he went to the training ground every day with Titus. He was working with the coaching staff, with all age groups, watching the first team train, watching Terry Connor train. Everybody welcomed him.

“He came to two Ipswich games, the West Ham game on the Saturday and on the Wednesday night Titus took him down to the Emirates to watch an Arsenal game. He had this week of football basically.

"That was really rewarding for him. It absolutely blew his mind! He lives in Togo, he had never been out of the country, it was his first visit.

“He was at the Ex-Players’ Dinner and came up on the stage because we wanted to look after him. They’re the lives that you can change.

“When Titus was out there he was thinking, ‘What else can I do while I’m out here?’, so he phoned Avram Grant, who he knew, and he took our coaching staff and one of the main organisers to go and meet Avram Grant and the Black Stars at their training camp.

“You can imagine these guys, they’re now mixing and having selfies taken with Asamoah Gyan, who Titus played with at Sunderland, and all them.

“These are the additional things that just spin off once you’ve got the right contacts.”

Although he’ll be spending time in Ghana, Milton says he will still be spotted around Portman Road on matchdays next season.

“I’ll still be around here, I’m still involved, the club want me to continue to come to matches whenever I’m available, some home, some away when I’m available, go and represent the club at away games,” he added.

“I will still go around the corporate areas at home games and see people, and that’s not a paid job, that is because I want to.”

Despite officially leaving next week, Milton says he’ll continue to liaise with his academy clients in next couple of months as he begins his new job.

“I started something, the clients that put money into the academy, I’m speaking to every single one of them before I leave.

“I’ve already spoken to most of them, telling that although I’m going the academy still needs that revenue - you’ll still going be sitting in the directors’ box, you’re still going to be getting your hospitality, you’re still going to be funding young players coming through.

“That’s what I’m doing at the moment, trying to get as many renewals as I can and I will continue to do that right up to the end of August, September time because we want as many people to renew as a possible.

“The fundraising we do for the academy is a lot of money and we want that to continue.”

He admits it was a huge decision to opt to move on from Portman Road, having been signed as a player for £5,000 from non-league Bury Town in 1987.

“It’s funny because I’ve made two career decisions in my life,” he reflected. “One was to leave a really shitty job and join Ipswich Town. I was paint spraying cherry pickers. A mate of mine had the job and needed someone else and I was doing nothing at the time.

“I went over and did that, I’d never sprayed anything before in my life. I was playing non-league at the time, so the decision to leave that and accept a one-year contract was easy.

“That was originally offered to me by Charlie Woods and Bobby Ferguson and then Bobby left the club.

“Charlie Woods was instrumental in speaking to John Duncan, who was the new manager appointed.

“I’d trialled under Bobby and then John Duncan offered me by first year back in 1987.

“I suppose it was three decisions, that was an easy decision and the next easy decision was when I came to the end of my playing career in 1998 after so many unbelievable memories from 11 years here as a player.”

Those 11 years began with a couple of loan spells: “John Duncan sent me to Exeter, so I got the map out. Dalian Atkinson thought I’d gone abroad because I’d gone down to the English Riviera!

“I went down to Exeter, they were having a tough time, they were fourth from bottom in the Fourth Division.

“I scored twice on my debut and I scored twice in front of 3,000 fans. The fans loved me, the players loved me.

“The manager had just given me an unbelievable high I wouldn’t have got if I was playing for Ipswich reserves against Tottenham, Arsenal or Chelsea in front of no one. Nothing’s changed, the loan system worked then and it works now.

“I went to Torquay and they were really going well when I went there. They wanted me to stay to the end of the season, Cyril Knowles was the manager.

“But John Duncan said to me that I’d proved myself at that level, he needed me to come back, ‘We’ve got eight games, I’m going to put you in the team and you’ve got to earn yourself the right to get a new contract and prove to me you’re ready for Second Division football’.

“And that’s what I did. I played the last seven or eight games, I scored my first goals away at Bradford in the last game of the season which stopped them getting automatic promotion. That would have been the 1987/88 season.

“And then I signed another contract and that was it, I started to establish myself. It takes time.

“There’s loads and loads of non-league players out there and we’ve taken a chance on quite a few but no one other than Tyrone Mings has got in the team every week since.

“There are gems out there. I think back to my time, Stuart Pearce, Les Ferdinand and Ian Wright all came out of non-league football, Nigel Gleghorn before me here. It happens.

“I came from a non-league background and played over 300 games and scored 50-odd goals.”

One early strike stands out: “My goal against Norwich [in the second round of the Simod Cup in December 1988], I’ll never, ever forget.

“They were in the First Division, we were in the Second. It was packed here. I was watching the game, I was sub, 90 minutes, 0-0.

“And then I go on and score the winner. Am I dreaming? Scored the winner, great goal, left-foot volley, Dalian Atkinson jumping all over me, Doz. I remember it now.

“It went mental and at that time I had no idea what I’d done. The crowd would have and the manager would have, and the more senior players.

“‘It’s just a goal!’, but you realise it's not and if there’s anything that’s going to engage you with the fans in your early career it’s that. I was a local boy - local boy comes out of non-league football and beats Norwich 1-0!

“Then they tried to buy me the following season, which was interesting. But it wasn’t going to happen. I suppose I just used them to get a better contract, as you do.”

Fulham-born Milton has no doubt about the greatest achievement of his playing days: “Getting promoted [as champions from the old Second Division in 1991/92], was the highlight without a shadow of a doubt.

“Being promoted and being involved in that season, starting that season and finishing as champions, Oxford away, Brighton at home, games during the season where we just believed in our manager.

“John Lyall was like a father figure to everyone. He worked out systems and when you trained, you had to train hard with him, you had to show that you were worthy of the shirt and he just believed in everyone.

“I look back at that squad and it wasn’t a squad full of superstars, it was a squad full of hard-working people like me and Micky Stockwell, Gavin Johnson, Neil Thompson, Frank Yallop, David Linighan.

“Warky came back just at the right time, he was different class. We had Romeo Zondervan, Steve Palmer, Paul Goddard, but the cream of our team that year were Jason Dozzell and Chris Kiwomya. If you got them going, which we did, they were the talented ones.

“They had a spell when they played up front together, they were good mates, but totally different players.

“Doz had great touch, great vision, unbelievable awareness, good in the air, could hold the ball up brilliantly and could score. And Chris could run like you wouldn’t believe and was a great finisher as well.

“You could tell they they were the cream because one went to Arsenal and one went to Tottenham, and the rest of us kept on going.

“People come and tell me that that season 1991/92 was the best year of their life because they went to every game home and away. They saw those games and they felt a part of it.

“And as a footballer looking back at your career, nothing can ever take that away, that is a memory.

“Have a look at that year, the first game of that season we played Port Vale at home and there was about 8,500 here.

“But if you get it going, they’ll come back. We were here for the last game of the season and it was sold out, 22,000.

“It’s the memories of being part of that, walking around the pitch, picking up the trophy. Some players never win anything in their careers, loads of them. There are only so many things you can win every year.

“Loads of players have never been involved in a promotion, never won a cup or anything like that.

“I played for 11 years here and won one thing, champions of this division, that’s an absolutely amazing achievement and promotion to the Premier League at the time when it had just started. These are memories that you’ll always take with you.”

Three seasons in the top flight followed: “At that time the Premier League had just started. The year we got promoted Blackburn Rovers won the play-offs. And the year we got relegated Blackburn Rovers won the Premier League.

“Jack Walker was the first person ever to bankroll a football club to get to that level.

“If I think back to those days, they were brilliant. Going round the stadiums and just being involved. Sky had just started, the Premier League had just started, there we were.

“I get invited to go and speak at networking and business events and there’s a presentation that I do with a picture of me with my arms up at Portman Road and I use that picture.

“I’m in the Premier League, I’ve got the old Fisons shirt on with the red laces. My presentation starts with me saying that if I look at that picture that is me at the pinnacle of my career.

“Why? Because it’s playing at Portman Road with every single seat sold, playing in the Premier League for Ipswich Town, it’s me scoring a goal against Spurs - that’s Darren Anderton and I think Gordon Durie in the background - and it was live on Sky.

“If I was an England player that would be an England picture, but I wasn’t. But the point I then go on to make is about everyone who helped me get there, that’s every kid I played with at school, every PE teacher, every football teacher, every boys’ team and non-league Sunday team I played with, right the way through to all the professional coaches, those when I was on loan at Torquay, Exeter, John Duncan, John Lyall and George Burley.

“Everyone, you never get there on your own and I talk about how important it is that all those people along the way actually put me in that position.

“And I love that picture because that is it for me, that’s as high as it ever got, it ever will get. I wasn’t good enough to go and play for England and score a goal otherwise it would be that picture.

“That’s me, here, home, Tottenham, Sky, scoring. They’re moments in time, what do you call them? Rocking chair moments, when you’re sitting at home in years to come, kids, grandkids and all that.”

The stint in the Premier League ended in 1994/95: “Then we got relegated, so I know what it’s like to get relegated and come back down and then that’s when George Burley really started. He came in at the end of the relegation season and then started to build his team.

“For two years I was playing, I was supporters’ Player of the Year in 1996, which is obviously another big accolade. I had my testimonial in 1997/98, which was when I really began to understand the off the field side of things, marketing, the commercial side of football, which I’ve really enjoyed.

“My next big decision was to accept an offer from David Sheepshanks to stay. Again, it was easy, very easy.

“I could maybe have played professionally for another year or so somewhere, but the offer was there then.

“And the job has evolved and evolved and evolved, I did a bit of player liaison, worked with the Community Trust when they were around, I’ve just been involved in the club, matchdays, golf days, everything.”

Milton says all those additional roles he has been involved in such as the Ex-Players’ Association - further to those at the club he had periods working on local radio, ran Miltons Bar in Bury for two years and had a season as a TWTD columnist - are things he will also be taking a step away from.

“Bryan Hamilton is the chairman of the Ex-Players’ Association and he’s been outstanding at what he does,” he said.

“We have a committee of about eight to 10. Will I have the time to run the Ex-Players’ Association? Absolutely not. Will I help them? Of course. Will I be involved? Yes, of course.

“The dinners are without doubt, and I go to every dinner the club has, the Ex-Players’ Dinner is like your favourite dinner.

“But, do you know what? I’m looking forward to sitting and watching it. I’m always working at these things.

“I love coming to games, I love being involved, I’m looking forward to coming down here and not be working.

“I’m looking forward to going to the Ex-Players’ Dinner and sitting in the crowd and getting drunk with Jason Dozzell and Kevin Beattie!

“I stepped back a bit last year from some of the evenings with the Supporters Club, who have been brilliant supporters of the club and the academy. But I can’t do everything, you have to take a bit of a step back.”

He added: “I’ve loved every minute of it. It was funny because when it came out that I was leaving, I had messages on my phone from people saying, ‘What have they done!’

“I didn’t do any press, it was just ‘I’ve decided to leave’ and that’s it, I’ll come out and I’ll tell everyone but first of all I’ve decided to leave Ipswich Town, it’s a big decision, but it’s very, very amicable, it’s the right time, there’s no story behind it, there’s no hidden agenda anywhere.

“It’s been an unbelievable 30-year career here. I’ve done some absolutely amazing things on and off the field, loved it, felt the pain when we haven’t played well.

“I’ve been promoted as a player and relegated as a player. Promoted off the field, relegated off the field. I’ve been through administration, all of these things, good times, bad times, I’ve seen the U17s win Academy League in 2000/01, I’ve seen the U18s win the FA Youth Cup.

“I’ve seen us have some brilliant games, I saw us beat Arsenal down here a few years back.”

He says life at a club like Town inevitably has its ups and downs: “You work for Ipswich Town for the period that I have and it’s not plain sailing, it’s a rollercoaster ride.

“Unfortunately, I think if you look at the last 10 years they've been too flat. You look at Sheffield United right now, they’ve just spent about seven seasons in League One and now they’ve come into the Championship and they’re buzzing.

“And we’re the longest-serving team in the Championship and the other thing is we have such a brilliant history. The club has an unbelievable history.”

If that Sky game against Spurs was the peak of his playing career, there have been plenty of highs in the years since he hung up his boots.

“I’ve had loads of pinnacle moments off the field,” he continued. “I could show you a picture at Amsterdam with 67 cyclists. The cycle rides have been a massive, massive highlight.

“The Prostate Cancer cycle ride, we raised over £300,000 in four years, that’s for Prostate Cancer UK, the Friends of Ipswich Town charity and other charities, just by getting people along.

“My support of Prostate Cancer UK and getting all these people involved got me to the EFL Cup final as the guest of honour.

“Prostate Cancer UK rang me to say they wanted me to be guest of honour at the final, we’ve just had a meeting, we’re partnered with the EFL and they always offer this position and your name came up. It was unanimous around the table.

“I asked how many guests of honour are there and he went, ‘Only one!’. I walked out with the guys from Carabao because they had just signed the deal to be the new sponsors.

“I’ve done some things in my time but when I walked out of that tunnel at Wembley behind Manchester United and Southampton, the crowd, 80-odd thousand went mental. You realise the size of Wembley.

“Even for someone who is used to playing in front of crowds, I’ve never played at Wembley. Just walking out there was such an honour.

“I’ll never forget those moments or when I won the Football for Good Award which came from the cycle ride and charity work, that was really good. You never forget things like that.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame because that’s from your fellow professionals for what you’ve done on and off the field, what you’ve done for the association as well.

“People who were here not 10 years before me but 20 years before me, 30 years before me, Ray Crawford turning up every year looking immaculate. This is their life.

“Ray Crawford sent me a lovely card when I said I was leaving. The messages I’ve had have been ridiculous. George Burley straight away, Terry Butcher, loads and loads of ex-players, the manager phoned me straight away, Terry Connor, Dave Bowman, Marcus, everybody has been on the phone and talking about it.

"Former Town chief executives Simon Clegg [now chief operating officer at Expo 2020 Dubai] and Derek Bowden [chief executive of Essex CCC], both of them said, ‘Do we need to talk?’.”

Having begun his academy fundraising role in 2005, the project grew after he stepped down from his player liaison role and the launch of the Academy Association in 2013.

“That was probably when it started to go from around £100,000 a year to £200,000 a year,” he recalled.

“Marcus is still putting the rest in. I would think the budget these days is around £1.5 million minimum, it might even be more than that because of everything that you’ve got to do.

“We all get a grant, every Category Two club gets a grant. And then if the grant and the money that I raise funds 50 per cent of the academy, you know where the other 50 per cent is coming from, it only comes from one place and that’s the owner.”

Does he believe the academy is currently in a healthy position? “I think it’s in a great place, I think we’ve got some unbelievable people there.

“I think the way that the academy has changed, we’ve managed to bring Lee O’Neill up to the top of the academy because off the field the academy manager’s job is almost like a company secretary’s job now with all the rules and regulations with the EPPP and everything you’ve got to do.

“And that’s right up Lee O’Neill’s street, as well as being a fully qualified coach, as well as being a fully qualified and educated sports scientist. He ticks all those boxes.

“And we’ve got Bryan Klug, who is the master coach who everybody looks up to. All the coaches work with Bryan, Bryan works with everyone, he works with every team. He just oversees, he’s like the head of football.

“We’ve those two at the top and below that Gerard Nash and Alan Lee, who is now very much involved, Adem Atay, Steve McGavin, who is the head of recruitment is outstanding. He has a great history with the football club as well.

“Great things and every year you want to see players coming through and knocking on the door and getting in the squad, being involved.

“But for 18 or 19-year-olds to get into and establish themselves in the first team in the Championship is tough.

“There aren’t many 18 or 19-year-olds in that position, so you’ve just got to bide your time. It’s got to be right, it might mean going out on loan, but when it happens, it happens.

“Fans like to see that, they like to see young players, it’s part of the tradition of the club. When Andre burst on the scene with the Dozzell name that makes supporters gooey-eyed all over again because most of them can remember Jason coming here and bursting on the scene.”

In terms of his replacement, there won’t be someone to come in and take on all aspects of his job at Town.

“It won’t be someone taking on my whole role, it certainly won’t be a like for like position, it will have to change completely.

“When I look at my role it’s 95 per cent sales director and five per cent ex-player. If you went the other way around and you got a legend of an ex-player with no commercial experience, it’s not going to work.

“If I was ever hosting events which were raising money for the academy, I don’t host the event and be the ex-player, I’d use Terry Butcher or George Burley, they’re all available.

“I would always listen to other people’s stories and get them to talk about what it was like.

“Because I worked so closely with the rest of the commercial department at every single golf day, dinner, event, you can’t just say, ‘There you go, here’s the desk, off you go, son’.

“The commercial department at the football club will be involved. Someone’s got to take it on.

“I’m doing renewals at the moment telling people that I will be around at games, I will be coming to sit with them in the directors’ box, I will be coming round to the lounges.

“Like I said, not working, not getting up on the microphone, not doing the tour before, not walking into the dressing room with the players after the game and saying, ‘Chambo you’re just been voted man of the match’, that has to change because my commitment has changed.

“But I will be around supporting the team, I’m not going anywhere. I’m almost going to become a client because of the work we’re going to continue to do with the academy, the relationship is still there. Someone else is going to take this on. But I’ll be on the end of the phone.”

Where does he see the club as a whole going into the new campaign? “It’s a big year, a really big year. We’ve just had arguably our toughest season for God knows how long.

“I went to Burton and it was a great performance and we watched Newcastle here and that was a great performance but then we lost the last three games and that’s what everybody remembers. But there was some really good stuff.

“We need a good start, we need a fit squad of players, we need a bit of luck, we need our best players to stay fit, we need everybody to hit the ground running.

“I’ve no doubt that Mick can get the team going again, it’s just what’s he got to get the team [going]. The new additions who come in and do really well quickly.

“I think we just need a really good start and I think if we get off to a good start, people will come, the mood will change.

“It’s not nice, it’s frustrating for everybody when it’s not going well and if we get beaten people from outside of the club immediately think there’s something wrong, something wrong with that player, there’s something wrong with the manager, the spirit is not good.

“I’ve watched them work. When we were getting beaten, Mick was doing nothing different from when we were in the top six, and the mood was no different as well, although obviously everybody was disappointed.

”I think of the year we got into the top six, obviously we had Murph’s goals but we had 75 per cent of our players playing to their maximum. And if you look at last year, we probably had 25 per cent of our players playing to their maximum.

“Not trying to their maximum because they all try to their maximum but actually the ones who are putting in seven or eight out of 10 week in, week out.

“We didn’t have enough of them and the players know that. It’s Mick’s job to get the best out of them again. We go again, basically.

“But the Championship is getting harder when you look at the teams in it and the money that they’re spending. It is getting harder and harder and the budgets are getting bigger and bigger.

“Having said that, there’s always a Huddersfield out there and 1990/91 we were 14th but the following year we got it going and continued to get it going.

“It can happen, absolutely it can happen. Blackpool were in the Premier League a few years ago! I thought Reading were average last year and they finished third.”

Reflecting back on his time at Town as a whole, Milton added: “I think the club has given me so much as a person over the last 30 years but I’ve given everything to this football club, that’s the other thing.

“And I've really, really enjoyed it and I look forward to coming back here and keeping in touch with people.

“Although I’m off to somewhere new, somewhere completely different, most of the time I’ll be here. If I can go to Ghana eight weeks a year, I’m here for the rest of the time, working on what we’re going to do next with the project, going out and developing it.

“It had to be something amazing because I’m not going to walk out of here and go and sit behind a desk somewhere.

“This is everything, rewarding, being looked after personally, a challenge, it fits in with my lifestyle, everything.”

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StanwayTractorboy added 06:41 - Jul 1
Great interview. Clearly bleeds blue and white! I'm sure I stand with every Town fan, good luck and thank you for everything you've done for the club and the academy.

trncbluearmy added 06:43 - Jul 1
Fantastic interview love the bit about the Simond Cup, I was there FPR, just went crazy.
Thanks Milts a true Ipswich hero.
What a brilliant new job,imagine the pride when one of his lads comes to the UK to play professional football,now imagine that Club is ITFC,the stuff of legends.

Best of luck Milts and thanks for being such a good part of ITFC


OsborneOneNil added 06:47 - Jul 1

BLUEBEAT added 06:51 - Jul 1
Cool story bro

bgexile added 07:01 - Jul 1
That's a long interview.
Very best of luck with this next stage of your life Milts and thanks for all you've done for the club.

RimmersBrace added 07:08 - Jul 1
This was not the reason he 'left' Ipswich!

poobum added 07:17 - Jul 1
Gave up halfway through but I know he was 'asked' to leave the club.


DiamondGezzer added 07:31 - Jul 1
Worked tirelessly behind the scenes on all our behalves, deserves all the plaudits this interview will no doubt muster. A big thankyou.

Marcus added 08:06 - Jul 1
Whether is was by choice or whether his role at the club was made redundant, he's a club legend I remember watching when he was at his peak. I was a Junior Blue (or Superblues as it was) when he joined us and he's been a fixture at the club for most of my life. He'll always be welcome back and it would be good if some of his new prodigies could experience a Premier League game at Portman Road in a few years.

itfcbam added 08:07 - Jul 1
Love it!! Great memories and 1 club man, legend.
Rimmersbrace and poo bum you are effectively calling him a liar then!!!!

hoppy added 08:08 - Jul 1
Really interesting, and wish Milts all the best with that. Still see there's a few with a conspiracy theory, despite not reading the whole thing... I suppose otherwise they'd not have anything negative to say.

12th_Man added 08:55 - Jul 1
Good bye millts

mojo added 09:33 - Jul 1
All the very best Milts, what a career he is having. Loved the English Riviera bit. RIP Dalian.

algarvefan added 09:41 - Jul 1
There are some right idiots on here, asked to leave or not an incredible servant to the club, thank you Milts, glad you have had this opportunity and I hope it works well for you. Send us your best please !

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 09:51 - Jul 1
Interesting to read about our links in Ghana. Maybe Gary Miller would like to buy out ITFC?

Adnamsfarter added 10:08 - Jul 1
Good luck Milts. Thanks for all the good times and thanks particularly for coming up and doing the London Branch meetings so well. What a gent. Hope the Ghana project is a roaring success and that you remember to wear a hat out there!

Take care mate - you're a true blue legend!

solemio added 10:43 - Jul 1
My son, a Junior Blue at the time, got Milts' autograph the first match after he signed - he wasn't playing, of course. He was so nice with the kids and adult fans.

He remains the best player ever in the pre-match warm-up at shooting.

Simon is a good man, and I'm sure all true Ipswich fans wish him all the very best in his African venture.

canveyblue added 12:38 - Jul 1
All the best for the future Milts. Thanks for the memories.

TractorRoyNo1 added 13:19 - Jul 1
Good luck to a True Blue

good_at_COD added 23:51 - Jul 1
He points out he never played for England but he could sure talk for them. Best 'I love me' interview ever on TWTD.

Sospiri added 00:11 - Jul 2
Sounds like a totally awesome venture. Good luck with it Milts.

Vancouver_Blue added 00:45 - Jul 2
Great story...great guy...great servant

SpiritOfJohn added 08:49 - Jul 2
That was more like an extended episode of This is Your Life than an interview. Well done on a great career at ITFC and hope the new adventure goes well.

ernie added 09:18 - Jul 2
Is this a PR exercise promoting Simon Milton ?

Michael11 added 10:00 - Jul 2
A club legend in my eyes. You can see the club means as much to him as it does to us. All the best with his new role.

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