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Ashton Confirmed as Town CEO
Tuesday, 13th Apr 2021 15:11

Town have confirmed that Mark Ashton, whose departure from Bristol City on May 31st was announced this morning, will join the club as chief executive officer on June 1st.

A statement on the club site reads: “The board of Ipswich Town FC is delighted to announce the appointment of Mark Ashton as the club’s chief executive officer. He will join on 1st June, 2021.

“With almost 30 years experience in the football industry, Mark is currently the CEO of Bristol City, a role that he has held since 2016, while he is also an elected Championship director on the EFL board.

“Prior to joining Bristol City, Mark was with West Bromwich Albion for 16 years, originally as a player and then moving into various executive roles.

“In 2004 he joined Watford as CEO, a period that culminated in promotion to the Premier League. In 2014 Mark played a prominent role in the takeover of Oxford United and subsequently ran the club as CEO for the next two years.”

Blues chairman Mike O’Leary, who worked with Ashton at Oxford and West Brom, told the club site: “We are delighted to welcome Mark Ashton to Portman Road. It is difficult to envisage anyone having better experience for a CEO job than Mark.

“He is a high energy, demanding, loyal, commercially savvy, well-connected and high integrity leader and we look forward very much to him making a major contribution to our journey here at Ipswich Town.”

Ashton added: “I am delighted to be joining. There is a lot of hard work that lies ahead and I am genuinely excited at the opportunity to take the club forward.

“In the meantime, it is only right that I devote my attention to Bristol City for the remainder of the season so this is the only public comment that I will be making at this time.”

As reported by TWTD in February, Ashton has been the man the Blues’ new owners Gamechanger 20 have always wanted as their CEO.

Ashton became chief operating officer at Ashton Game in January 2016 then in July 2017 was named chief executive officer, having previously worked with the Robins as a consultant helping to establish their talent identification and recruitment system.

Named Championship CEO of the Year in 2019, the 49-year-old has been credited with wily transfer dealings which have seen the Robins net significant profits in the player trading market, while Ashton Gate and the club’s training infrastructure have also been transformed during his time with the club.

However, the appointment of Dean Holden as manager last summer, this season’s transfer business and a failure to make a serious challenge for promotion to the Premier League despite owner Steve Lansdown’s very significant fortune have led to fan criticism. With Ashton’s exit appearing close, a Bristol Post story looked back on his time at Ashton Gate earlier today.

A former youth goalkeeper with West Brom, Ashton was on the Baggies’ board from 1990 to 2014. In June 2004 he was appointed chief executive of Watford and he spent four and a half years with the Hornets before a four-month spell at Wycombe Wanderers in the same role in 2009.

Five years as chairman with Worcestershire-based consumer services company Grove Life followed before he and new Blues chairman O’Leary were part of a consortium which took charge at Oxford United. Ashton subsequently spent a year and a half as CEO at the Kassam Stadium.

Since May 2010 he has been the chairman of Tactical Change, which is described as an “international sports management company specialising in football management; particularly the business of football. Providing cutting edge solutions to the football industry, from player trading and recruitment to innovative commercial models that drive revenues and profitability”.

As previously reported, we understand Robins head of operations/club secretary Luke Werhun has also been ear-marked for a role at Portman Road by the new set-up. However, there is as yet no confirmation that he will be leaving Ashton Gate.

Photo: ITFC

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MB26 added 16:58 - Apr 13
I don't think we can complain in all honesty. This is the first person with an actual experience of running and growing a football club we've had in well over a decade. Bristol City has grown significantly as a club in the time Ashton was in charge and he is a savvy and decisive. Their transfer business is impressive considering the funds they've generated for players who've gone on to do very little since leaving them (Webster arguably cream of the crop) and they've reinvested funds into replacements who could go on to do the same in a few years time.

Building a relationship with Cook will be key.

rickw added 17:00 - Apr 13
The bit I noticed in that Bristol Post article was "one of the highest paid CEO's in the Championship" - I doubt he'd move across the country and down a division for a pay cut!!

runningout added 17:03 - Apr 13
I’m sure us as genuine fans of a once great now crumbled club will make all welcome. Let’s try and put the failures to one side

TimmyH added 17:04 - Apr 13
Made some profits for his owner boss over the last season or so but recruitment wasn't great when selling players on for profit (so I hear)...and overall City fans a tad disappointed what has happened on the pitch considering how wealthy their owner was.

Will have to be a different MO coming here, we've got nobody in the squad worth anything. Wish him all the best whilst here!

northernblues added 17:07 - Apr 13
We were excited by the arrival of Evan's that went sour, let's wait and see, in the words of Winston Wolfe, let's not start sucking each others di@ks quite yet!

Gcon added 17:45 - Apr 13
But will he be as good as Ian Milne?.....

Tampa_Florida_Blue added 17:52 - Apr 13
#1 on your list of things to do. Figure out why are players get injured so easily. Do we need a complete overhaul of our training facilities to?

I do recall *spit* Paul Hurst stating our training facilities was from the dark ages.

HarleydavidsonBlue added 17:54 - Apr 13
Happy days. New owner, new CEO, new manager, new money. All we need now is some new players, then upwards and on wards. C O Y B (It could be no worse than where we were at under Evans). Lets have this conversation in a years time when we are pushing for promotion.

PinstripeBlue added 17:58 - Apr 13
I do smile at the eternal optimism of the footy fan.
I am a little long in the tooth now, I am excited but there is still a hint of caution. We have kind of been here before.
Let’s just start winning some games. Please.

chorltonskylineblue added 18:28 - Apr 13
The Bristol Post article largely paints a good picture of him although the bit at the end about recurring injury problems is a bit of a familiar worry. At the very least we have someone that knows football inside out at the helm. Don't think we've had that since ME showed Derek Bowden the exit door.

Cakeman added 18:29 - Apr 13
Welcome to the Pride of Anglia Mark.

Esseeja added 18:43 - Apr 13
MANY Bristol City fans said that the only good signing he found was Adam Webster.... from our club.... under the management of Hurst.

I'm sceptical about this appointment because many Bristol City fans think they can go higher up the league without him, they reckon he sells the best players off.

I'll give him a chance, because I am still optimistic about the future under the new owners.

BeattiesBackPocket added 19:08 - Apr 13
Let’s be brutal we ARE in the worst state I’ve ever known the club to be in and the new owners, CEO and manager have a MASSIVE job with 20 plus first team players out of contract, no structure, big squad with more quantity than quality, poor scouting network and one of the worst teams in our clubs history. This won’t be an overnight fix but for me so long as there’s year on year improvement that will do for me. Finally we have people who have eat and drank football at the top of the club who know what needs doing, we’ve seen the owner the exact same day as the announcements made which took a year or two from our previous owner and as I said on a previous post we need to follow a Norwich, Bristol, Brentford method.
As much as this year has stagnated for Bristol city during his tenure Since 2016 they have spent approx 46 million just on players and recouped 79 million so making 33 million in the process a lot of those were decent fees paid for players who moved on for huge profits like Webster. Personally I’m happy if we do that it’s how teams like them Brentford Norwich survive and compete in the playoffs etc. Bristol city fans see that as being a selling club but when did we last spend 46 million in 4 seasons on players or recoup 79 million on players in 4 season?? That’s a 33 million profit and their fans moan about that I would happily have that to what we’ve had past 4 years or even 14 years

johnwarksshorts added 19:35 - Apr 13
Welcome to Ipswich, hope you thrive on huge challenges ahead.

Orraman added 19:39 - Apr 13
Just keeps getting worse and worse under Cook. First job Mr Ashton, get rid of Cook and let him go back to his beloved Wigan

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