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Johnson: We’re Keeping About 10 Per Cent of the Squad
Tuesday, 15th Jun 2021 21:42

Blues co-owner Brett Johnson says Town intend to keep 10 per cent of the large squad manager Paul Cook inherited in March.

Cook released a number of players who were out of contract, including skipper Luke Chambers and fellow stalwarts Cole Skuse and Freddie Sears, at the end of the season and told most of the rest of the squad that they could move on this summer.

Andre Dozzell joined QPR today, Gwion Edwards recently left for Wigan despite being offered new terms and keeper Dai Cornell’s contract has been terminated by mutual consent with plenty of others expected to join them in departing.

Speaking to The Athletic, Johnson says the plan is for around four of the squad Cook took charge of in March to remain at the club.

“We’re making wholesale changes,” he said. “We had long calls with Paul and we have a lot of faith in him.

“He was the manager that we were intending to appoint, and Marcus Evans reached out to us because (Cook) was appointed before we closed the deal, but that he was on our very, very short list.

“Paul showed up and there were something like 43 players on the extended roster; I think we’re keeping about 10 per cent of them. The question is how quickly you can bring in so much talent and get it to click.

“What we all want to do is take a sober approach to how quickly the turnaround starts to happen.

“You need a little time to gel and in a lot of environments, you’re not given a lot of time. We have to be pragmatic relative to the fact of how competitive the league is when you’re starting with a base that needs to be completely overhauled.”

Among those ear-marked to continue as part of the squad are the likes of right-back Kane Vincent-Young and striker James Norwood, while Town offered Edwards a new deal and took up an option on Aaron Drinan's contract.

Some of those who have been told they can move on will get the chance to convince Cook they're worth keeping hold of when they return for pre-season training a week on Saturday.

Already young forward Armando Dobra has stated his intention to win himself a place in the team.

The Blues have made two signings so far, forward Wes Burns and midfielder Lee Evans with West Brom’s Rekeem Harper set to become the third summer recruit, and Johnson is pleased with those additions.

“In these early days, I’m beyond encouraged relative to the quality and calibre of talent that we’ve already started to sign and a bunch of talent that’s sitting in the wings,” he continued.

“While there are some phenomenal clubs that we’re competing against, I also think given the dislocation that’s been happening in the global sport, there are a lot of clubs that are probably suffering right now.

“I think we’re well positioned to make sure that we can bounce out of this whole surreal period, in a very strong position.”

Photo: TWTD

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TRUE_BLUE123 added 21:44 - Jun 15
I am all for this.... But we better get a move on and get some players in.

Portman_Pie added 21:54 - Jun 15
Is it only me who’s starting to think this approach is suicide…? Let’s see where we are at Xmas shall we - but I’m not convinced in the slightest that this is a successful formulae.

brendenward35 added 22:10 - Jun 15
You can tell 90% of the players to find another club but if they are still under contract then they don't have to move on. Stinks of Paul Hurst and that didn't go very well. Need to be up and running in August might be too late in the new year.

MattinLondon added 22:13 - Jun 15
Before this announcement I was concerned with Cooks performance and this hasn’t really assured me. On a practical level there’s one thing moving on players but there’s another thing bringing in an absolute shed load of new players.

Of those players who will be moved on the vast majority will be younger players - is there now a policy of getting rid and to hell if they develop into good players? It all seems very very short term.


essextractorboy93 added 22:15 - Jun 15
Sounds good to me! However as others have said I’d like to see a few more join in the next couple of weeks. I’m sure lots of business will be done between clubs in pre season. Would be surprised if only 10% of last year’s squad are here next season, would expect a few more than that but very few justified their places. I’d ideally keep Downes, Woolfenden, Dobra, Norwood and KVY but that’s about it.


BlueandTruesince82 added 22:20 - Jun 15
I think we should all have a Jamaican woodbyne and relax..... "waiting in the wings".... like the sound of that.

Roo added 22:28 - Jun 15
I'd be fine with that if 2.5% of them was not Aaron Drinan !! Joking apart which I kind of am...or am I.... I am all for the complete clearout. Last season was the worst in living memory and I am no spring chicken so for me its exactly what we need... COYB

Karlosfandangal added 22:29 - Jun 15
Funny I posted on here that 15 out and two in was not ideal and the two we got in are not going to get us up on their own and got posted down lol.

Norwood can be Capt as he’s been here the longest and KVY can be the rush goalkeeper, just need jumpers for goal posts( joke by the way)

Don’t think we are going to be this unbeatable team come August, but hopefully we will be up there in December and starting to gel and become this unbeatable team.

Exciting times

ArnieM added 22:31 - Jun 15
The simple fact is , this Club HAD to reset . It’s not a quick process and is not pain free or necessarily pain free. So please be patient with the process. I doubt very much we will be promoted this coming season, it’s just too much to expect of a totally new squad in the time given. Be realistic !

At least the new owners are realistic enough to acknowledge this!

So far from a the short term approach some on here are accusing the owners of taking, you couldn’t be further from the truth . And for those that like analogies…,,,, “ you can’t make an omelette without first breaking the eggs”

Give the Club a chance !!!!!!

ringwoodblue added 22:36 - Jun 15
The words ‘baby’ and ‘bath water’ come to mind.

A risky strategy if we can’t get the right 12-14 more players (assuming we are going for a squad size of about 20)

Hope it pays off but I have some serious concerns.

TonyHumesIpswich added 22:41 - Jun 15
Genuine question. Are there examples of other clubs who have done this (only retained 10% of their squad). If so, were they successful/neutral/sunk etc? Interested just so as to see comparisons. Or are we one of the first clubs to do such a complete overhaul?

RobsonWark added 22:47 - Jun 15
Look we had a far too big a squad last season and most on here supported all the talk from the fitness people that we need a big squad and rotation to keep all the players fit and ready to play each week.

I said for the last 2 or 3 seasons we only need a small squad of players that play week in week out and can develop as a team like we had in 1981 when we only used about 15 players but most of you all new better and said we need this big squad that we can chop and change each week and that the fitness guys knew best! How stupid do yo all feel now??

Ther are very few players we should keep like KVY (who is way too good for this division) and Norwood (if he can stay fit).

Get rid of 40 players and get another 10-15 who want to play for Ipswich and give their all like those 2.

spanishblue added 22:53 - Jun 15
You cannot make a silk purse from a pigs ear, surely we needed a defense a midfield and a goal scorer or two , who would you keep mine is KVY & Norwood maybe Dobra & Downes, the only excitement we’ve had was KVYs few games hope he keeps fit, the last 3 years has been like pulling ones own teeth and the 2 before that were not much better

90z added 22:55 - Jun 15
I really do hope players like Norwood & KVY are working their socks off over summer to get fit! Would be 2 very key players for us going forward if they can stay fit! I also hope we can get Crooks in! What a signing that would be for some strength in midfield!

Norwichbeater added 23:00 - Jun 15
That is ridiculous. Getting rid of 90 percent of players is suicide. Sorry the likes of downes bishop wolferdon Norwood dobra etc etc can be part of this squad. U won’t get that many better replacements. What happens with players that aren’t sold? Stuck here with no motivation. I said when PC took over anything less than playoffs would be a failure. I really believe he is out of his league. I hope I am proved wrong.

have_a_word_with_him added 23:03 - Jun 15
Amazing that so many here seem to be quite content to keep players who have shown themselves to be inadequate. I accept that the manager plays a part, and the morale and atmosphere at the club has been utterly awful, but you either back the manager or back the players. I'm choosing the former, he seems to have a little bit of track record of building sides that do well...

BettyBlue added 23:04 - Jun 15
Great, we'll have half a team of disaffected players who don't want to be here but can't get a move and half a dozen new players who won't know what's hit them.

Paul Hirst? That's nothing compared to the shambles that is coming down the track.

KiwiBlue2 added 23:06 - Jun 15
Having a squad of 20-22, which it seems Cook prefers, probably means we will be keeping 7 maybe 8 of last seasons squad. Downes, Woolfie, Dobra, K V-Y, Norwood and possibly Bishop, Kenlock and Nolan?. That means c12 to 14 new players of which we so far have 2 with a few others being mentioned as being 'close to signing', e.g. Harper, Siegrist, McGillivray.
That means a lot of business needs to be done fairly quickly if we are to have any chance of hitting the new season up and running.
The other big question is how quickly the 'new' team will gel having taken onboard Cook's preferred style of play. Are we looking at 6 to 8 weeks for that with 8 to 12 games having been played? and if we make a slow start how quickly can we catch up on that? It is gouing to be a fascinating time..... coyb

RobsonWark added 23:11 - Jun 15
Norwichbeater I have ABSOLUTLEY no idea why you would want to keep Wolfenden?? Did you not see him laughing and joking with the Swindon players when he came off the pitch after they beat us at Portman Road?? HE HAS TO GOOOO!!!! There was a program on the other night about Man Utd and the players hated losing!! Yet he thinks it's funny when our club loses!!

Grow up!!! There are too many LOSERS on here that don't want us to win!!

RobsonWark added 23:17 - Jun 15
Kiwiblue Nolan has to go!! As he said under Paul Lambert he could have been at home with his wife and kids rather than travelling with the team for an away game and not getting on the pitch - GET RID!!!

Your other question "how quickly the 'new' team will gel" It can't take any longer that the other Sh#te we had on the pitch!!

wilnisfan added 23:26 - Jun 15
Wholesale changes really messed with the team when Hurst took over. So what is different about this time?

Well for a start we have players who are almost out of contract at the SAME.TIME, the director of football should have been sacked way sooner for allowing that to happen. An absolute travesty.

Then we totally bought the wrong players and expected them to come up a division and adjust.
This time we have the opposite way around, players who didn't need to come to this division:

And then we have the covid situation. EVERY team is in flux and seriously challenged financially for years to come.

Lets benefit from good management and decisions. And hope we have a great season and then owner continue to be engaged and positive

braveblue added 23:34 - Jun 15
Major surgery was needed. We were in terminal decline. Bring it on.

MVBlue added 23:39 - Jun 15
This is startling, refreshing, revolutionary! Has this ever happened to a top level club before?? Getting rid of 36 players.

Mariner1974 added 23:40 - Jun 15
RobsonWark...Do you not watch football these days? Watching all the lockdown matches, most players stay on the pitch and chat to the other players after a game. It's just part of modern football. Yes we'd all like to see that intensity during the game, but to want Woolfenden out of the club because he talked to some guys that he used to play on a team for, is just nonsensical.

It's worrying to hear these numbers and the 'you can all find another club approach'. This isn't Cook's club. This is our club. We've been around a whole lot longer. For him to just walk in and want to pull the rug from under all of them scares me, much like it did when Paul Hurst came along.

Yes we need a freshness, yes we need to bring in alot of experienced quality players, but let's not be short term about this. We've always believed in our academy and spent years berating MM for playing the old guard over some of the kids. We've just sold one of them Dozzell, who some may say always thought he was too good for this level, but lets look at the facts. He's only had one real season being an ever present. A season without experienced midfielders around him, and Downes out for a bunch of it. Bishop is a quality player (still my favourite at the club), but needs to play in the No. 10 role running at defences and have the shackles off. When Nolan, Bishop and Dozzell started the season together they looked the business.

Of course we need players in who can take the rough with the smooth. Be up for the battle on a rainy night in Accrington as well as a sunny saturday at Portman, but let's not chuck all that youth development in the bin. Woolfie is as good as Adam Webster was when he played for us...he needs a solid partner alongside him. KVY needs to stay fit and we've got a great RB there. Downes can still be that combative midfielder we want, with some more experienced heads around him, and Bishop playing in an advanced position can scare any defender in the division when he runs at them.

Norwood we know is up for the fight, and Dobra is gonna be a gem for us. Kayden I still really know where it all went wrong. They are giving away posters away for free at Portman Road of Kayden and Norwood together. That was only a season before. They were dynamite for a while together. Maybe Covid did really knock him for six.

I'm scared we'll ditch players that we can build with. Yes bring in fresh talent and ditch the dead wood like Judge, Ward and co, but it's not as cut and dry as 'ditch them all' just because Cook couldn't get them to play for him for the last 10 games.

I've bought a season ticket for next season and am looking forward to seeing lots of new players hungry to prove themselves, but I would like to see Woolfie, KVY, Downes, Dozzell, Lankester, Nolan, Dobra and Norwood all playing a part in that.

Taricco_Fan added 23:46 - Jun 15
ITFC fans, end of last season: "This team is terrible. A clear-out is required. I'd keep only 3 or 4 players."

ITFC fans, now: "We're keeping only 3 or 4 players?! This is terrible!"

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