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Lee: It Was a Mad Time to Work at the Club
Friday, 18th Jun 2021 11:59

Former academy coach Alan Lee has lifted the lid on life working at Town during the latter years of the Marcus Evans era, branding it an “unprofessional environment” with “no accountability throughout the club”.

Former striker Lee returned to the Blues as an academy coach in 2013 but moved on in 2018 as his frustrations with life at Town grew to the extent where he hated working there.

“You just started to feel that working in the academy, I thought it was a very unprofessional environment,” he said in part two of his Blue Monday-TWTD podcast.

“There was so much going on, the behaviours, a lack of discipline, from coaches. Standards.

“Everyone was trying to go on every course to try and get as many qualifications as they could. Everyone was trying to show that tactically they can work with the first team and win games.

“Very few people would actually do a bit of work one-on-one with players. Every decision was short-term, no one was making long-term decisions for the good of the football club and I felt it had taken over the club.

“There was no support there. I started hating working there and I could see in [former manager] Mick [McCarthy] that the stress built because he didn’t deserve the treatment he was getting. And he wasn’t getting support from the club.

“Ultimately, I remember the day it was sorted out. He had the meeting with [former owner] Marcus [Evans] and his contract wasn’t renewed or whatever they said, it was mutual.

“He came in the next day and he looked five years younger and I realised actually that was the best thing for him. He just had this weight off his shoulders. He was carrying everything.

“It was a mad time to work at the club. You could see everything going, it was like a car crash in slow motion, like the Five-Point Plan and this idea that we’re going to stroke it around at the back.

“I can remember thinking, ‘I’ve got to get out of here’. I had very little respect for the people I was working with, or most of them certainly.

“In the space of two years we lost Mick, Terry Connor, Andy Liddell [fitness coach], Malcolm Webster [goalkeeper-coach], Simon Milton [director of academy sales/player liaison], Steve McGavin [head of academy recruitment], James Scowcroft, Titus Bramble, Steve Foley, Ben Pugh, Duncan Wheeler [who were all coaching in the academy], sorry if I’ve missed anyone.

“We’d lost so many people you could depend on to do their job for Ipswich Town. They didn’t want to go and work for the first team, they didn’t want to up their careers or think about the next job, you could depend on these guys to do good. And they all went.

“I thought ‘I’ve got to get out of here’. I can’t look sponsors in the eyes or do the end-of-season Player of the Year awards and think ‘oh, this great and we’re on the right track’ because I knew we weren’t.

“Decisions weren’t being made for the right of the football club. And the football club suffered badly because of it.”

He added: “With leadership, you have to have accountability. What I found was that there was no accountability throughout the club.

“Coaches, people didn’t have to do their jobs. Some people chose to do them, some didn’t know how to do them. No one had to do their jobs, no one was responsible for anything. Without that, it was just the wild west.

“I think the people that Marcus had in charge and the people he went to for leadership had no idea what you might have to do to be a successful professional footballer, to become a professional footballer, to run a team or where to invest or what to do.

“When the Five-Point Plan was going out, I was thinking, ‘what were we doing before?’. It’s a soundbite.

“I remember when we were saying we’re going to stroke it around at the back and everyone had this plan, and I remember going straight to Bryan Klug and saying ‘Bryan, we will get relegated. Do the people not realise why Mick had to play the way he did last year?’

“It was insane because we were saying we going to stroke it around at the back.

“I remember that that they were looking for a manager and I remember phoning Dave Bowman, saying ‘what about this manager, what about this? They’ve got some experience’.

“An old manager of mine phoned me up and said ‘Alan, can you get my CV in?’. And I phoned Dave Bowman and he said ‘they won’t even consider him’. ‘But he’s had two promotions to the Premier League!’. He said, ‘Yes, I know but they want somebody young and fresh’.

“You had this mad situation where you got the impression that the job was going to be given to somebody who was inexperienced enough to say ‘yes, I can work under those budget constraints and play it out from the back’. And you could see it coming.

“But again, no one was really responsible, no one knew who had come up with the plan. I certainly know that anyone that was experienced and honest at that football club was not consulted. Anyone qualified to put a plan together was not consulted.

“They might be good plans for Man City, they might sound good and everyone says ‘well, if you play the same formation throughout the club it’ll help’.

“Anyone who suggests that just hasn’t worked in youth development at our level, that is so far from the truth you don’t know what you’re talking about if you think that’s a helpful perspective. Knowing the challenges you have with youth, it’s just nonsense.”

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Bluearmy_81 added 12:11 - Jun 18
"Thank God we've got Evans..." 🙄🤢🙄

Bobbiesboys added 12:19 - Jun 18
That confirms everything we have all suspected was happening. Thank god those days are gone and you can see why there has been such a clear out of backroom staff and first team players. At least now the future is looking good. Exciting times ahead at last!

BeattiesBackPocket added 12:20 - Jun 18
And there we have it where are all those posters who still think we were better off under his regime and appear to not even give the new owners chairman and CEO a chance?? He’s not the first person, player or manager to say this about the club and Evans it was rotten to the core. I’m glad we’ve got someone in now who isn’t afraid to say you can all go if you don’t want to work hard for your place and the club or embrace the changes.
Hopefully the minority on here like bettyblue and monkeyblue will now give it a rest and get behind the team owners and new CEO.

Bad_Boy_Mark added 12:22 - Jun 18
An absolutely staggering read! A fresh start, with quality leadership and shrewd investment should help us get our club back to an even keel, and give us a better chance of gaining promotion!

Bluearmy_81 added 12:22 - Jun 18
Rabbit has been pretty quiet lately... 🤔😂

ImAbeliever added 12:24 - Jun 18
Come on Alan tell us what you really think…

Ipswichbusiness added 12:24 - Jun 18
I was in favour of ME, simply because I feared that we would go bust without his money.

It seems that I was wrong and that he was the source of many of our problems.

It does tend to explain why so many previously successful managers failed during his ownership.

BeattiesBackPocket added 12:25 - Jun 18
Where’s Rabbit these days I hope he reads this the amount of grief I got saying exactly this on this site especially this quote:
‘When the Five-Point Plan was going out, I was thinking, ‘what were we doing before?’. It’s a soundbite.‘ some of us said this all along.
Now we have new structure in place let’s just forget the evans debacle era and get ITFC to where it should be onwards and upwards COYB’s

arc added 12:26 - Jun 18
I'm trying to read between the lines here, as I'm sure we all are: who is he having a go at? Is it Hogg and Nash? Were they the coaches looking to move up?

Reuserscurtains added 12:29 - Jun 18
Most normal football men with a brain could see the Hurst ‘new era’ was going to fail and Mick was over achieving year after year. Thank god Evans is gone… well almost!

BeattiesBackPocket added 12:29 - Jun 18
Arc to me it was most people coaches owner and players at the club let’s not forget when Hirst came in Chambers wasn’t happy with his coaching and fitness methods so started a coup pretty quickly not many other clubs would let that happen that quickly. This is why we needed this cull at the club and so many new people have come in this is why cook has the biggest job of any manager ever this season.

DurhamTownFan added 12:32 - Jun 18
For a while I’ve thought that a lot of stuff like this would come out after ME left. It’s like he ran the club like Sports Direct: minimum investment and structure, leaving gaping holes. I expect a few more ex employees might weigh in like this, and top respect to Lee for saying this.

Hopefully, the new guys know what they’re doing. I really hope they do...

Suffolk_n_Proud added 12:33 - Jun 18
An eye opening read, I think it shows that there are many people behind the downfall and what I find interesting is that it looks like the club gave into the fans wanting instant change/success and calling for Micks head and better football, which has then been one of the main factors of our relegation.

Everyone seems to blame someone but realistically I think everyone from the very top (Marcus) to the people he employed all the way down to the players and fans (yes some fans are to blame as well) are responsible for the position we ultimately ended up in.

But hey ho, new horizons and a bright future to come hopefully. Onwards and upwards

itfctilidie added 12:34 - Jun 18
Regardless of his 5% Marcus Evans should never be aloud to step foot inside Portman Road on a match day ever again without facing nothing but hostility from all around him. The bloke is an absolute disgrace

Monkey_Blue added 12:34 - Jun 18
Was illuminating and no offence, I take what he says more as fact than some of the nonsense on here. Those who were celebrating at MM leaving, who insisted we needed a young up and coming lower league manager, who were overly enthused by Lambert and assume cook would have done better without cash as structure…. That covers most on here. If the yanks and Ashton get the structure right brilliant. If cook gets us up great…. But it’s evidence not words that make an opinion

RegencyBlue added 12:42 - Jun 18
This was obvious, to anyone who cared to see what was going on, for years.

Turnstile Blues ran an article about how things were when Clegg was supposedly running the Club for Evans and from memory it was full of this sort of stuff from a former employee. The Evans fanboys wouldn't hear a word against their Messiah however.

Funny how they have all gone very quiet of late!

BeattiesBackPocket added 12:45 - Jun 18
But monkeyblue it won’t happen overnight you guys have to realise that this is why the new owners and ceo have had to get rid of so many staff and players and it’s a complete reset. We all want new players in but it’s not that easy till July 1st and people on holidays. To me they’re doing everything we need and they need structurally but to expect over night success after the absolute shambles and RUIN evans left us in is moronic. We need less moaning about the new owners and more support

BlueySwede added 12:46 - Jun 18
While I don´t doubt very much of this is true, I think it´s important to remember that this is the view of one individual, and no chance for Marcus Evans to defend himself. I am also struggling to see who exactly Alan Lee is blaming, the critisism doesn´t, in most parts, seem to be pointed directly at Evans. Who is to blame? Hurst? (wouldn´t suprise me, to be fair...) I am really hoping that the club is on the upturn now, surely we can´t sink lower?

eddiespearitt03 added 12:57 - Jun 18
At the end of the day there were too many employees taking the wages for a poor job.

Suffolkboy added 12:59 - Jun 18
When things go wrong always start looking from the top down ! The unhinged chain of accountability and responsibility was evident for year after year ; either way ME lost the plot , in that he did not give away his authority ,nor was able to set up a structure of accountability ,so ,and with no consistent and ready involvement ,nor any type of Managerial supervision and direction from ME ,who was the money man , DRIFT was inevitable !
PL was not articulate ,or sometimes even understandable ,but he emphasised the need for total revision of the ‘useless ‘ structure — seems he wasn’t alone !
ITFC is a Club with great potential ,let’s all hope the road is well recognised and there’ll be absolutely no compromise - though we must hope the quality and qualities of staff are recognised and retained where possible .

timkatieadamitfc added 13:05 - Jun 18
@tractorboy1985, don’t think Evans was total poison as you put it just think he was nearly clueless about running a football club, but as you rightly say let’s forget those names in the past and concentrate on the future.COYB

Bazza8564 added 13:06 - Jun 18
If I've ever read anything that justifies a start again from scratch policy this is it. Refreshing read despite the painful truth

Onwards from here!

blues1 added 13:07 - Jun 18
BeattiesBackPocket. Absolutely spot on there. Unfortunately we already have people on here(so called fans) who are criticising both Cook and the new owners before theyve even had a chance to put their plans into place. And who expect success under them to be immediate, and if it isnt will undoubtedly be calling for the managers head straight away. (Betty blue already is, idiot). Fans have to realise, as both brett johnson and mark Detmer have said, this could take some time to put right after the years of decline at the club. And I'm sure the true fans realise that. Just a shame we have so many fans that success has to he instant and wont give them the time to put the damage right.

Bluearmy_81 added 13:17 - Jun 18
Blues, agreed. It's strange, these fans had eternal patience for Evans, 14 years of failure and underachievement but they want/demand instant success and results now with the new owners! Bizarre

Barty added 13:20 - Jun 18
So glad that Evans has gone and we can now look forward to better things.


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