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O'Leary: Taking a Step at a Time to Build the Club is the Right Direction
Tuesday, 3rd Aug 2021 12:51

Blues chairman Mike O’Leary says the aim will be to build the club and take it forward in a sustainable manner.

Town’s success in the top flight in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s was alluded to at last night’s PLC EGM and it was asked whether the Blues could ever hit those heights again.

Manager Paul Cook responded: “Historically and traditionally, Ipswich Town Football Club and Portman Road has been one of the most talked about, one of the most famous grounds and arenas going back all the years to the [great] managers of the club.

“One of the big things in football nowadays is that with Sky Sports coming into the game and the money that the TV companies pump into football, the reality is that each division is now becoming a bigger obstacle.

“The majority of promoted teams are now going to be the relegated teams back into the division they’ve come from.

“So I think for us as a football club, we’ve got to have that ambition, we must believe that we’re going to go back to the big league, for sure.

“But taking the correct steps along the way. Obviously we want to be promoted this year, there’s no getting away from that. I believe that we will put a team together that will be good enough to challenge at that top end.

“I think when you get into the Championship, [CEO] Mark [Ashton] and [chairman] Mike [O’Leary] have alluded to the fact that the budgets have to change. The money that clubs are spending in the Championship is frightening, it really is.

“And obviously then there’s the jump to the Premier League. I think the Jack Grealish transfer which may be about to go through of £100 million, if someone had said that back to us in 1984 or 1985 in those days that there would be a £100 million footballer, I don’t think we might have wanted to be in those leagues.

“But the reality is that we do want to be in those leagues. We crave seeing Portman Road full.

“I’ve always loved being a manager under the lights, for whatever reason. You get those wintery nights when the crowds are in, the team are playing well and we’re winning.

“As everyone’s alluded to, the community grows with the football team. If the football team is doing well, the town’s happy, the city’s happy.

“That’s certainly my job, my staff and all the staff at the training ground now, is to deliver that this year in League One and then hopefully the Championship next year.”

O’Leary added: “We’re keen to build something that has a very solid base, that is sustainable and that we can take forward a step at a time.

“I think we’ve got to accept that there is a massive gap between divisions and for us to have expectations that we can simply jump from one to another to another in the space of a few years is probably asking a bit much.

“But that won’t stop us from having a darn good go. And it won’t stop us from trying to take it a step at a time to build this club up from where it sits today.

“Have some patience and make sure we are delivering what you want us to deliver, and we’ll come and listen regularly.

“But I think taking a step at a time to build the club and to take it forward is really the right direction.

“If we have aspirations that take us too far too fast we risk problems. Having that sustainability and that base and building on that is more important.”

Photo: ITFC

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Suffolkboy added 13:20 - Aug 3
Very sound ,very logical and well founded comment based on a lifetime of experience !

Dog added 13:40 - Aug 3
Good enough for me Paul. A side that is going to challenge - so a top 8 finish this season to improve on the previous two seasons is a good place to be.

Just a word of caution - Morecombe have 15 new arrivals and got rid of 17 players. Much the same as us, but with a much lower financial resource.

A comfortable win 2-0 or 3-1 is what we should be expecting on Saturday - even if the football does not flow.

KernewekBlue added 14:14 - Aug 3
"a step at a time".

That's a sensible and realistic stance to take.

Let not one of us forget that that must now be our mantra... One Step at a Time!

If our owners back up their promises with their actions, they'll have no grief from me. As long as they're upfront and honest about their intentions and show that it isn't just paper talk and meaningless rhetoric, we should all back them up 100%.

Whatever we might think or hope about our chances for this coming season, for gaining a quickfire promotion back to The Championship, we must realise that it isn't going to be an easy ride. No other team in this division is going to give us an automatic pass to a win or make it easy for us to win the league... far from it. Every other side in League One will have their own targets and their own aspirations to aim for. This rebuilding process we're going through was past due, we all knew that some time ago, but rebuilding the whole team doesn't guarantee us an immediate return to a higher division.

That being said, we can and should expect the standard of our football to rise and our competitiveness increase accordingly.

The bar for our expectations has been raised for this season and a new hope has been given to our fanbase that we at least now have a chance to challenge at the right end of the table.

If we manage to reach the giddy heights of promotion at the end of 21/22, we'll all be celebrating but, if it doesn't quite work out this time around, let's not decry the whole process and throw our dummies out of the pram... let's get behind our club and form a solid, concerted front to support and push our boys forward with optimism for the next season.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel and I believe it's getting ever nearer.

Onwards and upwards.



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