Ashton: Women's Team Very, Very Important Part of Club
Tuesday, 3rd Aug 2021 13:30
Blues CEO Mark Ashton says Ipswich Town Women is a “very, very important part of the football club” which he says will develop naturally as investment is made in all areas of Town.
The Tractor Girls were elevated to FA Women's National League Southern Premier Division (tier three) for the first time in June after making a successful application following two curtailed campaigns in which they led FAWNL Division One South East (tier four) .
For the first time this summer the club has handed players professional contracts with Sophie Peskett, Paige Peake, Anna Grey and Eloise King having put pen to paper.
“It’s an area that we’re fully versed with,” Ashton said when asked about the women’s team at last night’s PLC EGM.
“I’ve just come from a club [Bristol City] where there the women’s team probably out-punched its weight and up until this season had played consecutively in the WSL.
“Playing at the top flight of women’s football now is a real challenge because what’s happening is, a bit like the Premier League, you’re seeing the financial gulf grow.
“I think the women’s team will develop naturally as we invest in all areas of the football club.”
He says a women’s game at Portman Road isn’t going to happen this season: “That’s highly unlikely because at the moment we haven’t got a modern pitch and we need to keep as much football off the pitch as we can to protect it for Paul and the men’s first team.
“But the women’s team is a very, very important part of the football club. Like other areas, we’ll put a business plan behind that area of the football club, we’ll link it to community, we’ll link it to the elite performance side of the club and we’ll take it forward.
“But again, what it has to be, it has to be sustainable. What doesn’t work is if you simply throw money at any team. I think it was interesting that someone said earlier that we wouldn’t be liked because we’re spending money.
“It’s interesting until you get to the devil of the detail. The devil of the detail is that people don’t quite understand what we’ve brought in because we’ve brought in good funds this season.
“We’ve spent sensibly, as [chairman] Mike [O’Leary] has said, we have a budget, we have a budget for the men’s team, we have a budget for the women’s team and we’ll work through it methodically and we’ll build all aspects of the club properly over time.”
Photo: Ross Halls
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