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Ashton: This is Such an Important Appointment For This Football Club
Monday, 6th Dec 2021 14:30

Blues CEO Mark Ashton says the process of finding a new Town manager will take as long as it takes even if he’d ideally like the new man in place as soon as possible.

Town sacked manager Paul Cook on Saturday evening after nine months in charge at Portman Road.

Ashton says the Blues will be looking at candidates currently in jobs as well as those out of work at present.

“I’m not going to limit us,” Ashton said. “Absolutely. What happens is, I get managers recommended to me, their names sent, in and out of work, coaches in and out of work, from all different leagues.

“The reality is that I need to sift through whether those managers actually know that these agents have put them in because you would be amazed, people just randomly put names in trying to make a quid off the back of it.

“We have sift through that and do it properly. We’ll do that in the next 48 hours. We’ve got a game tomorrow and then Mike O’Leary and I will lead that process and I want to see as many as I can because this industry is filled with perception and it’s not until you meet people you see what they’re really about. I’ve got to clear my diary and this has to be my focus with Mike.”

A head coach rather than manager? “Sometimes you’re playing with semantics. I’m totally relaxed around titles. I think the one thing that’s clear to me is that I’ve worked at some, I would say, decent-sized clubs in my career. This is the biggest and it surprises me how big this club is historically and how big it is now.

“You’ve seen how many tickets we’ve sold, we’re not far off selling a combined 70,000 tickets for those three games over Christmas.

“So, I’m relaxed about titles but whoever sits in that seat, needs to be able to deal with the weight that this football club brings because there are big expectations.”

Has there already been interest? “Oh God yeah! And I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t looked at them all yet because I’ve been so busy all day yesterday until now dealing with the current situation. My team are compiling all the names and this afternoon we’ll start to go through them.”

Ashton, who wouldn’t be drawn on precisely which names, outlined how the ultimate decision will be made.

“What we’ll do is shortlist and then take it to the US board and then it’ll be a final board decision around recommendations.”

Does he want the new boss in by January? “I can’t say that. Earlier if possible, but this is such an important appointment for this football club that if I have to take an extra week at whatever point it is to get what we believe to be the right one, we’ll do it, but I’ll prefer to do it as soon as we can.”

If the new manager is in place by January, they will almost certainly want to make tweaks to the squad, will that option be there for them?

“One hundred per cent there will,” Ashton insisted. “We know the positions and I don’t think whoever comes in will alter the positions that we’re looking for.

“But in an ideal world, I’d have them in as soon as possible so they can influence those. But if they’re not in we’ll just get on, we’ve got a recruitment team that we’re building here and we’ve got coaches in place and we’ll get on with out business.

“It was the players that said to me yesterday, the board said the same thing. The players said to me ‘This season is not dead’ and we need to make sure we’re in that mix at the end of the season.”

Regarding Peter Reid’s situation, the former Sunderland boss recently having been appointed to a consultancy role working with Cook, Ashton said: “We need to have a conversation with Peter today.”

On Saturday striker James Norwood implied that it wasn’t Cook who had relegated him to the U23s but that the decision came from above. Will the striker be available to McGreal and in time the new manager?

“The manager selects whoever he wants to select,” Ashton said. “It’s down to the manager.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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IpswichT62OldBoy added 14:34 - Dec 6
The Peter Reid question answered.

Bazza8564 added 14:41 - Dec 6
Been supporting the club since 71 and in my opinion with the US investors, this is simply the biggest appointment the club has made in that time. So much riding on it and yes, this season is still alive. It needs to be, because the momentum and passion those investors have brought to the club (and that energy that we have fed off) will soon ebb away.
And realistically if could choose anybody ever associated with ITFC to get who he wants, it would be Mark Ashton

Bert added 14:51 - Dec 6
Whilst still in shock that Ashton and the Board acted so decisively (we are not used to that at ITFC), I find very little to disagree with in Aston’s interview. It is definitely the case that we can be in the play offs so with that in mind it is a good decision but one that is brave. Fans are fickle, we blow with the wind, we have strong opinions but rarely do we actually know what is going on behind the scenes. All I know is that we have an experienced CEO and chairman in leadership roles who know that ITFC has huge potential and the good work undertaken in the summer cannot be allowed to go even sourer than it has been in the last few weeks. Ashton has to get this right, the players have to get it right and if it takes until January to appoint the right person then so be it.

MaySixth added 14:52 - Dec 6
By their own admission, the US owners do not know enough about English football yet are making the final decision.

ArnieM added 14:52 - Dec 6
Thank god we have an infrastructure at this Club now. I suppose the sacking of Cook was inevitable (certainly easier), given that he was never the owners own choice. But we move on and I hope we get the right man…..but this seems a difficult job within the game now since success appears to be measured in hours rather than months or seasons these days ….FWIW , although I’d personally not be too upset if it turned out to be Farke (out of the contenders mentioned to date), I almost get the feeling it will be a person totally off radar.

phillymark added 14:55 - Dec 6
MaySixth - that's just semantics. The board of any company makes the fina decision on all big appointments. They will 100% go with the recommendation of Ashton and O'Leary

Ebantiass added 14:58 - Dec 6
Yes this next manager will be of the utmost importance ,just praying they get this right.

Cant help but think getting rid of Cook was the wrong idea but what´s done is done. There are still an awful lot of points up for grabs so this season is not done and dusted yet.

Not fat frank nor any ex scum ,or another Paul💜💙😎

miltonsnephew added 15:14 - Dec 6
Stand up Mick McCarthy 🤯

Orraman added 15:37 - Dec 6
Can someone please enlighten me as to the difference in responsibilities between a Manager and a Head Coach. I notice that the Premier League is divided between the two roles and would like to know why

JimInGreensboro added 16:21 - Dec 6
So, basically, the owners decided they'd rather have no full-time manager at all than keep Paul Cook. That's pretty dire stuff.

trncbluearmy added 16:30 - Dec 6
Why do people see everything in black and white and have no idea how the real world works.
The board will be guided by their advisers, this is how it works.
I t`s not a case of a bunch of soccer loving yanks deciding they want peter pan as team leader

Mike Ashton is doing a great job, having a proper CEO in place makes a hell of a difference

Monkey_Blue added 16:39 - Dec 6
I suspect doubts about Cook haven’t been just in the last week. There will I’m sure be lots of things behind the scenes that we’ll never know. The Norwood situation is interesting… Who’s telling the truth? It’s possible Cook told Norwood it wasn’t his decision to not play him and that was a case of buck passing? Personally I’m comfortable with Norwood never playing for town again. In fact I don’t think he should, but if he does I’ll hope he plays well.

pragmatic added 16:46 - Dec 6
Whilst everyone entitled to their opinion, this is 2021 & the real world of professional football business, sentiment & emotions cannot be allowed to overrule the running of our great club & I for one am fully behind Mark Ashton & the board,

markchips added 17:14 - Dec 6
a lot of the players need to shape up quickly before the January window opens , otherwise I can see more changes being made with little sentiment.

Tractorboy58 added 17:49 - Dec 6
I am pleased that we have new owners and that the finance comes from the pension funds of public service workers - both lots of financial backing and from an 'ethical' source. So far Mark Ashton has been very impressive and I am convinced that they always wanted their own man and they will get it right. In the meantime I am really looking forward to seeing how John McGreal does

churchmans added 18:03 - Dec 6
Finally a proper board running the club!! He was on point when he said the ipswich job and club are massive! I have always felt that way but so many melt supporters think its okay to be average!
I want prem,european football! Why is that so bad! We have tasted it under burley and obviously in our history before that!!
Think BIG cos we are BIG

pennblue added 18:03 - Dec 6
Terrible decision sacking Cook, it is quite clear we are short in certain positions, and Cook's exit will not change the fact that we need to strengthen, and until we do, we won't be successful, regardless of who is manager.

MaySixth added 18:12 - Dec 6
Well done Ashton and co - tear up the long term strategy when you face the first blip in the road.
All those players on long contracts and big wages, overbloated squad where assets will diminish when not played.
Don’t believe a word he says anymore after comments on “long term strategy, sustainable vision, we never get too high and never get too low”
Looking forward to the Americans asking their mate Drogba who to appoint and we get an idiot like Terry or Lampard

ashp19 added 18:20 - Dec 6
I for one appreciate how open, measured and respectful Mark Ashton is with his approach.

BossMan added 19:46 - Dec 6
I just hope that Ashton appoints someone the vast majority will get behind on day one but so far I haven't anybody mentioned that doesn't split opinions significantly. Plenty don't want Carrick, Lamoard, Terry and plenty don't want Appleton, Manning, Robinson and while it's impossible to please everyone it would be good to see an appointment which gets most fans excited about the remainder of the season. With the right manager and a couple of new faces in Jan promotion must remain our goal.

TB42 added 19:54 - Dec 6
It does bemuse me that some are so adamant that they would not accept FARKE should he be considered for the role? He managed to get the Canaries promoted twice to the Premiership. If he came to Portman Road and repeated the feat would that be so bad?!?! He might even relish the thought!!

norfolkbluey added 20:13 - Dec 6
For the first time in an age I feel like we have someone like Mark Aston who actually has a firm grip on the situation and who has the respect of the owners. Whoever comes, I am sure that this time we will get an experienced manager with a strong knowledge of what is needed to get us out of this league and beyond. We have to start believing again and put our faith in the new appointment whoever they are and trust that the club owners are more astute than some of us on this site think they are! We all have our own opinions but now that ME has no real say so in the appointments being made, I for one, feel a lot more happy. Good luck JM tomorrow we all hope you and the team do well. The defence should at the least do well, under your guidance and experience. COYB

adamisablue2 added 21:05 - Dec 6

A manager... well... manages everything. He is responsible everything from picking the side right to the dinner ladies. He manages the kit man, looks in on training, has a part in transfer negotiations, sends out scouts and generally manages the club in stead of a chairman who handles the business aspects of running a club.

A head coach is responsible for training, tactics and squad selection and nothing else. The rest of the clubs management will fall into the lap of the CEO who will answer to the chairman.

Both have drawbacks and benefits. Benefits of being a manager are you get direct control over everything. he gets the staff that he wants, the playing personnel (assuming the chairman is doing his/her job) and everything s run by the person. Obvious drawback is without a decent staff, the actual football is a fraction of the job and this is a hell of a lot of pressure that very few can survive and thrive in

Benefits of being a head coach is you can concentrate on tactics and planning picking the team in three game cycles and nothing else in the club matters. drawback is that you are beholden to others doing the managerial role and, unless your name is pep Guardiola (sometimes im convinced that even he just rocks up to the training ground to find man city have casually brought [insert class player here]) you pretty much get given the squad that your given and told to make do with it

In fact, I have a strong suspicion that it has happened with us last window. (the signing random players part) Id say Paul Cook had his pre deals of players he wanted to sign. Then along came Ashton and added MORE players with his contacts and knowledge of this league. All of a sudden we have 7 players for the same position, nothing for the left and probably a bit of early disharmony to go with it. Its probably why we ae looking for a head coach now and not a manager because we have Aston for that now

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