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Ashton: Training Ground Rebuild the Next Big Project
Wednesday, 13th Sep 2023 20:11

Town CEO Mark Ashton says a multi-million pound rebuild of the club’s Playford Road training ground is the next big project which will be undertaken.

Over the summer, the Blues spent £2.5 million on renovating the Portman Road pitch, while the training ground has already had similar hybrid surfaces installed, but with much bigger work still to come.

“The next big project for us is the training ground,” Ashton said at this evening’s Fans’ Forum at Portman Road.

“We’ve invoked architects to work with us on the design for the training ground, we need a total rebuild of the training ground for the first team and we need a more professional environment that [manager] Kieran [McKenna] can work in, develop players, enhance players, recruit players to.

“We’ve got the pitches now, but we need a multi-million pound spend on the facilities at the training ground to bring us up to speed.

“That is the next project. I think Kieran would have kicked me if I’d have said anything else.”

Quizzed on the club’s plans for the former Staples site behind the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand, chief financial officer Tom Ball added: “With Staples, it’s a case of being a little bit patient, to be honest.

“The main thing for us was dropping the building, a) to stop a rates bill, but b) to allow the works to be done on the pitch over the summer. It was a very handy grounds compound.

“The reality is that we don’t just look at that as Staples and what are we going to put on that piece of land.

“We look at Portman Road as a venue and as a football stadium and also work with the council and look at the town of Ipswich and ask ‘What does the town of Ipswich need in the town centre?’.

“The Staples site is adjacent to the football club, it’s also a two-minute walk from the train station. We’ve got to think around all the best uses of that land, mainly for the football club because we’re biased, but for the town as a whole and what delivers the best return for the town and the county.”

Regarding the long-term plans for a rebuild of the Cobbold Stand, which is now more than 50 years old, Ball continued: “It’s something that we’re working on and as soon as you say you’re working on it I think everyone anticipates that something will happen immediately.

“We’re working on it because we like to have options, we want to have things there ready for when the time is right and the time when we’re looking at it, we’re talking years away, we’re not talking 12 months, we’re not talking 24 months, we’re talking a good few years into the future because we want to be firmly established wherever we are and we don’t want to be turning fans away.”

Ashton also announced that the memorial garden behind the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand for the ashes of fans previously interred on the pitch will open on 11th November.

In addition, the Blues CEO revealed that a couple of smaller screens could be sited around the ground at some point in the future.

Photo: ITFC

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MattinLondon added 20:26 - Sep 13
‘What does the town of Ipswich need in the town centre?’.

Wow - they really are looking at a much wider picture than just the club and what that needs.

Exciting times.

IPSWICHMOUSE added 20:42 - Sep 13
It will be a hotel of some description for definite....Love this from the club though , whatever it may be...COYB..ITID..

Suffolkboy added 20:44 - Sep 13
Forward looking , concrete action plans and genuine belief and enthusiasm all openly conveyed !
We are so so lucky to have such ownership !

BlueCanadian added 21:33 - Sep 13
I thought they leveled the Staples site to make room for the base of the Kieran McKenna statue.

Nigeglos added 08:29 - Sep 14
This is what he did at Bristol city, following the same model so far

JewellintheTown added 08:37 - Sep 14
Kieran: "Mark, we're gonna run out of space with this trophy cabinet".
Mark: "Will the Staples site be big enough?".
Kieran: "For now ...."

ArnieM added 08:40 - Sep 14
GC will be doing here what they did in Phoenix. It will be a whole area re development with Co partners, IBC. The stadium I suspect will become multifunctional venue for 365 day usage, which is far more commercially viable than a “football stadium” used once a fortnight.

Americans think big, play hard, and expect results. So far, so good, and it’s most definitely exciting times to be involved with ITFC (players and fans alike). In many ways Ashtons job atm is almost easy.He has a monumental, financially backed, project he is able to sell to incoming players. Money compared to previous periods in this club’s history, is no object (but is within FFP rules). We wouldn’t be getting done if the players in that we currently are if there was but real backing to make the dream come true.

People might laugh when I say the next bit, but ever since GC took over here, I’ve been of the firm opinion that their long term goal and thinking is focused on striving towards European football and a sustained status at this level (that’s where the payback is). So when Kieran says he wants to manage in the Champions League, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his personal goal being achieved at ITFC. It’s about time this club had this kind of input because the fan base has always been there and the fans have flooded back in the last 24/12 to underline this point. We can all see this project us “ for real” . But it is being managed very professionally, and very financially competent and astutely. Like all all good pension funds they look very much over a long term investment. They’ve chosen ( thank god) Ipswich Town FC and they are rebuilding this club from the bottom up. It’ll take s few years and we are progressing ( so far) very steadily and year on year. Let’s enjoy this ride and continue our fantastic support for the club.


Gazelle added 09:29 - Sep 14
I’d like to see something done to accommodate more home fans when the away side doesn’t take up its allocation. Most away sides in this league will only bring a few hundred.

Naylorsrightboot added 10:13 - Sep 14
Gazelle: l think most away sides in this league will bring a couple of thousand. There are a few that will only bring a few hundred but not many. We aren't in league 1 now.

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