Almost four years ago, owner Marcus Evans revealed his five-point plan to make Ipswich great again, so the question is, how is it developing? Before we answer that, we must look again at all of his dynamic proposals.
- To provide a significant ongoing financial commitment to the club’s academy, enabling a steady flow of players into the first-team (8 out of 10) In many respects, Evans has largely achieved this. Manager Paul Lambert has been impressed with the improvements and the number of younger players on the very fringes of first-team football.
- To provide a sustainable and competitive squad salary budget (9 out of 10) The fact that Ipswich has been able to hang on to players they might otherwise have sold suggests that the squad is relatively contented. In the case of Flynn Downes, ambition perhaps got the better of him, and this is perfectly natural for a footballer with ability. As you develop, it is a race against the clock to realise your dreams, but sometimes you have to bide your time and continue to develop your career. He seems relatively happy again now and money is not always the driving force behind a move away anyway.
- To make annual investment funds available to purchase players in the early stages of their career and to assist in their development (3 out of 10) This one appears to have been badly missed. There is no money in the kitty and of course, the damned Coronavirus pandemic has made it even less likely now.
- Maintaining a stable management and coaching team (9 out of 10) This has been very much the case since Lambert came on the scene a couple of years back. Even Bryan Klug and Kieron Dyer are back!
- To develop a team to play attractive and exciting football (4 out of 10) We are still missing the boat on this one; although there has been some improvement on the McCarthy years. We must remember too, that when this mission statement was first produced, we were still in the Championship under Mick McCarthy, and we have been going backwards ever since.
So then, the score after four years is above average but if this was a school report, the teacher would suggest that the pupil must do better. This applies here too, and it is especially apparent when it comes to playing attractive and exciting football. We are very far away from making Ipswich great again, and without considerable financial backing, this won’t happen. The best we could probably hope for is a steady improvement and a return from whence we came.