SO, Simon Clegg has gone. Before assessing his four years at Portman Road, the question we all want answered is this: Who will be the new face of Ipswich Town?

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We’re told that owner Marcus Evans will take a more hands-on role, and that he and three club directors will run the business.

That’s fine, but it doesn’t answer the question. What I’m talking about is the urgent need for a front man, or woman, to stand up and take the bouquets or brickbats.

You know, the way that David Sheepshanks did for so long, and the way that Simon Clegg has recently. I can’t see Marcus Evans – who has been very protective of his privacy - suddenly being happy to front press conferences and attend fans’ forums and the like.

Will it be one, or more, of the three directors, who have up to now taken a very low public profile? Maybe – but it would be a very big step for them to take.

One this is certain: That void needs to be filled. It needs to be filled quickly, and it needs to be filled by the right person.

Every single football club in the land has to have a public face, someone who links with the community.

In years gone by at Ipswich, it was the chairman – the two Cobbold brothers, John Kerr, David Sheepshanks, and most recently Clegg. Some has to fill that chair, or the club will be faceless. I’m sure Marcus Evans is on the case.

OK, what about Simon Clegg? Well, it’s fair to say that he has taken an awful lot of stick from the fans.

Some of that has happened because he doesn’t come from a footballing background, and some supporters appear to have believed that was an insurmountable obstacle.

But most of the flak has been over transfer dealings. There have been a number of times during Clegg’s tenure that a player seemed on the brink of signing for Town, only for the deal to fail to materialise with the target signing for another club.

The most galling was the case of Charlie Austin. The story was that he was at the club, but some hitch meant that he slipped through our fingers, went to Burnley and is now the leading scorer in the Championship.

Many fans have blamed Clegg for failed transfer deals, but the fact is that’s grossly unfair.

It is ALWAYS Marcus Evans who has the final say on transfers and players’ wages. It is, after all, his money which is being spent.

We can argue for ever and a day over whether Evans is prepared to spend enough, but let me ask this: How many Town fans would think it right to pay players more than £20,000 a week? Because, I can assure you, that’s what some of them demand.

As an Ipswich supporter of more than 40 years standing, I don’t want my club paying £1 million plus a year to players.

I’d much rather see them come through the ranks, like Luke Hyam, earning a fraction of those astronomical amounts.

The fact is that no fewer than 73 players have been signed in the last four years. The big problem for Clegg, and Evans, is that they haven’t managed to achieve success on the pitch.

For the majority of supporters, that’s the be-all and end-all. Win football matches on the rectangular piece of grass, and pretty much everything else is forgiven.

If the team isn’t winning enough matches, then everything is put in the spotlight. That’s what happened with Clegg. He did lots of good things at Ipswich Town, but ultimately he will be judged on performances on the pitch.

Again, rather unfair. It was Roy Keane and Paul Jewell who failed to deliver for Clegg, Evans and, most of all, for the fans. But, until the very end of their respective tenures, they pretty much escaped the fans’ wrath, which was still being directed towards Clegg.

Of course, he made mistakes. We all do. There’s little point in dwelling on them now. But I would never question his commitment, dedication to the job in hand, and his integrity.

I wish him well in whatever he does next. And I look forward to another new chapter in the history of Ipswich Town. It’s never dull, is it?

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22 comments

  • Well Clegg did an excellent job at Ipswich and helped them to avoid perhaps being booted out of the league altogether. So now he is gone the town will sink even further into the abyss as their decline gathers momentum.

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    ged scott

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • "Who will fill the Void left by Clegg" ? How about just leaving the 'Void' !, we won't notice any difference !!

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    freedomf

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • I don't think Simon Clegg could be blamed for letting Jordon Rhodes depart. I'm sure this was simply a footballing decision made by Roy Keane. I do wonder if Marcus Evans really has the time with his other business and presumably wanting a family life as well, to be as hands on with running of the club as is needed. Just missed out on being able to get Derek Bowden back. I still feel it was a mistake by ME to dispose of his services when he did.

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    Tim Bartlett

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Terry Hunt - Whilst I agree that £20,000 a week in wages is just asking too much. I am also fully aware of the fact that a lot of players are just greedy. However, perhaps wages were not always the stumbling block that prevented good players from signing on the dotted line. I think it is of paramount importance that the CE at any football club has to have a footballing background or good knowledge of the game. Mr, Clegg did not. His intentions may well have been good, but I personally think that this was a simple case of the wrong man for the job. This may well have been the reason that negotiations with potential players broke down perhaps?

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    NB

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Quite right Gaz. You know the old saying. "If you pay peanuts, all you get is monkies". No insult is intended.

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    SirAlf

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Terry Hunt - Whilst I agree that £20,000 a week in wages is just asking too much. I am also fully aware of the fact that a lot of players are just greedy. However, perhaps wages were not always the stumbling block that prevented good players from signing on the dotted line. I think it is of paramount importance that the CE at any football club has to have a footballing background or good knowledge of the game. Mr, Clegg did not. His intentions may well have been good, but I personally think that this was a simple case of the wrong man for the job. This may well have been the reason that negotiations with potential players broke down perhaps?

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    NB

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Sorry but why do ITFC need a 'face' ??????? Just who are the faces at Man U , Chelsea , Arsenal etc. Most of us would be hard pressed to name one CEO at any top club. Finances should be dealt with in the background & McCarthy has shown that he is more than capable of dealing with the press - it's not as difficult as the EADT wiould have you believe. As regards the Cobbolds any press comments were hardly insightful football related quotes - responces were invariably 'you'll have to ask the manager that' - or 'we just make sure there's plenty of claret in the boardroom' !!!!!!! Would it be too revolutionary to try things without a face - lets 'face it' with one we've been unable to get above the dizzy heights of 15th - & I'm sure we can get the turnstiles painted for less than £150,000 ????

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    Old Timer

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Well Brian, the moderator must be having coffee, we keep hearing of the investment being made by ME, I do not consider adding money onto the loan as an investment. in my opinion the quickest way to balance the books would be for the owner to made the loan a proper investment and drop his interest charge.

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    Cyril Baker

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • It wasn’t so much Clegg per se. He was obviously a very intelligent business man, successful in the athletics field. But what ME needed – and still needs – is a football savvy link between him, the management, players and fans. Someone who would recognize that whilst we don’t want a squad full of players on £1m a year, players like Charlie Austin and more recently DJ Campbell are worth pushing the boat out for. Someone who may have had a bit more knowledge on Jordan Rhodes (after all, most regular ITFC fans knew at the time that selling him was a huge mistake) and perhaps stood up to Roy Keane with authority on that decision. Someone who may have dealt with the abandoned Middlesbrough game last season in a better way. Someone who sees ITFC as a FOOTBALL CLUB with a proud history and not a business, and fans as fans not customers, as if ITFC were Next or M&S. I would prefer someone like Mick Mills, JohnWark, Simon Milton or maybe another ex-player or manager, but it doesn’t have to be. Look at David McNally who has provided the platform and ethos of an entire club with such success up the road. Or the job those leading Swansea have done so well through successive managers. But please let it not be another business-speak mate of ME’s.

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    Mike Rotch

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • As ever, I can only read the headline before losing interest. The head of a pin should fill that void rather neatly.

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    Bertie Shrimp

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Many of the 'brickbats' thrown at SC have been brought about by his own 'naivety' in saying such stupid things like " the atmosphere is much better on the training ground now" & "half of the turnstiles have been painted". He also alienated many supporters when he 'sang' the praises of the new executive suites which are totally irrelevant to them when they are more interested in having to pay the highest ticket prices in the Championship to watch, during the tenures of ME & SC, utter dross served up by their previous two managers. If as SC says, the owner has invested heavily in the club why has the debt doubled during their watch and what has happened to the transfer monies received from the Rhodeand Wickham sales ? I for one do not feel much hope for Premiership status under what remains of the backroom board, they are faceless and likely to remain so but everyone knows what ME looks like by now so is his reluctance to publicly show his face occasionally, due to the fact that he also is still on a steep learning curve football wise like SC and does not wish to commit similar verbal gaffs as SC? No, ME still wants Premiership status on the cheap. That's if our moderator will be allowed to pass these comments.

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    Brian Betts

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Ged, Ged. You are such a wind up merchant. I can only laff at your spurious comments. No further comment.

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    SirAlf

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Certain players warrant the high salaries (Austin included) as they can make the difference between success or failure. Success resulting in promotion to the premiership brings huge financial rewards making the larger salaries a good investment, as do the sort of sell on values achievable when those players move on. Instead the Ipswich way has been to sign the cheaper less talented individuals who end up walking away for no money or even worse getting paid by the club to go. They cost the club money to get rid of and provide poor value when they are here, resulting in a relegation fight and dissatisfied fans. Would we be in our current league position with a striker who had scored 24 goals this season ? of course not. One good striker like Austin on £25000 per week is much better value than two or three on £10,000 who hardly ever score or produce consistent performances (Chopra, JET, Ellington etc) Austin must be worth at least £8m if sold compared to peanuts for the aforementioned cheaper alternatives currently on our books !

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    gaz man gaz

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Although I take on board Mr Hunt's comments, surely something has fundamentally gone wrong during the Clegg years. ME paid him to do the job intended, however in these modern times of agents and big transfer fees Mr Clegg was out of his depth. Without harping back to "the good old days", do you think Bobby Robson had to go cap in hand to the board or sit and hope the chief exec would find him a great player? Of course not. Is it a coincidence that Big Mick was " in his sickbed " on Saturday, the transfer deadline finished midnight last Thursday and Mr Clegg departs a few days later! My belief is that deals were not done to the dissatisfaction and frustration of MM and ultimatums were made, possibly by MM, culminating in Mr Clegg " honourably "leaving the club! Conspiracy theory or not......let Mick run the club his way, if ME doesn't like it , it's his money after all, then get in another inept manager, as before. I truly believe Mick McCarthy is no different to Sir Bobby in his passion and desire to get there in the end. Trust his judgement in potential targets and back him up, let the shackles off and to coin an old phrase " don't buy a dog and bark yourself " But again, what do I know!!!

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    PHILIIP FAIRBROTHER

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • I didn't think you'd post my earlier notes!!! Good old moderator!!!! Vetted by ITFC???

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    PHILIIP FAIRBROTHER

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Normally the old adage is true that " it is better the devil you know..."but in the sad case of Simon Clegg I doubt very much that this applies.

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    FRANK WESTON

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Fill the void left by Clegg. Saw that Keith Harris and Orville on the telly the other night, they could always duck responsibilities just like old Cleggo.

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    floridaboy1

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • You have already answered your own question. The 'void' created by Major Soundbite exiting stage left will be filled with a vacuum. The faceless men in suits and invisible man will simply carry on doing running Offshore Investment the way they have been for 5 years. His massive and completely unwarranted pay off will simply be added to the debt.

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    Rob Steroo

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Brian, you are indeed fortunate as if I made any mention of ME my entries get blocked so I am not hopeful of this one making it.

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    Cyril Baker

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • "Who will fill the Void left by Clegg" ? How about just leaving the 'Void' !, we won't notice any difference !!

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    freedomf

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • You've made the same mistake as your colleague yesterday, the leading scorer in the Championship is Glenn Murray, not Charlie Austin.

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    Ted Maul

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

  • Has done good things. Name one. Or more if you are party to information that we are not..

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    Mike Wyatt

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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