Ipswich Town have just been promoted to the Premier League and want to sign you for the upcoming campaign. CEO Mark Ashton has agreed a deal with your club, and you’re now heading to Suffolk to meet with him and manager Kieran McKenna to discuss the move.

They know they want you, but why would you want to join the Blues? Here’s what Alex Jones thinks they might say to a prospective signing to convince them to make the move this summer....

East Anglian Daily Times: Kieran McKenna has signed a new long-term deal to remain at Portman RoadKieran McKenna has signed a new long-term deal to remain at Portman Road (Image: PA)

The McKenna factor

You’re going to be working under McKenna, that’s now confirmed.

You don’t live under a rock, you’ve seen all the speculation. He’s been linked with Manchester United, Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion, but he’s agreed a new long-term deal to remain at Ipswich. That’s loyalty for you.

You only need to talk to the players who’ve worked under him to understand what he’s like. Ignore the rumours from his time as a coach at Old Trafford, because at Ipswich, everyone talks highly of him and his training sessions. He knows how to develop any player, be it a raw, talented youngster or a veteran with limited top-level experience.

Just by talking to him, you’ll be swayed by who he is as a manager and a person. His ideology is clear, and he knows how he wants to help your development and progress the club. You can tell that, at some point in the future, he’ll manage one of the biggest clubs in the world. If you can impress him, he might just take you with him.

East Anglian Daily Times: Town were one of the fittest teams in the Championship last seasonTown were one of the fittest teams in the Championship last season (Image: PA)

Tactics and training

In modern football, most teams play the same way. It’s open and expansive, with teams playing out from the back. It can be exciting, sure, but who remembers that drab stalemate between Manchester City and Arsenal at the end of March? That’s what happens when two sides cancel each other out.

McKenna explains that Ipswich’s core ideology is no different – at least it wasn’t in the Championship, although that might have to change in the Premier League. They want to impose themselves, play attacking football and show that they’re better than the opposition. What’s different?

He creates excellent game-plans that combat the opposition’s main threats and explains how to implement them in a way that’s both simple to understand and incredibly effective.

There are countless examples he can show you, such as when he brought in George Edmundson to face Hull City at home, knowing that his profile would work best against Liam Delap’s strengths. He also explains how he turned Kayden Jackson, a striker who was cast aside by various managers in League One, into an effective Championship winger by honing in on what he did well instead of looking at where he can improve.

McKenna already knows your profile. He has all your stats and all the data about your performances last season. He explains how he’ll fit into his team, but also into the dressing room. Ultimately, he has to judge you as a person too, knowing that you’ll have to be the right type of character to gel with the other players. There are no bad apples in the squad, which is why many players stay at the club for so long.

Oh, and if you join the Blues, you’ll soon be in the best physical shape of your life. Going into last season, McKenna showed his squad the running numbers of previous champions Burnley and said they’d have to match them. That’ll be no different in the Premier League. Get ready for those bleep tests underneath the searing Austrian sun in pre-season.

East Anglian Daily Times: The club are looking to redevelop their training facilities soonThe club are looking to redevelop their training facilities soon (Image: KKA / ITFC)

The facilities

This is Ashton’s time to shine. He’s made this presentation a thousand times before and knows that he can convince you to buy into a long-term project with exciting plans like this.

Starting with the stadium, Portman Road, which has a capacity of 29,673 at the time of writing. Work is ongoing make key changes ahead of the Premier League campaign, which should give it a fresh feel while also keeping that vibe of a traditional ground. It’s clear that expanding it will have to be a discussion for the future.

But your day-to-day work will be at the training ground. Ipswich’s current facilities are really good, and they’re only going to get better. The multi-million pound redevelopment will soon be underway, with plans released back in March to show what it might look like. The photos sit front and centre in front of you, with a long list of detailed features that’ll be included.

This isn’t some sort of pipe dream. Ashton hopes that it’ll be reality within 10 to 12 months. McKenna has had an input in the designs as well. The state-of-the-art training ground might just be enough to sway you into making a move to Suffolk on its own.

East Anglian Daily Times: Town secured back-to-back promotions to reach the Premier League after 22 years awayTown secured back-to-back promotions to reach the Premier League after 22 years away (Image: PA)

The ambition

You see yourself as a Premier League player who doesn’t want to be playing in the Championship if possible. McKenna makes it crystal clear that survival is the main aim, but there are never any guarantees. This isn’t just about the immediate future, but about the long-term. There are ups and downs along the way, and you accept that.

There are clear benchmarks. Brentford’s approach is clearly one, as they’ve been able to establish themselves in the top flight on a relatively small budget. Bournemouth have done it too, albeit with a bit more cash, but Brighton are the main one. They finished 20th in the Championship as recently as 2014/15 and played in Europe last season. Talk about progression, eh?

It’s all about constant progression. You’re well aware that they’ve gone from League One to the Premier League in two seasons and that excites you, but that doesn’t mean Ipswich will be playing in Europe next season. The club’s main aim is to consolidate at that level and be competitive, playing entertaining football, growing financially and increasing the profile of the club.

What does that mean for you? Well, if you can trust in them, they can trust in you. If you train hard, impress on the pitch and show that you’re a good person as well as a player, you can join the journey for as long as you like. If there’s an opportunity to move on, you can go for the right price. Respect is a two-way thing, and you’ll be given every chance to develop.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Blues will look to be competitive in the transfer marketThe Blues will look to be competitive in the transfer market (Image: Steve Waller)

The finances

Ipswich aren’t Man City. They’re not a top-six team, and they’ll probably struggle to match the wages offered by sides who’ve been at this level for a long time. However, the backing is there, and you can see it with McKenna’s new deal that reportedly makes him one of the highest-earning managers in the division.

You’ll get a competitive salary, and that’s made clear to you, as is the fact that the club aren’t going to break their wage structure to bring you in.

Crucially, the funds are also there to strengthen the rest of the team. You won’t be the only high-profile signing coming in this summer, but you also don’t have to worry about the club being fined or deducted points for financial breaches. Town will always play by the rules with their current model.

If you step up in the Premier League, the club will do what it takes to try and keep you. They’ll make you feel valued in the group and show their financial muscle by bringing in new team-mates of a similar calibre.

East Anglian Daily Times: Thousands of fans watched the bus parade after promotion to the Premier League was confirmedThousands of fans watched the bus parade after promotion to the Premier League was confirmed (Image: PA)

The fanbase

Despite the fact that Ipswich were in League One as recently as 12 months ago, they are not a small club. Their history shows that, and you really feel it as you walk into the meeting in McKenna’s office, where past meets present. His various managerial awards are balanced by photos of Sir Alf Ramsay and Sir Bobby Robson, memorabilia of a golden age of football in Suffolk.

Deep down, you can sense that the club are heading back in that direction, even if there’s still a long way to go. Ashton’s ambition shows that, and without meeting them, you know that the owners feel the same way.

On top of that, you’re told that the club is at the heart of the community. You’ll be out and about doing charity work to show your appreciation to those who back you on the pitch every week, but that’s what keeps you grounded. In the same way that Portman Road is nestled in the heart of the town, so is the football club itself.

Last season, Ipswich’s average attendance of 28,845 ranked them fifth of 24 teams in the Championship. If that number is replicated in the Premier League next season, it’ll put them 16th of the 20 sides in the Premier League – above Crystal Palace, Fulham, Brentford, and Bournemouth. Their support shows that they belong at this level, and it’ll only continue to grow.

East Anglian Daily Times: McKenna and Ashton will have plans in place for the summer transfer windowMcKenna and Ashton will have plans in place for the summer transfer window (Image: PA)


You’ll be working under arguably the highest-rated young manager in English football. You’ll join a club that has showed nothing but incredible progression in the last two years. You’ll earn a good wage. You’ll feel secure and safe at a well-supported, community-driven club where countless players aim to end their careers.

No, you’re not joining a title contender and you won’t be playing in the Champions League any time soon, but McKenna and Ashton are convinced that you’re the right player and the right person to join this club, and that this move would be best for you too.

Are you in?