Ashton on Town's summer spend, finance rules and planning ahead

Mark Ashton first day 8

Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton says the club's transfer spend was 'roughly net' this summer. - Credit: Ross Halls

Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton insists the club is in no danger of breaking any financial fair play rules.

The eye-catching deadline day signings of Bersant Celina and Sam Morsy made it 19 summer signings for the Blues last week, with many of the recruits having been persuaded to drop down a level into League One.

Town's summer business, funded by the club's ambitious US-based ownership group, has drawn envious glances from opposition managers and fans.

There have even been some suggestions on social media that the Blues must be exceeding wage limits to have attracted the calibre of players they have.

“That's utter rubbish," insisted Ashton. "We plan and plan and plan, both from a football perspective and from a financial perspective.

“In League One and League Two you are under SCMP (Salary Cost Management Protocol) rules (which, in League One, limits clubs to spending 60% of their turnover on wages).

"In the Championship you are under P&S (Profitability & Sustainability). 

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“Firstly, we understand, if we got promoted, what the transition looks like. That’s no problem. I’ve sat under P&S for the last how many years - we understand that and we understand SCMP. 

“If we were in breach of the SCMP rules the league would not let us register the players. They would not be on the pitch. 

“We are always looking two to three years ahead. So when I sit down with my board we say ‘if we sign a player here, this is the consequence on this year, this is the consequence on next year, this is the consequence if we get into the Championship’. We plan that through."

Eight of the summer signings cost undisclosed transfer fees - Morsy (Middlesbrough), Conor Chaplin (Barnsley), George Edmundson (Rangers), Cameron Burgess (Accrington Stanley), Rekeem Harper (West Brom), Scott Fraser (MK Dons), Wes Burns (Fleetwood) and Vaclav Hladky (Salford) - with the other 11 either loans or out of contract additions. 

Helping to offset that was the sales of Andre Dozzell (QPR), Flynn Downes (Swansea), Teddy Bishop (Lincoln) and Liam Gibbs (Norwich), six loan deals expiring and senior players like Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse, Alan Judge, Freddie Sears, Gwion Edwards, Emyr Huws and Stephen Ward also departing.


Flynn Downes was sold to Championship club Swansea City for a fee believed to be in the region of £1.5m. - Credit: SWANSEA CITY FC

“What people seem to forget is we moved out 23 players - good earning 23 players - and we have brought in a number of millions in player sales," said Ashton.

“On transfer fees we will be roughly net. And that’s on the guaranteed money, not on the add-ons for games, promotions, sell-ons etc." 

Paul Cook now has a power-packed first-team squad, with the club have gone right to the limit of EFL squad size rules (a maximum of 22 outfield players aged 21 and over) and loan rules (a maximum of five allowed in a matchday squad).

“We would have this debate every single day with Paul and his staff," said Ashton.

“There’s a squad diagram on the wall. It’s like a chess board. If we move piece A then there is going to be a consequence to piece B. Are we confident in the consequence of bringing that player in, both on that player there, on the squad, on the budget, on the financial fair play numbers? It is a moving chess board. 

“There’s an absolute plan that we step through. We always know that when we make a decision there will be a consequence and we always assess how comfortable we are with that consequence. 

“It was absolutely planned through."


IN (19): Wes Burns (Fleetwood, undisc), Lee Evans (Wigan, free), Rekeem Harper (West Brom, undisc), Macauley Bonne (QPR, loan), Vaclav Hladky (Salford, undisc), Matt Penney (Sheff Weds, free), Joe Pigott (AFC Wimbledon, free), Scott Fraser (MK Dons, undisc), George Edmundson (Rangers, undisc), Conor Chaplin (Barnsley, undisc), Louie Barry (Aston Villa, loan), Sone Aluko (Reading, free), Kyle Edwards (West Brom, free), Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough, loan), Cameron Burgess (Accrington Stanley, undisc), Tom Carroll (QPR, free), Christian Walton (Brighton, loan), Bersant Celina (Dijon, loan), Sam Morsy (Middlesbrough, undisc).

OUT (20): Flynn Downes (Swansea City, undisc), Andre Dozzell (QPR, £1m), Liam Gibbs (Norwich City, undisc), Teddy Bishop (Lincoln City, undisc), David Cornell (contract terminated, joined Peterborough), Stephen Ward (released, joined Walsall), Luke Chambers (released, joined Colchester), James Wilson (released, joined Plymouth), Gwion Edwards (turned down new deal, joined Wigan), Cole Skuse (released, joined Colchester), Tristan Nydam (released), Alan Judge (released, joined Colchester), Oli Hawkins (Mansfield, undisc), Jack Lankester (Cambridge United, undisc), Emyr Huws (released), Freddie Sears (released, joined Colchester), Aaron Drinan (Leyton Orient, undisc), Adam Przybek (released, joined Wycombe Wanderers), Harry Wright (released, joined Fleetwood), Ben Folami (released, joined Melbourne Victory).

LOANS EXPIRED (6): Keanan Bennetts, Josh Harrop, Troy Parrott, Mark McGuinness, Luke Matheson, Luke Thomas.

OUT ON LOAN (12): Armando Dobra (Colchester), Corrie Ndaba (Salford), Tyreece Simpson (Swindon), Brett McGavin (King's Lynn Town), Bert White (Gosport Borough), Tyrese Osbourne (AFC Sudbury), Lewis Ridd (AFC Sudbury), Callum Page (Needham Market), Tommy Smith (Lowestoft), Colin Oppong (Lowestoft), Ola Bello (Lowestoft), Ross Crane (Concord Rangers).

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