'This club won't be walked over by agents' - Ashton on Simpson contract saga
- Credit: Ross Halls
Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton insists the club will not be 'walked all over' by agents.
During Tuesday night's Fans' Forum at Portman Road, the Blues CEO was asked about homegrown striker Tyreece Simpson having not signed a new contract since being recalled from an 11-game loan spell at League Two side Swindon in January.
"It’s wrong of me to talk about any individual player’s contract, but one thing I can promise our supporter base is that I will fight tooth and nail for this football club," he replied.
“This football club will not in any shape or form be agent or representative led. That doesn’t work for me and it won’t work for this ownership group.
“Ipswich Town will decide where its young players go, what’s best, what contracts are put in front of them and how that pathway works to the first team.
“And it’s the same for the senior boys.
"It’s a tough world with agents at times, but our job is to protect this football club. And if we don’t show strength at certain times, trust me, our football club will get walked all over. I’ve seen it time and time again.
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“Nothing’s ever personal, sometimes it’s business.
“We try and do it in the right way. We have good relationships with most if not all agents and they’re happy to bring players here because we do contract and pay people in the right way. We incentivise them."
Blues boss Kieran McKenna, whose League One play-offs chasing team will take on Cambridge United in front of another bumper Portman Road crowd on Saturday, added: "When Tyreece was recalled at the end of January, it wasn’t to be involved in our first-team squad, it was to have some discussions about his future at the club with a view to going back out on loan again.
“Those discussions didn’t progress as either party wanted, obviously the window closed and Tyreece is currently part of the football club.
“I’ve had conversations with him through the process. I want to work with him and develop him because I think he’s got potential to be part of this football club going forward.
“He was hampered by a little injury but he’s now back and training well. As it currently stands he is available for us in an area of the pitch where we have really big numbers (James Norwood, Macauley Bonne and Joe Pigott), but also where Tyreece can give us a different attribute.
“The rest of the squad are getting to know him and his attributes a little bit better and it’s up to him to keep showing in training that he can contribute to us for the rest of the season.
“Hopefully, on the contract, we'll find something that each party can be happy with and Tyreece can continue his development and hopefully have a part to play at Ipswich Town.”