Clegg: Players won’t hold us to ransom over contracts
IPSWICH Town will not be held to ransom by players currently thinking over new contract offers.
“If they want more than we are prepared to pay then they will not be with the club next season,” said chief executive Simon Clegg.
The club has confirmed that Gareth McAuley and Damien Delaney, who have formed the backbone of the side this season, plus Colin Healy, Brian Murphy, Arran Lee-Barrett and Ronan Murray have been offered new deals to replace their current ones that run out in June.
The situation with skipper David Norris is clouded, with manager Paul Jewell being told by the player’s agent to look elsewhere next season although Norris has indicated that he would prefer to stay.
“There are seven contract negotiations that are on-going,” said Clegg.
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“The manager is clear in his own mind who he wants to keep and how much he wants to pay. If it goes beyond that he won’t pay.
“There was a five-hour meeting between owner Marcus Evans, the manager and myself and if the deals we agreed are not good enough for anyone we will not be held to ransom.”
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Clegg admitted that the delay in getting agreements from seven players offered deals so far from the 21 who will be out of contract in the summer is proving frustrating.
“It’s taking longer than we would have liked and it’s a bit frustrating,” added Clegg.
“We need to focus people’s minds and they all have deadlines now.
“We want to get it sorted so that we know where we are and where we can go forward next season.”
Clegg also reminded fans that today is the last chance for Early Bird purchase of 2011-12 season tickets – and stressed that there will be no wavering on the noon deadline.
Applications must be received by midday with Clegg adding: “We are being quite specific, and there will be no exceptions. After that the Early Bird discounts will not be applicable.
“The ticket office is quite positive about the response we have received and it is work in progress with a lot of late applications coming in.”
Clegg confirmed his confidence that next season will be a successful one. “Paul Jewell is doing a fantastic job,” he said.
“He’s getting a lot more out of the players as the stats show with an average of 1.65 points a game compared to before he came when it was 1.10.
“A continuation of this form will see the club in the play-off zone.
“Connor Wickham and Josh Carson are a great advert for Ipswich Town and for the game and fans are seeing good football and good players coming through.”