'Mark will be empowered to make decisions' - Detmer on Ashton's role as CEO

Mark Ashton

Mark Ashton will become Ipswich Town's new CEO at the end of this season. Photo: PA - Credit: Archant

Incoming Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton will be empowered to make quick decisions for the football club, says new co-owner Mark Detmer. 

Detmer, along with Brett Johnson and Berke Bakay, is part of the new US-based ownership group that purchased the club from Marcus Evans at the start of April. 

And they, with the help of new chairman Michael O’Leary, moved quickly to head-hunt Ashton from Championship club Bristol City to be the day-to-day driving force at Portman Road. 

In the past, there was a sense that the wheels moved slowly at Ipswich Town due to the fact that heads of department and player agents often had to go through Evans – someone who wasn’t always available at the drop of a hat. 

Asked if Ashton would have to run all decisions by his US-based employers, Detmer said: “No. Mark’s empowered to make those decisions.  

“That’s why he was perfect, in our opinion, for the role. We value him, we trust his decisions, we know that he doesn’t make emotional decisions. That’s something we identified as wanting in a president/CEO early.  

“Football is a very emotional game and I think owners are as guilty as anyone for letting emotions drive your decisions and your outcomes. We’re just not going to do that. We’re going to make reasonable and sensible decisions relative to the moves we’re going to make to see our goal of getting back to the Championship sooner rather than later, then hopefully up to the Premier League. 

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“Mark is so level-headed and thoughtful in his process of decision analysis. 

“That doesn’t mean that we’ll all get it right all the time. No-one does. We’re all human. Everybody makes mistakes. 

“But Mark makes very, very few, if any. He’s really good in his role and we’re really excited to have him on board.”

Detmer, appearing on our Kings of Anglia podcast, spoke about a range of topics, including Ed Sheeran's sponsorship of the club, why he fell in love with football at a young age and the skills/contacts he will bring to the table as a real estate expert.   

You can watch the whole interview here.

Speaking further on Ashton, who doesn’t formally start his role until June 1, Detmer said: “He’s paramount to achieving our goals. 

“What I would tell you is that Berke, Brett and I started looking at clubs three years ago and during that journey we met Mark (Ashton). 

“But in no way was Mark ever involved with what clubs we may be reviewing or not reviewing. 

“We basically said that Mark would be a great president and CEO to represent us should we be so fortunate to be in a position to acquire a club. 

“So Brett, Berke and I were on this journey to find the right match – which found with Ipswich - and along the way we met Michael O’Leary. 

“Mike’s experience of the Premier League with West Brom, his experience in private equity and his experience of mergers and acquisitions was paramount to getting the deal consummated with Marcus Evans.  

Mark Detmer, one of four Americans involved in Ipswich Town's takeover. Photo:  Mike Mertes, AZ Big Media

Mark Detmer, one of Ipswich Town's new American co-owners. Photo: Mike Mertes, AZ Big Media - Credit: Mike Mertes, AZ Big Media

“I don’t know if their contact was daily, but Mike and Marcus Evans were speaking quite frequently over the 12 plus months we were in conversation. A lot of the pause was due to coronavirus and nobody knowing what football was going to look like on the way out. 

“Michael O’Leary is one of the people we met on the journey and I’m a firm believer that people are put in your path along the way to achieve your goals. Mike was one of those guys and Mark Ashton was one of those guys. 

“We just knew if we found the right opportunity, with the right club, with the right partners, we’d contact them to see if they’d be interested in working with us. 

“Mark Ashton has been great. He’s obviously still finishing up his time at Bristol City, but I look forward to welcoming him with open arms in June. 

“Because we need someone there daily, nightly, weekly, monthly, all the time.” 

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