Ex-Town striker Ian Marshall returning to Ipswich to launch a new football academy
- Credit: Archant
It’s almost 20 years since a reluctant Ian Marshall left Ipswich Town.
For the big striker it was a case of right place, wrong time – the Blues being able to raise much-needed cash from the sale of their star asset.
After his £800,000 move to Leicester, he went on to win the League Cup with the Foxes but always had unfinished business in Suffolk. Now, the 49-year-old is looking to settle in the area again.
He has joined forces with PTC Education to launch the Ian Marshall Football Academy, likely to be based at Gresham’s Sports Club in the town, where he will team up with ex-Blues team-mate Jason Dozzell.
The academy offers 16-18 year-olds the chance to complete a BTEC Level 3 diploma in Sports Studies or a Level 2 Activity Leadership paid apprenticeship.
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That’s before you even get to the football part, Marshall and his first-team coach Dozzell will run that side of the operation, the team playing in the English Colleges League.
“It’s great to be back, I never wanted to leave in the first place,” said Marshall, who has spent time running soccer schools in Canada.
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“I saw (former Ipswich chairman) David Sheepshanks for the first time in 19 years recently and gave him a bit of a rollicking for selling me.
“I had a young family here, but the club needed the money and I was the only player that there was an offer for at the time.
“To get the opportunity to come back with this project, excites me.”
The PTC group that Marshall has joined forces with works nationwide with a number of former Leicester players including Muzzy Izzet, Steve Claridge and Steve Walsh.
“When I was approached by PTC, my concern was that there were lots of academies in the country. However, this one is a bit different,” explained Marshall.
“It gives kids who maybe don’t want to stay in full-time education a chance to gain a BTEC in sport and also the opportunity to play football.
“They can leave after two years with a qualification that can help them go on to further education or, if they are that way inclined, get involved in jobs such as sports coaching.
“We’ve also contacts in the US and Mexico and there will be opportunities for students to maybe do work experience at soccer schools out there.”
Marshall turned professional with Everton at 18 and had a successful 18-year career, but his future could have been a lot different.
“I got offered a printers’ apprenticeship when I was 15 but I had a dream of playing football and fortunately, it paid off. But it could have gone the other way,” he said.
“I’ve seen hundreds of lads who have not made it. They maybe messed about at school, left with no qualifications and went on to a pro club before being released at 21/22 with nothing to fall back on.
“Every player dreams of playing in the Premier League but only a small percentage make it. This project gives them a plan B.”
He added: “When I was a player there was a small pool of players and the best got picked.
“Now clubs snap up so many players so they don’t miss out. There are development centres for the academies, which is something I don’t necessarily agree with as I think they give a lot of people false hope.
“We hope to find a future pro but, if not, give the students something to fall back on and allow them to go on and play at a good standard.”
Marshall is looking forward to being reunited with Dozzell, having conceded his chances of landing a plum job in professional football management have probably passed.
“Jason is a cult hero here and one of the most talented players I have played with. Hopefully his experience will hopefully rub off on the students,” said Marshall of Dozzell, who will continue coaching at Ipswich Town’s academy.
He added: “I have probably missed the boat (in management) as I went over to Canada about a year after I retired and did numerous things, including working in soccer schools.
“If the chance came my way though I’d have to consider it.”
Marshall worked under top managers such as the late John Lyall, Martin O’Neill and Joe Royle, and also forged some excellent relationships on the pitch too.
“I had a great partnership with Alex Mathie. I always say to him I had to make most of my goals and made most of his as well,” he joked.
“Sadly as a team (at Ipswich) we were not the greatest, but the camaraderie and spirit was fantastic and we did have some talented players.
“Geraint Williams was exceptional. He was always a bit underrated.
“I’d have liked to have seen Chris Kiwomya go on to do more in his career after joining Arsenal.
“He had a lot of potential and didn’t set the world alight there which is a shame.
“I made some great friends at Ipswich. Paul Mason, Frank Yallop, John Wark, David Linighan, Craig Forrest, Simon Milton, while John Lyall and Charlie Woods were superb – I loved the pair of them.
“There are a lot of people I am looking to be reunited with.
I am looking forward to coming back and settling in.”
THE IAN MARSHALL ACADEMY
The Ian Marshall Football Academy is recruiting now, for a September start date.
The academy offers post-16 learners the chance to complete a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sports Studies or a Level 2 Activity Leadership paid apprenticeship.
Marshall and his coaching staff will also guide the students on the pitch, the players competing in the English Colleges Football League.
For more information, contact: 01709 913600 or email email@example.com.