Town bosses on 'Chequebook FC' nickname, Premier League timeframe and more

(L-R) Mark Ashton, Mike O'Leary and Paul Cook take questions from Ipswich Town fans at Portman Road tonight

(L-R) Mark Ashton, Mike O'Leary and Paul Cook take questions from Ipswich Town fans at Portman Road tonight - Credit: ITFC YouTube

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook, CEO Mark Ashton and chairman Mike O'Leary answered questions from fans tonight - and you can watch it all back here.

More than 100 Town supporters were at Portman Road for the first fan forum under the new leadership at the club.

The hour-long event, hosted by Town's matchday PA announcer Stephen Foster, saw fans ask questions about a myriad of subjects.

The trio were asked about a new nickname for the Blues arising from fans of other teams in the league as a result of the club's busy summer of making signings - 'Chequebook FC'.

And Ashton said: "Paul and I were having a chuckle about that.

"I used the word player trading at the start of this and we've had a lot of players that have gone out and we think that we've got good value for them.

"What people forget is that we've sold as well as bought. We've cleared a hell of a lot of salary.

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"All we're going to do is focus on us. Ipswich Town is our priority.

"If people are talking about us like that then maybe we could be concerning one or two."

Mark Ashford talks to Paul Cook after the pre-season friendly at Dartford

Paul Cook and Mark Ashton took questions from fans tonight - Credit: Pagepix

O'Leary, asked what the timeframe was for reaching the Premier League said: "We've got a budget that we're pretty confident is going to make us competitive in the current league.

"That will enable us to invest both on and off the pitch.

"If we're fortunate enough to get into the Championship in short order we will revisit the budget.

"We'd be looking to revisit what we need to put in place to have a good shot at getting up another league."

Addressing other questions, Ashton - who promised there are more signings on the way - said the Town Women's team would 'probably not' play at Portman Road this season because of the pitch.

With a new pitch planned for next summer, the hope is that will be possible from next season.

Cook, meanwhile, was asked about negativity from fans and said 'I think the bosses of football clubs should be trusted to make the right decisions', adding that supporters 'can be the extra man' during a game, asking fans to get behind his team in the coming season.

He said: "The time to debate a football match is after the referee blows the final whistle, not during the game.

"During the game, let's give all our players the utmost support we can, because that will lift them."

That appeal was met with a round of applause from the room.

The Town boss was also asked about his decision not to appoint an assistant manager. Long-time number two Leam Richardson is now boss at Wigan.

"Having been so close to Leam I didn't really feel that I need to appoint someone as an assistant," he explained.

"I've got enough people and opinions that I trust around me."

In an insight into the work going on at the ground before the big kick-off, O'Leary revealed that all white and yellow lines are being repainted as part of a push to freshen up Portman Road, while every seat is being cleaned - the first time in two years that's happened.

Ashton, meanwhile, confirmed that they hope to install a big screen in Portman Road in the 'near future' - but the issue will be where to locate it.

"I promise you, things will happen," he said.  


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