Ipswich Town players pledge £10-a-month towards the academy – now the club wants more fans to follow suit
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town academy sponsorship manager Simon Milton hopes more fans follow suit after the entire first team squad agreed to donate £10-a-month towards a big fund-raising push.
The Blues have applied to join an elite group of Category One academies by the start the start of next season, with the annual running costs of the club’s famed youth set-up set to more than double from £1.2m to £2.5m.
As a result, the club launched the ‘Academy Association’ at the start of August with the aim being to raise half a million pounds per year.
Already the £100,000 milestone has been reached, thanks largely to business sponsorship packages. However, the uptake of £5-a-month and £10-a-month donations by individual fans has been slow – little more than 100 having signed up so far.
Ipswich player-coach Alan Lee has this week persuaded the entire first team squad to sign up to the scheme, with Milton hoping that more of the 5,000 people that signed a petition urging the club to push for Category One status last year now do the same.
He said: “We need to get the thousands of fans out there who think it’s a really good idea but just haven’t got around to signing up yet.
“Thousands of supporters signed the petition last year so we know there is a strong feeling for the academy.
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“What I want to get across is that every little helps. People think ‘my £10 a month won’t make a difference’, but if a thousand people didn’t think like that then it would make a difference.
“They get gifts – silicone bands, car stickers, badges – and a newsletter every month. It’s a chance to really feel part of the club.”
Lee – who has just started his coaching apprenticeship in the Blues academy – said: “This academy is going to help me progress as a coach, so it’s only right that I do my bit.
”I realised that I better be signed up myself and then just asked a few of the first team lads if they would do the same. Every single one of them said it was a great idea.
“That says a lot about the group of lads in this dressing room at the moment because normally one or two would moan.”
– See today’s EADT for full feature.