Brett Johnson on Paul Cook, transfer window plans and his Premier League tattoo pledge

Brett Johnson (right) has pledged to get a tattoo if Ipswich Town reach the Premier League

Ipswich Town co-owner Brett Johnson (right) told Luis Miguel Echegaray, on the Que Golazo podcast, that he would get a tattoo if he achieved his goal of getting the club into the Premier League. - Credit: NA

New Ipswich Town co-owner Brett Johnson has appeared on the ¡Qué Golazo! podcast. Here's what he said about backing Paul Cook, engaging with fans and his commitment to get a Premier League tattoo!


WHY GAMECHANGERS 20 LTD BOUGHT IPSWICH TOWN

"It’s an iconic franchise. It’s not that easy to find a franchise that has got the history, pedigree, gravitas that Ipswich has.  

"It checked all the major boxes in terms of trophies, Portman Road and then adding on top of it a truly global support.  

"I’ve been overwhelmed. I mean I knew the support was strong, but it blew me away just truly how strong it is and how keen they are to see the club in new hands. 

"We’ve been really embraced and I want to thank everyone for that support." 

Town manager Paul Cook pictured ahead of the Town v AFC Wimbledon match.

Ipswich Town's new owners have made it clear that Paul Cook was their number one choice as manager. The Blues have won just two of Cook's first 13 games in charge. Photo: PA - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.com

ON HOW THE NEW OWNERS PLAN TO GET IPSWICH BACK UP THE PYRAMID

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"I think we’ve got the right man in Paul Cook. I think that’s a good start. 

"We’re very pleased to have added Mark Ashton (as chief executive) relative to his pedigree, background and experience, certainly with what he did at Bristol (City).  

"I think Mark’s going to bring a difference in terms of his hands on approach. With the utmost respect to Marcus Evans, it’s not a secret that he was a fairly absentee owner. 

"I really believe that you’ve got to live, eat, breath this stuff 24 hours a day.

"And it’s a team effort. I feel fortunate with the success we’ve seen with Phoenix Rising. The credit goes to a lot of other individuals. 

"So we have Paul Cook with his experience, have added Mark Ashton and now we're really looking to make some fairly dramatic, wholesale changes over the summer window to put a team together that’s going to fight every single day for the honour to restore Ipswich back to its former glory." 

Brett Johnson says the new owners of Ipswich Town plan to invest both on and off the pitch

Brett Johnson aims to visit Portman Road for the first time when the 2021/22 season starts. Photo: Archant - Credit: Zoom/PA


IMPORTANCE OF THE ITFC COMMUNITY

"Teams live and thrive because of the community support. That is critical. 

"The supporters in Phoenix that were behind me in the early days, the predecessor days to Phoenix Rising, got me through some dark times and I’ll never forget it. I’m grateful to them because they’re the ones that stuck through it thick and thin.  

"By extension I’m grateful to the global community of Ipswich supporters and I’m going to work tirelessly alongside the extended team to reward them and get this club to a point of pride for the broader community. Because that’s where it deserves to be. 

"We know this not for the faint of heart. Clubs can start to go through a tough patch and it can be difficult. Ipswich has certainly gone through a tough patch."

WILL IT BE A BUSY SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW?

"For sure. That’s the quick answer. Mark (Ashton) and Paul (Cook) will take the lead on doing the heavy lifting. 

"I have great faith and confidence that they are going to sign some fantastic game changers, if you will, on the pitch and start to change the trajectory for us. 

"Based on the current run of form, it’s very clear we’re going to have to make some changes.

"Whatever values Berke and I can add, we will. It’s one of the many things we enjoy about Phoenix Rising. All credit to Rick Schantz (head coach) and Bobby Dulle (general manager), who day-to-day run that franchise for us, but we’re always happy to be in the mix on that stuff."

Mark Ashton

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

ON SUPER LEAGUE COLLAPSE

"Given what happened with this debacle, Berke and myself were very quick to be on the right side of that debate. It’s easy for us though – we weren’t invited to be part of the Super League! 

“It’s not a bold statement to make that they were clearly tone deaf though. The response was appropriate and I’m glad it died a quick and painful death. 

“I think some of the American owners deserve a lot of criticism relative to their naivety associated with that. 

“I’m a big advocate of promotion and relegation. I feel very strongly about that model and I wish we had it in the States. 

“You can’t make a broad brush for indictment of American owners because the reality is we all come at it from different places, different balance sheets, different leagues etc. 

“And I also have to say that I view this Ipswich partnership very much and Anglo-American partnership (with the involvement of Michael O'Leary and Mark Ashton)." 

Fans hold up a banner protesting against the European Super League ahead of the Carabao Cup Final at

Fans hold up a banner protesting against the European Super League. New Ipswich co-owner Brett Johnson says he is thankful the idea 'died a quick and painful death'. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

ON CLUBS HE ADMIRES

“You can’t fail to be impressed by what Andrea (Radrizzani) has done at Leeds. I’m impressed by Barnsley and what Chien Lee has done there. This is not in England, but I’m very impressed by what Jordan (Gardner) has done in Denmark with Helsingor (another club Johnson has invested in). That club is a perfect example of one punching above its weight. 

“Anyone who thinks the panacea for a club’s ills is simply cash is missing the point. It’s about culture, it’s about finding talent, getting them to come in and buying into an approach. That’s what helps you consistently put three points on the board and make things happen. 

“All that beings said, you can have a big pay roll, get great players and you can still have an absolute train wreck. It almost takes as much money and time to have a bad team as it does to have a good team!

"Leadership and culture matters though. I think that’s come through at Phoenix Rising and why we’ve been successful." 

Leeds United's Diego Llorente (centre) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring their side's fir

Brett Johnson named Leeds United as one of the clubs he admires he admires from an owner's point of view. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

ON PLANS FOR FIRST IPSWICH VISIT

“My eyes are focussed on August and the home opener. My partners and I plan to make a real trip of it and really spend time in the community with all the supporters. 

“It’s s shame the world is not properly spinning back on its axis yet, but we can’t wait to get over there. 

“I’ve already been talking to my wide and kids about making a trip to London. I was jokingly telling my daughters that we’ll try to stop at Hogwarts. If I tell her that then she’ll be all in!"

Flynn Downes with his head in his hands after Town had conceded a first half penalty.

Kane Vincent-Young, Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden react following last weekend's 0-0 home draw with AFC Wimbledon. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

ON WATCHING RECENT MATCHES FROM AFAR AND TICKET GIVEAWAY PLANS

“The club immediately got me access to the iFollow account, which has been great in terms of access, but a little painful because the performances are not anywhere near where anyone wants them to be right now. 

“I can’t wait until Portman Road is truly rocking. I’ve been really encouraged by long-time supporters, who had started to lose some faith, reaching out and saying how keen they are to renew season tickets or, had they let them lapse, get them again. 

“I really look forward to trying to engage with the younger fans who don’t have the history of seeing what this club is all about. A big part of the support in Phoenix is younger fans. I constantly give tickets away to anyone who is interested. 

“I love introducing someone to the beautiful game and will continue to try and do that at Ipswich. 

“Every single owner is going to own a block of tickets. And these will be tickets that we pay for, by the way, because I feel adamant about owners not getting things for free, you’ve got to pay your share.

"And we've made a commitment to finding ways to give them to schools and young kids to make sure we keep expanding the brand one person at a time." 

Ipswich Town fans at Gillingham

Ipswich Town fans in the sun at Gillingham back in 2019. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix

MESSAGE TO FANS

“I appreciate them keeping the faith, because they’ve had to during some dark days. What I’d say to them right now is that I think the future is phenomenally bright.  

“We coveted Ipswich, we really sought it out. Up until a couple of weeks ago when it closed, I wasn’t sure it was going to close. I remember not wanting to get too attached to it because if it didn’t close it would be just too painful. 

“Now that it has we are all in on it. I just dropped $400 dollars on the store to gear up! "


ON PREMIER LEAGUE TATTOO 

“Ipswich Premier League - that is a tattoo I will get. I welcome the day that I have to turn to my wife and explain that, on your show, I made that commitment! 

“I am beyond grateful to get this opportunity with Ipswich and we are going to work tirelessly to get it up to the Premier League. We will not stop until I have got a tattoo that says so."

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