Jewell puts weight behind Ipswich Town academy

PAUL Jewell today put his weight behind the Ipswich Town academy scheme.

Championship clubs are currently fighting a battle to maintain their positions when it comes to attracting and grooming youngsters against moves by the all-powerful Premier League to have more control.

Town’s academy head Sammy Morgan is confident that Ipswich will not lose any ground with discussions still on-going.

Developing their own players has not only helped the Blues become a force to be reckoned with in European let alone English football going back to Bobby Robson’s days in charge, it has also generated millions of pounds in transfer fees.

Like Robson and George Burley, Jewell is right behind having a progressive academy programme and he said:

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“I’m all for academies as long as they are run properly and have the right people in charge.

“And I think that we have.”

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But Jewell is not interested in his youngsters winning trophies.

He added: “I recently looked at a photograph of Ipswich’s 2005 FA Youth Cup winning side.

“And it is significant how few are now making a good living out of the game.

“Danny Haynes, Owen Garvan, Billy Clarke, but that’s about all I think.

“The only team where it’s important to win is the first team.

“For the reserve and youth teams it’s about development.

“Of course you must want to win all games that you play, and that’s always nice but there are more aspects to football below first team level.”

This is a point emphasised by Morgan, who knows the worth of playing under age players in his Under-18 Saturday morning side.

“This is our policy,” said Morgan. “And it is one that we feel will reap rewards particularly as we have some excellent prospects as well in the lower age groups.

“It was recently said that we put average players into our Under-18 side, but this was misquoted as it should have been under age.”

Former academy player Tommy Smith’s first team shirt has been auctioned and raised �541 for the New Zealand Earthquake Appeal.

Two friends of Phil Coppeard, the Town fan who tragically lost his life in last month’s Christchurch earthquake, made the winning bid.

Max Pentelow and Tim Evans will be presenting the shirt to Phil’s wife Suzanne.

The shirt was signed by the entire Town first team squad with Smith having gone on loan to Colchester this week. He flies out at the weekend to represent the All-Whites in Japan and China and said: “I was pleased when I heard how much was raised and it’s nice to know the money is going to help those affected by the disaster.”

WHICH is the best young player produced by Ipswich Town over the years? Let us know – e-mail

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