Job is a box of chocolates for Clegg

A SIMPLE box of chocolates persuaded new Ipswich Town chief executive Simon Clegg to take the job.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

THE first thing new chief executive Simon Clegg did to show his dedication to Ipswich Town was resign his position at Premier League side Chelsea.

Although skiing is his primary sporting love Clegg admits to being lured by the bright lights of top flight football of late but is now ready to drop the Londoners for the East Anglian Blues.

Clegg told the EADT: “I grew up as a Liverpool supporter but that was more being rebellious because my father was from Stockport and a Manchester United fan.

“Football has not really been my sport as I was a tied up in other things but for the past few years I have followed Chelsea. I am a member of the Chelsea fan's advisory panel but that is not really appropriate now and one of the first things I will be doing is writing to Peter Kenyon resigning that position.”

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The 49-year-old former British Olympic Association chief took on his new role yesterday and will send the next few weeks accepting the hand over from his predecessor Derek Bowden who leaves Portman Road at the end of the season.

With his vast array of contacts in the world of sporting business and sponsorship Clegg will be charged with increasing the commercial value of the football club, negotiating in the transfer market, while also ensuring the team has everything it needs to reach the Premier League.

He also hopes his close working relationship with the 2012 British Olympic committee can help the Blues, and the region.

He said: “There are 205 national committees who have financial interests in the Olympics and the close proximity of Ipswich gives us a very good chance of attracting them so I will be delighted to give any help I can in bringing that to the club and the area.”

Clegg was welcomed to his new role by owner Marcus Evans who is convinced his vast experience as a sports administrator will be valuable to the Blues.

Evans said: “Simon has built up an extensive knowledge of the sporting world through his role with the British Olympic Association and I'm delighted he has agreed to join the football club.

“Not only does he have a wealth of experience in the world of sport but he has proved to be a highly successful team leader and businessman and will have a key role in moving Ipswich Town forward.”

A simple box of chocolates helped persuade Clegg to take the job.

The 49-year-old former Army officer who stepped down from the British Olympic Association in December told how an undercover mission helped make up his mind.

Clegg said: “I was at the Cardiff match just quietly watching in the stand when I saw an elderly lady give a steward and box of chocolates and say 'thank you very much for all you have done'. That showed me that this is a club with a heart. A club I could work for and be part of the community.”

While the real work won't start for Clegg until the summer he has already made his intentions clear.

He said: “I'm hugely flattered and greatly excited at arriving at such a historic football club.

“This club has a fantastic sporting heritage and look forward to building on the work of others before me.

“I have joined Ipswich Town convinced that by working with sponsors, fans, staff and the wider community we can take the club back into the Premier League.”

A logistical expert Clegg was chef de mission (basically the team leader) for the British Olympic team six times and has overseen a total of 12 Olympic Games in various roles. He was the BOA CEO at the Beijing Games when Britain won an unprecedented 47 medals, 19 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze, to finish fourth in the medal table.