Money talks and the stats don’t lie but there is still time to silence Ipswich Town doubters
PAUL Jewell knows he will never be able to sign every one of his top targets.
But with 18-year-old Elliott Hewitt his only purchase thus far and rival clubs starting to bolster their ranks, some supporters have already become resigned to an underwhelming summer spree.
DAVE GOODERHAM looks at the reasons why Messrs Pearce, Ward and Kuszczak might have gone elsewhere.
The Financial Fair Play rules might have seen Ipswich, among others, look to cut their cloth accordingly. But that doesn’t mean there is no money in the Championship. While Town are looking to reduce wage bills and make players’ earn their lucrative contracts, others are eyeing a financially-backed push for the Premier League. Jewell has spoken in the past of how he won’t be held to ransom when it comes to wages or transfer fees and that he doesn’t want players who appear to put money ahead of all else. Alongside that, the sheer wealth of Town’s reclusive owner Marcus Evans probably doesn’t help the impression that Ipswich are one of the league’s big-payers. A tricky obstacle when it comes to dealing with agents.
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Location, location, location
Jewell enjoys Suffolk life and living in the county. But he is quick to admit that Ipswich is not the best location when it comes to scouting matches. Whether this radiates into players looking to decide where to sign is open to debate. Some will crave the quieter lifestyle Suffolk brings, Aaron Cresswell and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, right, are two who have proclaimed their love of the county. But the location, despite being just an hour from the capital, might put people off. Harsh, but sadly true.
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Ambition and potential
Arguably the most worrying of all the potential reasons explaining why players turn their back on a move to Town – they see their chances of achieving Premier League football are better suited elsewhere. Take Tomasz Kuszczak for example. It would have depressed Blues fans to think that Brighton was a more attractive proposition – the Seagulls are highly unlikely to have been higher payers – but that is how the ex-Manchester United keeper viewed it. He said: “I have played Premier League football for eight years and I believe the structure is in place here to join them. The manager and coaching staff, the team, stadium, crowds, through to the plans for the new training ground, everything is geared up for playing at the highest level and I could sense that ambition to be a top club straight away. The way Brighton play is the future of football. I had other clubs who wanted to sign me but my heart told me that this was the right choice.”
Stats don’t lie
Some blue-tinted Town fans might see themselves as a Premier League club-in-waiting, but the stats tell a different story. Quite simply, Ipswich are currently the 15th best side in the second tier of English football. Throw in the fact at least two of the relegated teams are anticipating an instant Premier League return and that all of the League One new boys are targeting the top half, and it is set to be an even tougher Championship. Players will look at which team gives them their best chance of playing Premier League football, hence why Keith Andrews is said to be interested in a move to Bolton. Currently, Ipswich have a tough task offering those assurances.
Powers of persuasion
Jewell believes if he can get players to Suffolk and show them round the ground and training facilities, he has half a chance. With so many clubs sniffing around the same players, and less money being thrown at wages, the powers of persuasion have never been so important. Jewell needs to prove to targets that they will be paid well according to success and that success can be achieved at Portman Road. It is a tough task – one that might determine what 2012/13 has in store for Town fans.