'The training ground will be open to supporters' - Cook to allow fans to watch training
- Credit: Archant/ITFC
Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook is planning to hold open training sessions to allow the club’s fans to feel closer to their team.
The Blues are back in pre-season training today, with six weeks of hard work standing between them and the start of their League One season against Morecambe on August 7.
Cook is in the midst of an Ipswich Town rebuild this summer, following the club’s American takeover, and wants to help spread the feelgood factor by allowing supporters to come and watch certain training sessions at Playford Road.
Town have held open sessions at the training ground in the past, though not for several years, while the club's annual open day has allowed supporters to watch a session on the Portman Road pitch.
“The training ground will be an open place for people, the supporters,” Cook said.
“They will be allowed to come in and watch training. We want that feel-good factor to go around our town and our community because we want people to see how hard we’re working in pursuit of being successful for them.
“I've done it at all my clubs. At Portsmouth at times I used to get letters of criticism regarding certain stuff. Like I try and do at Ipswich, I try phoning people up who have written letters in, I try and speak to everyone about what we’re trying to do.
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“And then the most important thing, the gates of the club are open. When you watch clubs train and you watch the physicality that they’re putting in and the workloads and the effort, I think you leave then a lot more satisfied with what’s going on.”
Cook, a passionate Liverpool fan himself, believes football needs to do more to stay in touch with supporters and remain central in their communities.
“As football has moved on, I’ve never agreed with how players have become off limits and clubs have become off limits for supporters,” he said. “In my mind, that’s not how football clubs should be.
“We’re a massive part of our community, so to say that nowadays we can’t meet people, we don’t get to know players [isn’t something I agree with].
“And I know there’s great work that goes on in the community at all football clubs, including our own, it’s something I’m very much aligned with.
“We shouldn’t be strangers to the people of Ipswich, that’s the players, the staff and our training facilities.”