Shane Supple urges Marcus Evans to splash the cash on Town youth
A FORMER graduate of the famed Ipswich Town academy fears promising youngsters from the area could turn their back on the Blues unless the club invest �2 million on upgrading their youth system.
Shane Supple, who famously walked away from Town and football at the age of 22, has joined the growing chorus of former players and fans calling on owner Marcus Evans to push ahead with making the club a ‘category one’ academy.
Remaining a passionate fan of his one and only professional football club, the ex-Ipswich keeper believes the best youngsters might “think twice” about committing themselves to Town.
Supple said: “Ipswich have always been right up there with other academies in what they can offer. So it is sad that not many young lads are coming through any more, for whatever reason.
“For a club that prides themselves on young lads, it is a bit disappointing. Lads who are looking for scholarships at 14 or 15 years old might think twice (about Ipswich) because of the way things are.”
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In an interview with the EADT today, Supple reflects on his time at Town and how the academy helped him as a young footballer.
He also pays tribute Evans for helping to save the club from administration but admitted there were “pros and cons” to the reclusive owner stepping in.
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Now he is urging the multi-millionaire to do all he can to elevate the academy and rival the best in the land even though it would mean the Blues doubling their current youth budget.
Evans will be joined by manager Paul Jewell and chief executive Simon Clegg in making the decision knowing they risk losing the best local players if they don’t apply for the ‘category one’ top-tier status.
Supple said: “I know the fans love to see one of their own come through and I am sure they are frustrated by it. And even if the results don’t come straight away, you need a long-term plan.”