New era dawns as clubs merge

A DESIRE from both clubs to develop opportunities for all their players within local football and to create a seamless progress from youth to adult football has led to the amalgamation of two clubs.

Ipswich Valley Rangers FC and last season’s Kingsley Healthcare SIL Senior Division winners Woodbridge Athletic have merged to form Ipswich Valley Rangers.

Around 150 people attended a launch night at the Holiday Inn, Orwell on the outskirts of Ipswich, at which chairman Bob Pipe outlined the future of the club, which has a business plan in place for the next five years.

While the first team will continue to play at Rock Barracks at Woodbridge next season, Pipe said finding a headquarters in the Ipswich area is a priority.

He said: “Whilst for the time being the adult section will be based at RAF Woodbridge and the youth section will be based at Gresham’s Sports and Social Club and St Albans High School in Ipswich, one key area for the future development of IVR will be to forge ahead and find a suitable headquarters for our club.”

Ipswich Valley Rangers was founded in August 2007 by Andy Howes and Mark Jordan, and in the club’s first season entered three teams in the Ipswich & Suffolk Youth League.

Last season the club fielded 18 teams and next season there will be 20 teams, with boys’ teams from Under-7 to Under-16 and girls’ teams at Under-9, Under-11, Under-13 and new Under-15 and ladies’ teams.

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The club, which already has a thriving social section, will field senior sides in the Senior Division and Intermediate A of the Touchline Sports SIL.

Pipe added: “The initiative to amalgamate our two clubs was borne from the desire of both clubs to develop opportunities for all their players within local football, and particularly to create a seamless opportunity for youth players to progress into adult football.

“We will look at possibly an A side in Division Six, Under-18s, Under-21s, junior alliance, and not to forget the girls we have entered a ladies’ team in the league, so you can see the possibilities are endless for all our children.”

Pipe thanked the various local leagues for their support and also Suffolk FA, and James Payne in particular, for their support. IVR, which achieved the Charter Standard Club Award in 2001, is in the process of appointing a Respect Officer, which is believed to be the first post of its kind not just in Suffolk but in the country.

The launch also included speeches from SIL chairman Keith Norton, Suffolk FA chief executive Phil Knight and Archant sports writer Nick Garnham as well as end-of-season presentations to IVR youth teams.

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