'No dramatic cutbacks' at Academy

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks last night denied that the club's world-famous academy could face major cut-backs as a result of the financial melt-down at Portman Road.

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks last night denied that the club's world-famous academy could face major cut-backs as a result of the financial melt-down at Portman Road.

Many Premiership clubs have been envious of their success story, and the current crop of young stars are already becoming the targets of the Premiership giants.

Six of the 16 players on duty on Saturday in Town's 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday in the First Division have turned out for academy sides, while Richard Naylor was a product of the old youth system.

And the Town balance sheet has been boosted by home-produced players sold in recent years; Richard Wright, Kieron Dyer, James Scowcroft and Titus Bramble have brought in £20 million.


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The Academy costs £1 million a year cost to run and the club is anxious to protect its life-blood.

Sheepshanks said: “Clearly every department at the club has to tighten its belt during these difficult times and the Academy can be no exception. However, there are no dramatic cutbacks and equally no 'turmoil' as has been reported.

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“The Academy is running fine and spirits are high - as they should be after blooding six Under-19 and Under-17 players into the first-team squad in the last 12 months. It is a tremendous achievement and should be celebrated.

“The Ipswich Town Academy is a phenomenal success story, with credit to all those who operate it. The Board fully recognise the importance of building on that success and the administrators support that view.

“In the last few weeks Derek Bowden and I have met with our Academy management team and discussed practical and administrative savings that will total less than 10% of their budget. There are no cuts to key full-time or part-time coaches and support staff.

“The economies adopted will help the club but should have no direct bearing on the effectiveness of the Academy.”

Academy Director Bryan Klug confirmed that life at Playford Road was very much business as usual.

“Morale is high at the moment,” said Klug. “We've a number of young players who have come through the Academy and into Joe Royle's first team, so we must be doing something right.

“The proposed savings should not impact at all on the young players who come through our ranks.”

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