Script is written to perfection as Ipswich get off to a flyer
It was a day of celebration at Humber Doucy Lane on Saturday, with the script being followed to perfection.
I was invited along to the London 2 North game against Braintree with Ipswich Star editor Terry Hunt and got a chance to soak up the feel-good vibe eminating around the club.
Of course, the 32-3 win helped, but the positive mood was not going to be dampened, whatever the final result.
The club’s facilities have been given some much-needed TLC over the summer, including the revamped bar area and a new family area, and the changes, mostly carried out and funded by volunteers, are all part of Ipswich’s intentions to provide a community facility that can be embraced by everyone.
The club is planning to provide more family-orientated Sundays, with lunches at the clubhouse, and wants to improve its reputation as an all-encompassing club with a strong leaning towards youth development.
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The club no longer pays players although labour-based incentives from sponsors still play a part. While foreign talent is there, the team’s non-Brits are those that have settled in the area.
They include coach Johnny Breedt who is a much-respected development officer, described as a “great ambassador” for the club by club chairman Dick Berresford, spending a lot of time coaching in schools and colleges in the area.
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Club stalwart and vice chairman Berresford spoke with an infectious enthusiasm about the future plans of the world’s fourth-oldest rugby union club.
“We have a strong vision moving forward and we want to respect the traditions of the club,” said the vice chairman.
“We would like to re-establish ourselves as the best community club in the region and one of the main ways to do that is by attracting young players in their formative years and making sure we offer something that they want to return to.
“The youth and junior section has become an enormous entity in its own right and our interaction with the youth and junior section is part and parcel of the club.
“We want to re-engage rather than disenfranchise people.”
The club’s emphasis on family is also something Berresford hopes pays dividends.
“We are looking at providing full Sunday lunches for our youth and family members,” said Berresford.
“They are at the heart of our club and we want it to become a place where the family can come along and enjoy their Sunday afternoon.”
While the ethos is focused on the local community, Berresford believes there is a gap for an East Anglian-based Premiership or Championship club.
Ipswich are veering away from that right now, electing instead to follow the already-mentioned grassroots philosophy, but that does not mean things could not change.
“There is a huge opportunity for a pre-eminent Premiership or Championship club in our part of the world and there are still many people on the committee with those visions and aspirations,” he said.
“If it is decided in the future to take a different approach, who am I to say what is right or wrong?
“But first and foremost we have to be honest with ourselves.”