“We should definitely be aiming for automatic promotion – why not?” – Milne says Ipswich Town can kick on again

Richard Chaplow celebrates scoring the late winner at Watford with his Ipswich team mates. Photo: PA

Richard Chaplow celebrates scoring the late winner at Watford with his Ipswich team mates. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town’s best season in a decade will inevitably lead to outside expectations rising, but the ambition within the club will be every bit as high.

“For many months this season we managed to keep reasonably under the radar and that helped to take some of the pressures off,” said managing director Ian Milne. “It could be quite different next season. I think there will be more noise about us.

“I meet my counterparts at other clubs and can tell you that Ipswich Town has earnt a lot of credibility and respect this season.

“They all know what a solid set-up we have and, let me tell you, there are a number of clubs that would swap positions with us in a heartbeat.

“People now respect us and I certainly feel that a few clubs are beginning to fear us.”

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He continued: “We have overachieved this season – and I’m saying that in a very positive sense. The Championship was the most competitive it’s been in many years and we stayed towards the top throughout.

“The likes of Bournemouth and Watford were just that little bit more consistent than we were, but we will be even more consistent next year I’m sure.

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“We should definitely be aiming for an automatic (promotion) place. Why not? We have good reason to think that. If we can continue the progress and add to this team then why not?

“I think teams like Middlesbrough and Blackburn are coming towards the end of their parachute payments soon and they will find that a jolt.

“If you’ve got a £16m salary bill for your first team squad and you’ve suddenly got to cut that back and start to build a new team it’s difficult to have that consistency. Those sort of teams are going to have to work very, very hard.

“Look at the teams coming down. Hull – it will be interesting to see if they spend or not. Burnley may lose one or two key players and won’t want to overspend. QPR have got the whole debacle of Financial Fair Play to deal with.”

In recent years the likes of Burnley and Leicester have clinched automatic promotion following a slow and steady build that eventually exploded into life.

“You’re right,” said Milne. “Those clubs put solid platforms in place first before achieving success and I think we’re in that sort of place now.

“It has to be a two, three year build for clubs like ours who don’t have the parachute payments. You get the right manager, build the team and build that consistency.

“This applies in any walk of life. You have to slowly put a team together and the whole thing then gradually seems to improve. When the success eventually comes it takes some by surprise, but not those who have seen it all coming together behind the scenes.”

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