IT’S the best-known brand in Suffolk, recognised around Britain and much of Europe.

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But it seems officials at the borough council didn’t think Ipswich Town Football Club was worth a mention in their new economic strategy document.

It wasn’t even mentioned after club chief executive Simon Clegg pointed out the omission in the first draft of the strategy, and was assured it would be amended.

The borough now says that the report approved by councillors at its meeting on Wednesday night was only a “latest draft” and the final strategy will have to be approved by the council’s executive later this month.

However it is clear that the omission of any reference to the football club was an oversight – which has left red faces among senior councillors and officials.

It is even more embarrasing because the borough owns the Portman Road freehold – it’s the club’s landlord!

Mr Clegg said he had seen the original draft of the strategy and had written to the borough councillor responsible for economic development, Carole Jones.

She replied that the council was aware of the football club and its importance to the town would be recognised in the final strategy document.

However when the strategy was published for consideration by the full council meeting on Wednesday, there was still no mention of the club.

Mr Clegg said: “I was a little surprised and rather disappointed, especially after being assured that we would be worthy of a mention.”

He pointed out that the club’s name was known throughout the country – and across much of Europe thanks to the exploits of Sir Bobby Robson’s and George Burley’s teams.

“People of our age know of Ipswich because of the football club, and it remains a key part of the town’s economy.”

Under the culture and heritage section of the strategy there is mention of the 170,000 people who go to the Regent Theatre every year, the 117,500 who visit the town’s museums, and even the 5,390 who went to performances at Dance East.

But there is no reference to the 400,000 football fans who went to matches at Portman Road, including tens of thousands from other parts of the country.

Ms Jones said: “I can assure the club that their important role in the economic development of the town will be included in the final document when it comes to executive committee next month.”

However The Star understands that officials do accept they have scored an own goal by leaving the club out of the latest draft.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer had already been critical of the economic strategy – saying he felt it was meaningless.

After hearing this he said: “I am afraid this just confirms what you hear from businesses all over the town – that the borough does not know anything about the real world!

“If you’ll excuse the pun, it’s about time the borough upped its game.”

n How important is the football club to the town? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

13 comments

  • @Mark - Unfortunately the population of Ipswich dictates what type of town centre it has . They are the regular customers . It would appear that the population want coffee shops , phone shops , the market and charity shops . If the town reflected Norwich it would be nice - Yes . This is a long way off . For example i can drive into the heart of Norwich town Centre and park my car which i have driven all the way from ipswich , i don't want to get on a bus either . More car parking in the town centre of ipswich would assist dramatically . Look how nice it is to drive into the Buttermarket centre and get out and shop and not get cold or wet . Easing traffic flow for car opwenrs would help dramatically in ipswich . IBC continue to put us off and hence we go elsewhere . We had lunch in Chapelfield in Norwich about a month ago . We spoke to two couples who both stated how nice it was in norwich compared to Ipswich . Where were we all from, yes the Ipswich area ! Bury is nice too . How long have we got to wait for Ipswich to be good ? We have been waiting for years , haven't we ?

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • As a regular respondee to the 'consultations' undertaken by IBC, I am both delighted and disappointed to read that it's not only my views - representing my sector - which are completely ignored by IBC. Re Ben Gummer, I'm far from a natural Tory voter, but Ben works extremely hard for the town, and although privileged both by education and background, is not in any way aloof. We're lucky to have someone of his ability and ambition on our side.

    Report this comment

    Erm, Why?

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

  • Shouldn't we have dropped the 'Super' bit by now? It's been a while after all. Although even that's not as laughable as our loveable local Tory MP, Ben Gummer, accusing others of being out of touch with the 'real world'. The 'real world' of a Tory is a very different place indeed.

    Report this comment

    skrich

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • You don't expect any council to be efficient do you?

    Report this comment

    JOHN BURLS

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Perhaps it's time football-obsessives got back into the real world and realised that actually their over-paid ballerinas don't really matter to the rest of us. And as for Ipswich Town's economic effects - ask the many small businesses it left badly out of pocket when it went bust and failed to pay its debts.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Perhaps the 400,000 fans can kick these idiots out at next local elections. My councillor is more interested in free trade bananas than real issues

    Report this comment

    m01

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • With the council owning the ground I'm surprised they haven't put traffic lights at the corners

    Report this comment

    m01

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Poppys dad. Sureley the whole idea of this ECONOMIC STRATEGY document (good or bad that it may be) is aiming for just that, to get more into Ipswich. It may even be that there is somewhere better than Norwich to shop ???

    Report this comment

    Mark

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • you do realise how much tax these "over-paid ballerinas" pay right? the more they get paid, and the bigger football is, the better off the government is, its private money after all, you anti football-obsessives really have nothing to complain about.

    Report this comment

    tony cowling

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • ITFC - How much are they in debt ? £30m ? They might be a brand , but they are quite a poor one . Ipswich is a poor town , it may have a University now but it needs alot more . Pushing people out of the town to go elsewhere by the scatter brained ideas has done nothing to improve it . To expect people to come to Ipswich Town centre for the day is ridiculous , Compare it to Norwich .

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Yes ITFC should get a mention, periodically it manages to turn our town in to a traffic nightmare, it also manages to avoid paying its landlord the rent it is owed... £650k wasnt it? it is also a weekly talking point in every pub and bar in the land... at just how embarrassing the teams performance on the pitch has been.

    Report this comment

    Fat Lady Sings

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • you do realise how much tax these "over-paid ballerinas" pay right? the more they get paid, and the bigger football is, the better off the government is, its private money after all, you anti football-obsessives really have nothing to complain about.

    Report this comment

    tony cowling

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Tony, Tony, Tony................ Really, you honestly think these playersclubsagents play by the rules and pay their 40% income tax. The reality is the big earners have offshore companiesaccounts set up, and the tax is far lower than you clearly imagine. And yes, I am a football fan.

    Report this comment

    Mark

    Friday, February 1, 2013

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