Ipswich: Academy upgrade at Ipswich Town to improve recruitment of region’s youngsters as ITFC Charitable Trust parts company with club

Ipswich Town have revealed new plans to upgrade its academy in a fresh bid to recruit and improve th

Ipswich Town have revealed new plans to upgrade its academy in a fresh bid to recruit and improve the development of the regions best youngsters. - Credit: Mike Page

Ipswich Town have revealed new plans to upgrade its academy in a fresh bid to recruit and improve the development of the region’s best youngsters.

The invitation-only Advanced Coaching Programme will see young players take part in an extensive coaching programme designed by Town’s academy staff, set to launch in January.

All players will be closely monitored by academy coaches, with any who show potential invited to attend the Academy Development Centres.

But while the move was broadly welcomed it was criticised by an independent supporters club, who claimed it would be a “blow” to the ITFC Charitable Trust which parted company with the club in the shake-up. The charity, which inspires and educates youngsters through sport, had previously run activities at the practice pitch at Portman Road.

It has now been rebranded as Inspire Suffolk and will move in to the former Ipswich Academy site in Lindbergh Road in Ipswich.

Alasdair Ross, chair of the Ipswich Town Independent Supporters Trust, said he was “disappointed” the connection between the football club and the trust was “broken”.

An Ipswich Town Independent Supporters Trust spokesman added: “The severing of this connection will come as a blow to [the trust’s] future plans and activities.”

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But Terry Baxter, chief executive of Inspire Suffolk, said: “We have enjoyed a positive working relationship with the club during 10 years as a charity and many more of course as the community department of the club.

“But with ITFC focusing on the Academy development of young people in Suffolk, the time is right to see the two organisations split and we wish the club well.

“We are continuing our commitment to help inspire, motivate and educate young people using many sports including football at our new facility and at centres across the county.”

Ipswich Town joint-managing director, Ian Milne, said: “With our commitment to producing homegrown talent through our academy, we want to take a leading role in the area at grassroots level and that is why we are introducing the Advanced Coaching Programme.

“With that in mind and the trust’s decision to move in to multi-sports, it is a natural progression to go our separate ways.

“On behalf of the football club I would like to thank Terry and his team for their work over many years and wish them every success at Inspire Suffolk.

“As well as working on youth development from grassroots up, the club will of course continue to actively support local charities.

“Our players took part in more than 430 hours of charity and community events last season and we are hoping to beat that this year.”

An Inspire Suffolk spokesman added: “The new Inspire Suffolk site already has eight badminton/basketball courts, a gymnasium, four tennis courts and four grass football pitches.

“With these far greater facilities the charity will be able to offer even more help to the young people in Suffolk who are in need of some direction in their lives.

“Inspire Suffolk will continue to provide football courses both at their new base in Ipswich and across Suffolk as before with the same high level of professional coaching for all sports.

“The facilities at their new site just off the A14 at the Nacton interchange also provide larger classrooms with offices, meeting rooms and a function room plus a bigger car park too.”

More details of the Advanced Coaching Programme will be published in due course, with programmes set to be run in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds from the New Year until the end of the season.

Free taster sessions will be held in December, with all 303 players who were registered on the Player Development Centre courses automatically invited to take part.