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Blues ditch Euro scout

PUBLISHED: 20:00 19 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:52 03 March 2010

EURO scout Simon Hunt is the latest victim of Ipswich's drastic cost cutting.

Sweden-based Hunt, who had three seasons on the Portman Road payroll, said today: "I am disappointed but I have to accept it.

EURO scout Simon Hunt is the latest victim of Ipswich's drastic cost cutting.

Sweden-based Hunt, who had three seasons on the Portman Road payroll, said today: "I am disappointed but I have to accept it."

Town boss Joe Royle commented: "We have been delighted with Simon's work on behalf of the club, but having a full-time scout in Europe is a luxury we can no longer afford."

Hunt was instrumental in bringing two foreign stars to Ipswich – Spanish striker Pablo Counago and Danish defender Thomas Gaardsoe.

Counago topped the scoring charts last season with 19 goals, while Gaardsoe blossomed under Royle to the extent that he was being touted for senior international honours.

Hunt added: "Both Pablo and Thomas were players I spotted and highly recommended. They have both gone on to do really well and between them they didn't cost a huge amount.

"When you can find players like that you are more than paying your way, but I knew the situation at the club was awful, financially, and I wasn't that surprised when I was told. I'd been aware for a while what it was like.

"I've got until the end of June on my contract and I have an open mind about my next move. I might go back to coaching, which went well before I turned to scouting, but it would depend on the club.

"I will almost certainly be staying in Sweden, although you never know with football. My family are prepared to move if they have to."

Chester-born Hunt, 40, played for Wrexham in the early 1980s before heading for Scandinavia to continue his career with Elfsborg. He then coached and managed four clubs before joining Town, originally to assist Romeo Zondervan and then becoming the number one Euro talent-spotter when the Dutchman quit to become an agent.

Hunt went on: "In my three seasons I saw plenty of ups and downs. I really enjoyed it and I am sad it is over, but I wish the club all the best for the future."

The feeling is mutual, with Royle adding: "It's a shame this has happened and it has nothing to do with his performance.

"It's about cutting costs and Simon understood the situation. We want to thank him for everything he has done for us."

Royle, a guest at former Oldham, Everton and Norwich star Mike Milligan's wedding in Norfolk at the weekend, will now rely on long-established contacts to canvas opinion on potential signings once Town are out of administration and have their transfer embargo lifted.

Meanwhile, Dutch midfielder Nabil Abidallah will not be joining Swiss club FC Thun after failing to impress during a trial period there.

Abidallah is one of six Town players who have been offered free transfers, despite having at least a year left on their contracts, so it looks as if he will be reporting back to Portman Road for pre-season training in July.

And Royle dismissed internet rumours that fitness coach Simon Thadani was leaving the club when he explained: "The very opposite is the case. We have offered him a new contract."


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