Blues sack youth coach

IPSWICH have sacked assistant academy director Ian Smith.His departure came after Town took part in an international youth tournament in Italy in April, although no announcement was made at the time.

IPSWICH have sacked assistant academy director Ian Smith.

His departure came after Town took part in an international youth tournament in Italy in April, although no announcement was made at the time.

But Smith has been conspicuous by his absence since the Town staff recently resumed training and the club issued a brief statement today in response to an enquiry from The Evening Star.

It read: “Former academy coach Ian Smith left the club's employment on April 30, 2004, by mutual agreement. The club has no further comment on this matter.”


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The Star understands an incident occurred, while an Ipswich Under-18 squad was involved in the eight-team Claudio Sassi Memorial Tournament, which led to Smith's dismissal.

Smith's role as assistant to academy director Bryan Klug saw him groom youngsters for the big-time, among them current first team stars Matt Richards, Ian Westlake, Darren Bent and Dean Bowditch.

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A former Tottenham Hotspur player and respected coach, Smith's greatest achievement came three years ago when his Town team claimed the FA Academy League Under-17 title after beating Newcastle United in the play-off final.

The Ipswich youngsters triumphed 5-0 in the first game at Portman Road and lost 2-0 in the return at St James' Park in front of a 10,000 crowd.

They were close to a sensational double but lost narrowly to eventual winners Arsenal at the semi-final stage of the FA Youth Cup.

Meanwhile, Paul Goddard is returning to work at the Ipswich academy, initially on a part-time basis, in a move unconnected with Smith's exit.

Former England striker Goddard, an ex-Town player from the John Lyall area, was caretaker manager at the end of 1994 following Lyall's shock resignation.

He went on to become youth coach and then ran the academy under-19 side before returning to former club West Ham as assistant manager to Glenn Roeder.

East Bergholt-based Goddard left Upton Park at the beginning of the year after Alan Pardew's arrival as manager led to the appointment of ex-Norwich midfielder Peter Grant as his number two.

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