Ex-Town duo stump up to help out kids
FORMER Ipswich stars Titus Bramble and Kieron Dyer have put their hands in their pockets to help the cash-crippled club.The pair, now together at Premiership giants Newcastle, have donated money to help Town's under-14 side take part in the prestigious Nike Cup youth tournament.
By Mel Henderson
FORMER Ipswich stars Titus Bramble and Kieron Dyer have put their hands in their pockets to help the cash-crippled club.
The pair, now together at Premiership giants Newcastle, have donated money to help Town's under-14 side take part in the prestigious Nike Cup youth tournament.
It looked as if Ipswich would have to withdraw from next week's competition until two of their most famous youth products offered financial support.
Although keen to continue their involvement, Town were initially prohibited by the administrator who was called in nine weeks ago.
He was anxious to save the £2,000-plus cost, to cover transport and meals, so academy staff set about finding alternative ways of funding the trip.
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Academy director Bryan Klug revealed: "We took part last year, did quite well and were keen to take part again. But it looked as if we might not manage it.
"I keep in touch on a pretty regular basis with Kieron and we also see Titus back here from time to time.
"I took a call one day and it was Kieron on the other end. He had heard we might have to miss out and immediately offered his help.
"He said that he and Titus wanted to make donations and I thought it was a tremendous gesture."
The tournament is staged at Sunderland's new Academy HQ, with the Town party based in nearby Durham. They depart on Monday and the event finishes on Thursday.
Klug added: "It is a big tournament and a big test for the boys. They could have four or five tough games.
"We will find out a lot about the boys' character – who can handle it and how they get on part of the team. We wouldn't have wanted to miss out."
Former long-serving director Harold Smith, now one of the club's two vice presidents, has also made a donation towards the cost.
And Klug revealed that a third Ipswich-born former Town star, Everton goalkeeper Richard Wright, also wants to help.
He said: "Richard has been on to offer support and although the Nike Cup trip is covered he said he would like to help in the future, which is really good of him."
Bramble and Dyer, whose transfers to Tyneside totalled £10 million, have promised more than cash aid. They will also be attending the tournament to add their support.
England Under-21 defender Bramble, who moved to St James' Park last summer, said: "It's no big deal. I was pleased to help.
"I will always have a soft spot for Ipswich after they gave me my start in football and looked after me as a kid.
"I just didn't want to see the Town lads miss out. Now I hope they go on to give a really good account of themselves."
Dyer has become a regular in Sven Goran Eriksson's England squad, winning 15 senior caps. He joined the Geordies in a £6.5m deal in July 1999.
He added: "As far as I was concerned it was donating money to a good cause. I had some happy times with Ipswich and I didn't want to see the youngsters miss out.
"Other people have also come forward with donations so it's a team effort. The important thing is that the boys are able to take part. It's a big thing to them and rightly so."