'It's not just words' - Ashton on vital mantra behind Town's new shirts

Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton has stressed the importance of Town's 'running towards adversity' mantra

Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton has stressed the importance of Town's 'running towards adversity' mantra - Credit: Archant/ITFC

CEO Mark Ashton has stressed the importance of including the club’s mantra on the new Ipswich Town shirts. 

The club launched the first shirts of their partnership with Umbro on Thursday, with the blue home and red and black away jerseys both proving an early hit with fans. 

Included, inside the collar, is the phrase ‘running towards adversity’. It’s a mantra which has become central to the Blues since last year’s American takeover, funded by the pension money of Arizona’s emergency service workers. 

“It’s something that’s very important to us,” Ashton said.  

Luke Woolfenden and Wes Burns in Town's new Umbro kits

Luke Woolfenden and Wes Burns in Town's new Umbro kits - Credit: Ross Halls

“When I’ve spoken to the ownership group and particularly to Mark Steed (head of the Arizona-based pension fund which finances Town) we’ve talked about who we represent. This is US pension fund money so it’s police, firefighters from the state of Arizona.  

“We need to understand who we represent and what those values and behaviours bring to the football club. It’s not just a tip of the cap to the owners – it's a real statement and it’s not just words. What comes out of that are the vision, mission, values and behaviours which all players and staff at this football club will adhere to. 

“When we sign a player, it doesn’t matter who they are, they understand what ‘running towards adversity’ means and who we represent. So it’s a very important thing for us. 

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“We have such good owners and there’s very little they ask us to do, other than win matches and be successful. But they’re very passionate about our community work and the people we represent. That’s why we have those words on the shirts. 

“They’re not just words, though. They’re real values we will adhere to at the football club.” 

Ashton continued: “When you are in and around sport, you’ll see a lot of branding in and around training grounds which is ‘Michael Jordan-esque'. It’s big statements, big words and it’s very powerful. 

“But what do they mean to the organisation or the people in that business? The words ‘running towards adversity have a real meaning to us and they’re not just a slogan we’ve slapped on the shirt. 

“These are words that really translate to the people we represent – the people whose money comes into this football club to allow us to rebuild an amazing club. 

“It’s an important acknowledgement to them but it’s also an important piece for our players and staff to remember who they represent and what we stand for.” 

Discussing the shirts themselves, which will again be sponsored by superstar musician Ed Sheeran next season, Ashton said: “I think the shirts are fantastic. 

“I’ve obviously seen them for a while now and have been itching to tell people, but we’ve had to keep quiet. 

“We are delighted to have Umbro onboard and it’s a transition from adidas, who we thank. But we’re moving in a different direction now. 

“The design of the kit has been really well thought through and it’s our kit. It’s not come off the shelf and isn’t a kit everyone else has in a slightly different colour. It’s bespoke to us. 

“I’m delighted with it and all the feedback we have had from the players and staff has been fantastic. I just hope the fans love them too.”