'They are starting to make a very good team... which gets me excited' - Owner Johnson on Cook and Ashton partnership

Mark Ashford talks to Paul Cook after the pre-season friendly at Dartford

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook speaks to chief executive Mark Ashton following the 1-0 win at Dartford. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix

Ipswich Town co-owner Brett Johnson is excited by the working relationship forming between manager Paul Cook and CEO Mark Ashton. 

Ashton has been in post since the start of June, during which time the new chief executive has delivered eight new signings as Cook rebuilds his squad, with plenty more expected to follow. 

Johnson, who along with Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer led the Gamechanger takeover at Portman Road in April, is pleased with how the two are working together and is excited by the team being put together at Portman Road. 

Mark Ashton first day 7

Ipswich Town chief executive Mark Ashton - Credit: Ross Halls

“I’m cautiously optimistic, given the moves we’ve made and by bringing Mark Ashton in alongside Paul Cook and his experience,” Johnson said, speaking to US-based Ipswich fan Phil Brown on the Vertical Playpen podcast. 

“I think those two are starting to make a very good team with each other, which gets me excited. 

“In a short period of time, Ipswich is back on a lot of people’s radars. Players are thinking ‘this is a club on the move’ and other clubs are looking at us thinking they are more interested in giving us loans. 

“I’m very pleased with the players Paul and Mark are signing and have full faith in them. 

“I can’t wait to see what we put on the field very soon.” 

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Johnson, who hopes to make his first visit to Ipswich for the League One opening-day clash with Morecambe on August 7, believes Ashton offers the club leadership in both on-field and off-field matters. 

“I was really impressed with Mark a couple of years ago when we first met at a USL board meeting, when he flew in and presented to the executive committee,” Johnson said. 

Ipswich Town co-owner Brett Johnson

Ipswich Town co-owner Brett Johnson - Credit: ITFC

“Mark’s commercial sense and his football passion, as a player and now on the technical side, is not easy to find. He’s the complete package, if you well. 

“I remember thinking, if I ever do anything in England I’d like Mark to be a part of it. Someone like him, who speaks the language of English football, can navigate it and understands how to get players to play for him is really important. 

“Mark is a good example of someone I know will just get on with it. Any time someone like Mark needs a sounding board I’ll be here, but he’s the kind of executive you just know is getting on with it and you don’t need to lose any sleep. 

“That’s the kind of people I like to surround myself with. Let me know how it’s going, drop me a note every once-in-a-while and tell me if you want to check in. 

“We just have to keep putting our right foot after our left foot and hopefully make good things happen.” 

Despite the wave of positivity sweeping over Portman Road, following the Gamechanger takeover, Johnson knows that renewed enthusiasm must translate into results on the pitch when the new season begins. 

“We are living in a somewhat honeymoon period here,” he said. 

“As they say, at some point the rubber is going to hit the road in August when we start to play. 

“Everyone gave us a pass, rightly so, for the tail end of last season but now we’ll start to be judged from August 7 on. That’s when it starts to get real. 

“But I’m an optimist at heart and have been very fortunate. I don’t take the challenge lightly, especially in League One in England.” 

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