Shock as Klug ends three decades at Town

FORMER academy director and first-team coach Bryan Klug is leaving Ipswich Town after more than three decades at the club.

FORMER academy director and first-team coach Bryan Klug is leaving Ipswich Town after more than three decades at the club.

The shock news will be confirmed in the next few days by club chiefs, who are currently talking to Klug, 49, about the details of his departure.

The move will be viewed by fans as the end of an era, as the highly-regarded coach was the final footballing link at Portman Road with the Bobby Robson glory years.

Klug is the longest-serving football employee at the club, having joined as an apprentice in 1977. Apart from a couple of years away in the early 1980s, he has been at Portman Road ever since. He enjoyed a hugely successful spell as director of Town's renowned academy before becoming first-team coach in 2006 when Jim Magilton was appointed manager.

However, a year ago Klug became head of football development, and those close to the club say he has been an increasingly marginal figure since Roy Keane's appointment last April.

Last night, the football club confirmed they were in talks with a member of staff “about their future employment.'' Midfielder Klug played for England youth before suffering a serious knee injury. Attempts at a comeback at Wimbledon, Chesterfield and Peterborough were short-lived and he was forced to retire from playing in his early 20s.

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He rejoined Ipswich Town, eventually being appointed the first director of the club's academy.

He enjoyed phenomenal success, producing stars such as Kieron Dyer, Richard Wright, Darren Bent, and Titus Bramble. The pinnacle of this part of the year was when his team of youngsters won the FA Youth Cup in 2005, beating Southampton 3-2 in a two-legged final.

Newcastle tried to poach Klug to head their academy, but instead he teamed up with new Town manager Jim Magilton in 2006 to become first team coach. The pair enjoyed reasonable success in their first two seasons - despite having no money to spend - but in January last year, Magilton brought in the vastly experienced John Gorman and Klug became head of football development, overseeing all coaching at the club.

However, Roy Keane's arrival as manager in April 2009 saw him bring in his own team of coaches, and speculation began about Klug's future at the club. His contract was due to expire this summer.

Klug has had two spells as caretaker manager of Ipswich. The first was in 2002, after the sacking of George Burley. The second was in April last year, following Jim Magilton's departure. This was possibly the shortest managerial spell in the history of football - it lasted less than one day before he was told that Roy Keane had been installed!

Klug is one of a very limited number of coaches in Britain who has gained the UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching qualification in football. With this, and his reputation as one of the best youth coaches in the country, his departure from Ipswich Town is likely to create a great deal of interest among other clubs.