Town open doors to new training centre

ANOTHER big step forward in the history of Ipswich Town took place today with the official opening of the club's training centre in Playford Road, Rushmere.

By Elvin King

ANOTHER big step forward in the history of Ipswich Town took place today with the official opening of the club's training centre in Playford Road, Rushmere.

Sports Minister Richard Caborn was due to perform the opening ceremony at a centre built on the site of the former Crane Sports Club.

Town players, past and present, were invited to the opening and included in the planned programme for the day was a ten-minute each-way game between the first team and an Academy side.

Included in the facilities at Playford Road is a dome that houses an indoor field-turf surface big enough to stage full-scale games and ideal for training purposes when the weather outside is inclement.

George Burley's first team squad share their training and coaching between the training centre and their adjacent regular site at the former Fisons Sports Club site in Bent Lane.

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There are 30 full time Academy scholars attached to the centre and as well as undergoing intensive football training they continue their education. The Academy also has 120 registered schoolboy players ranging from Under-nines to Under-16s who use the site during evenings and weekends.

Helen Broughton is welfare officer and administrator and like the rest of the Academy staff she is based in Playford Road.

She looks after the welfare of youngsters who use the centre whether on a full time or schoolboy basis.

Bryan Klug is Academy director with Ian Smith and Ken Goody assistant directors. Smith also runs the Under-17 and Under-19 sides while Goody takes charge of the Under nines to Under-16s. Under them are a number of fully qualified coaches both full and part time.

Last season the strength of the Academy was confirmed when an Under-18 side reached the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup and the Under-17s were league champions.

Also based at Playford Road are recruitment officer Malcolm Moore and head of education Paul Bartlett.

Peter Trevivian is now back working for Ipswich Town after a spell with Southend United, and he is development centres manager, looking after eight different centres in Suffolk and Essex where boys are looked at with a view to bringing them into the Playford Road centre.

The re-structured former Crane Sports Club now houses a canteen used by players and coaches from first team level down, players' lounge, parents' lounge, recreation room, classroom, changing rooms and office accommodation.

Ipswich Town women's side also use the centre for their Sunday home games while games can be played at Playford Road under lights.

The number of pitches is variable because of small-sided games played by younger age groups but it can be as many as 12.

Club head groundsman Alan Ferguson insures that the playing surface is as good as the one found at Portman Road.

Following their huge success on the field last season – and qualification for Europe – Ipswich Town are now as well equipped as any club in the Premiership to attract and develop their own quality players.