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10 January 2020

"They know it’s the way I want us to play and we all agree this is the right way forward for the Club"

In Saturday’s matchday programme, Marcus Evans explains the reasons for giving Paul Lambert a new long-term deal; talks the merits of a rotation policy and emphasises the importance of youth - on and off the pitch.

The main focus of the article though, written by the Club’s owner, centres on a football philosophy that he says will stay in place while he is at Portman Road - and a duty for the team to entertain...

“I believe we will have a really exciting footballing team over the next five years,” writes the owner in the matchday programme for the visit of Accrington at the weekend.

“I mention the term ‘footballing team’ as I indicated 18 months ago that to get to where we all eventually want to be, we need to be a footballing team.

“In my first years as an owner, I believed a more physical, direct approach was the way to move forward. Football has changed though. Clubs in the Championship and definitely in the Premier League are playing a much more technical game now.

“I feel there is also a duty to the supporters that we play in an entertaining manner. I want to enjoy watching the team play. I’m sure the fans do.

“I have spoken to Paul and Lee O’Neill, our general manager football operations, in great length about this over the last year. They know it’s the way I want us to play and we all agree this is the right way forward for the Club.

“It’s a philosophy that we have right through from the first-team down to the Academy levels.

“The stakes are highest at first-team level of course and there will always be a plan B, plan C on how to win a football match but the foundations of how Ipswich Town will play - while I’m owner - will be around the technical approach - and that desire to play a brand of football that entertains supporters.

“I think we have played that way for much of the time Paul has been here. Perhaps we have dropped off a bit over the last month or so and this league is more physical in style than the Championship but having been party to the different approaches I can see that a more technical playing style is more complex than developing a direct approach. It needs more time for everyone in the squad to feed off each other.

“Time becomes an even more important requirement when there is a deep squad with many challenging for first-team places and therefore less games when the same group play together.

“Much has been said of our rotation policy and I want to address this point. A key part of our strategy is to develop 22 players all challenging for every position on the pitch – no comfort zones.

“Yes this means the squad takes longer to evolve into a cohesive unit where everyone just slots into place but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right long term plan.

“When it all clicks, a more technical approach with a deep squad will take us to higher places as opposed to a direct style which will only take us so far. 

“If we give it time and support the process through the inevitable ups and downs and understand why we are working towards perfecting a style which is difficult to attain  - and the fans are behind the approach, which is vital – I firmly believe we will have a club which gets to where we want to be in the long term.

“Some will ask why I entered into a long term contract with the management team when we are experiencing a difficult run and I hope the above explains my reasoning as I believe Paul and his team have all of the attributes needed to take us forward.

“We have a fantastic manager and group of coaches who are passionate about the Club, its fans and the prospects ahead. They, like anyone, need the security of knowing they will be given the time to effect a plan which is both complex and always evolving.

“If I had wanted for the next phase of the Club to follow a plan for a more direct footballing approach, there would have been many other options but for the reasons I have stated above I am following a strategy which is aimed at the long term.

“It has a higher degree of difficulty and we started afresh not long ago but if we are to be anything other than an also-ran in the new football world, we have to take the time to evolve in the way I have described.

“It’s quicker and easier to build a basic engine than a complex one but in the long term the complex one, if perfected, will achieve higher degrees of success.”

Don’t miss Saturday’s matchday programme for much more from the owner, including news of further investment in the Academy; a makeover for Portman Road; transfer talk; the four factors in building this season’s squad and why there is excitement about the next crop of young Blues coming through the ranks.

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