Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton has said the Tractor Boys had to sell their vision to persuade many of their signings to make the step down to League One this summer, speaking on the League One side’s YouTube channel.
Ashton had a very busy summer at Portman Road, with manager Paul Cook deciding to sell the majority of his first-team squad from last season and signing 19 senior players during the window.
Although the number of players coming in was a major surprise to many outsiders, the quality of the reinforcements they managed to bring in was also eye-catching and a few notable faces dropped down from the Championship to join Cook’s long-term project in Suffolk.
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Former Barnsley forward Conor Chaplin and deadline day signing Sam Morsy were just two of those players to arrive from other clubs for undisclosed fees, with out-of-contract trio Tom Carroll, Sone Aluko and Kyle Edwards also signing on at Portman Road after being released from Queens Park Rangers, Reading and West Bromwich Albion respectively earlier in the summer.
These additions have been backed up by five top-quality loan deals and moves for established third-tier pros in talisman Joe Pigott and centre-back Cameron Burgess.
It was perhaps easier to recruit those players as opposed to the likes of Chaplin and Morsy, although many fans across the EFL presumed these moves were due to a pay rise to attract them to League One.
This is not the case though according to CEO Ashton, who said: “We’ve had to sell a vision because it’s not an easy thing to do, to persuade players to drop from any division, let alone the Championship to League One.
“And I’ve heard people say ‘It’s because you’re paying them more money and you’re paying higher wages to them’.
“That’s not the case, let me be really clear. A number of these players have taken salary drops to come to this football club and to be part of a long-term vision and a long-term strategy on how we take it forward.
“And again that’s key because it shows they are committed to the cause. There’s a lot of work to do and we’re going to need that commitment from everybody to bring success back to Portman Road.”
Although this is an exciting project, it was surprising they managed to persuade a selection of these players to come to Portman Road without a pay rise, and here’s why.
There was a huge amount of uncertainty in the early stages of the summer over whether they would be able to bring in as many players as they have. Not due to restrictions, but down to the fact bringing in 19 players is a huge total and almost unheard of in the EFL.
This is why they did so well to recruit the likes of Rekeem Harper, George Edmundson and Conor Chaplin before the start of August, presumably via the powers of persuasion judging from Mark Ashton’s comments.
Promotion certainly isn’t guaranteed this season, especially after a poor start to their League One campaign and the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland currently on fire at the top of the division.
However, they can count this as a successful season after being able to offload the majority of the players that were deemed surplus to requirements and bring in as many players as they did.
Now is the time for the new-look Tractor Boys to jell together ahead of what could be an extremely exciting remainder of the campaign.