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Clegg: No easy route into top flight

PUBLISHED: 09:28 06 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:38 06 July 2010

SIMON Clegg, the Ipswich Town chief executive, has confirmed that new manager Roy Keane has two years to get the Blues into the Premier League.

He revealed that it will not be imperative for Keane to win promotion in his first season in charge.

SIMON Clegg, the Ipswich Town chief executive, has confirmed that new manager Roy Keane has two years to get the Blues into the Premier League.

He revealed that it will not be imperative for Keane to win promotion in his first season in charge.

Clegg, who was chief executive of the British Olympic Association before taking over the running of day-to-day affairs at Portman Road, explained the position that Keane now finds himself.

He is on a two-year contract and his appointment follows the dismissal of Jim Magilton for a failure to reach the top flight within 18 months of Marcus Evans taking over the Blues.

“I know from experience that there is no such thing as an easy Olympic gold medal,” said Clegg. And similarly there is no easy passage into the Premier League.

“Of course we aspire to reach the next level of English football at the earliest opportunity, but it would be wrong to commit any particular time frame. As I have said before we are building blocks to establish a firm foundation so that when promotion does come we will not find ourselves in yo-yo situation.

“Progress can still be made in 2009/10 if we stay in the Championship.”

Clegg is caught up in the anticipation and expectations that fans are currently experiencing now that Keane is in the Blues hot seat.

“We are all excited about the future,” he added.

“Both Roy and myself thrive under pressure and are looking forward to the challenge.

“We know it will not be easy with Ipswich Town having no God-given right to reach the Premier League.

“Our aspirations and dreams are shared by other clubs in the Championship, and we must prove ourselves to be smarter and to work harder so that our players have the best opportunity to bring success to the club.

“Season ticket sales reflects the general excitement and buzz that is currently surrounding the club, and despite the economic meltdown we are in a very good position with all aspects of our commercial operation.”

Clegg, who says it has been a steep but enjoyable learning curve introducing himself to the world of football and Suffolk way of life, recently attended the Football League annual general meeting in Portugal.

“It was most important to make contacts with other clubs,” he said. “There is a responsibility to go beyond the football side and do all we can to see the game continue to grow on a general level.”

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