JAMES Scowcroft believes Ipswich Town’s continued absence from Suffolk’s leading knockout competition is a good thing for the county’s non-League clubs.
Some clubs and former player Jamie Griffiths rounded on the Tractor Boys last week to criticise their decision not to play in the event, despite being the only professional team in Suffolk.
But even after Ipswich manager Paul Jewell admitted this week he was not aware of the cup — despite the final being played at Portman Road — Scowcroft understood the reasons why they did not enter it.
“The reserves should be all about developing young players and I can’t see how that competition helps with that,” said Scowcroft, who played in the competition for both Ipswich and Bury Town.
“It’s nice for clubs to go up against them and a bit of a boost to revenue streams, but it made a bit of a mockery of the competition.
“I was at Ipswich Town versus Needham Market for the 2010 final and it was so one sided it was unfair, whereas Bury Town versus Needham Market last year was a good game.”
However, the Marketmen’s manager Danny Laws believes having Ipswich back in the competition would enhance it as a spectacle.
He added: “It is a loss to the competition and I would certainly like them to come back into it.”
Ipswich pay £500 to Suffolk Football Association not to be in the competition, but have traditionally sent out sides against local non-League clubs, including Bury, Needham and Walsham-le-Willows in 2011.
And Bury boss Richard Wilkins — who sold centre-back Ian Miller to Ipswich Town on the back of a pre-season game — was not surprised by Jewell not being aware of the competition and added: “We are fortunate we’ve had pre-season games against Ipswich Town, which help the coffers.”
Meanwhile, Suffolk FA said they would welcome Ipswich Town back into the competition, as well as thanking them for continuing to host finals for the Premier Cup, Senior Cup and Junior Cup.
Chief executive Phil Knight added: “Having our friends at Portman Road back in the LB Group Suffolk FA Premier Cup would be a fantastic boost to the competition, participating teams and grassroots football throughout Suffolk.”
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