How Ipswich created a successful football franchise – Australia News

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AS Western Pride’s history-making men’s football team prepare for Saturday’s grand final, it’s timely to highlight the tremendous Ipswich vision that made a dream become reality.

Most remarkable is how a group of like-minded Ipswich sporting and professional people have created a National Premier League success story after just five years in operation.

One of the chief architects was Todd Hunt, who summed it up perfectly when invited to reflect on the early challenges and how Western Pride has made Ipswich so proud.

“I’m still pinching myself,” said Hunt, who played a leading role framing Pride’s policies and structure.

“I don’t think anyone thought that the club overall, not just the men’s team, would be performing this well given it’s only five years old.

“I think the football model is spot on.”

Visionary Ipswich people like Hunt, Kym Wickstein, James Buchanan and Wendy Spencer led a group of passionate volunteers who established the Pride franchise and secured an all-important state league licence.

The “hugely beneficial work” started in the years before Pride officially kicked off its 2013 season at the North Ipswich Reserve.

Backed by Ipswich City Council, and especially sports boss David Morrison, Western Pride won the right to play in the-then Australian Premier League, before the name was changed to its current National Premier Leagues structure.

Hunt was inaugural vice chairman, working with other successful business people like new club chairman Wickstein.

Hunt later took over as chairman before Wickstein assumed the role again.

Despite some early resistance, Football Ipswich was formed as the official entity to pursue…

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