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Mark Ramsay steps down as chair of Ipswich Town Supporters Club with popular fan Martin Swallow stepping up



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Mark Ramsay has relinquished his role as chair of the official Ipswich Town Supporters Club (ITSC), with his deputy Martin Swallow stepping up to take his place on an interim basis, SuffolkNews can reveal.

It brings an end to an almost five-year term for Clare-based Ramsay, who took on the mantle following Liz Edwards' decade in charge after she vacated the position to be the club's supporters liaison officer in June 2017.

His last act for ITSC was awarding Wes Burns the Supporters' Player of the Season award in a packed out FanZone at Portman Road on Saturday.

Martin Swallow (left) has taken over as chair of Ipswich Town Supporters Club from Mark Ramsey (right) Picture: ITFC
Martin Swallow (left) has taken over as chair of Ipswich Town Supporters Club from Mark Ramsey (right) Picture: ITFC

Ramsay told SuffolkNews he felt it was time for a new voice who could bring in fresh ideas to help engage supporters with the organisation's activities.

"When I joined the committee from day one I always said I would do three to five years," he said. "Five years is up in June and the end of the season seemed the right time.

"Steve Doe (treasurer) took over from Liz as interim chair for a few weeks, he was the one who invited me to join the committee which I admit I was not too keen to join at first due to work commitments. However, on attending the meeting and seeing what Steve was going to have to deal with I agreed to help out.

Martin Swallow speaks to Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook on the pitch at Bury Town ahead of the inaugural Martin Swallow Challenge Trophy last summer Picture: Russell Claydon
Martin Swallow speaks to Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook on the pitch at Bury Town ahead of the inaugural Martin Swallow Challenge Trophy last summer Picture: Russell Claydon

"It was only a few weeks until Steve asked me to take over the interim chair role. I was then formally adopted at the October AGM.

"I also believe that five years is long enough, it has been an honour and privilege to hold the position but another supporter should be given the opportunity that I was fortunate enough to be elected into in the first place.

"Also a new chair hopefully brings in further ideas to help us improve."

Ramsay has backed his vice chair, Bury St Edmunds-based Swallow, to realise his dream of being the figurehead of ITSC, which acts as a bridge between the fanbase and Suffolk's only professional club.

Martin Swallow presents his Martin Swallow Challenge Trophy to Bury Town captain Ollie Fenn last summer Picture: Mecha Morton
Martin Swallow presents his Martin Swallow Challenge Trophy to Bury Town captain Ollie Fenn last summer Picture: Mecha Morton

Swallow, who will be known to Bury Town supporters as the PA announcer at Ram Meadow, has supported Ipswich since 1981, joined the ITFC Fans Forum in 2009 and successfully stood for election to the ITSC committee in 2011. He became vice-chairman in 2017.

In 2020 he was diagnosed with a brain tumour but with the help of his wife Teresa, who was elected on to the committee, has been able to continue to play a very active role.

"Martin, as vice chair, should be allowed the opportunity and I hope he will be formally adopted into the role at the next AGM," said Ramsay.

"We, as a committee, have grown and had many successes in the last five years, I hope and feel that I leave them in a much stronger place than when I arrived.

"I also feel that the club as a whole is in a much better place, having seen five managers, three CEOs and two owners I believe the club is ready to move forward and up the league pyramid again!"

Ramsay also revealed former owner Marcus Evans eventually agreed to meet him but it was something that never happened, due his sale of the club to the American-funded Game Changer Ltd 20 group.

He was full of praise for the way former manager Paul Cook handled things in his dealings with him, such as the efforts he continued to make approaching Swallow at games after learning of his illness in the pre-season friendly at Bury Town in the summer that was dedicated to the latter.

The Martin Swallow Trophy is set to be played again at Ram Meadow this summer with a date to be announced.

Ramsay said he was proud to leave the ITSC committee at a healthy number of 10 having inherited it with a worrying three people involved.

He believes his biggest achievements have been the introduction of former Town legend Terry Butcher as ITSC's president and 'permanently invited guests' of which he now hopes to be one when he formally steps down from the committee at the next AGM.

Swallow said he is looking forward to being ITSC's figurehead and is set to bring some new ideas forward. He said he is feeling in good health, having just finished a course of radiotherapy.

With the help of his wife Teresa he has managed to take in more Ipswich games than any other season as well as accelerating his bid to complete visits to each of the 92 top four tier clubs.

He has ticked off 22 this season and will be at the Etihad Stadium to watch Manchester City hosting Newcastle United on Sunday that he hoped would complete the set.

While technically it will have, the 53-year-old is arranging pre-season trips to Bristol Rovers and Brentford as he is yet to visit their new stadiums.