Ed Sheeran hails unlikely Ipswich promotion from Miami GP

Ed Sheeran has hailed Ipswich Town‘s promotion to the Premier League and says the club’s success will come as a huge boost to the area.

Sheeran watched Ipswich’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield in the United States as he is on tour in Miami. He has been the principal Ipswich Town shirt sponsor since 2021 and is a lifelong fan of the club.

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Ipswich’s victory on Saturday at Portman Road secured their promotion back to the Premier League, ending their 22-year spell outside the top flight. Sheeran had been in frequent contact with the team in the build-up to Saturday’s match and video-called into the celebrations after the victory, and he said he hopes promotion will bring a lift to the whole area.

“Living just outside of Ipswich, I’ve seen it go through really difficult times, and I know that being in the Premier League is going to bring, not just real excitement to the football club but also real excitement and joy to the town and lift it up, which is really important,” Sheeran told ESPN in Miami.

Ipswich’s journey back to the Premier League came under manager Kieran McKenna, who has secured back-to-back promotions after taking charge of the club in December 2021. It’s an incredible feat, and Sheeran is predicting the team will continue its upwards trajectory next season.

“What’s brilliant about football is it is very unpredictable and you never know what’s going to happen,” Sheeran said.

“We’ve seen the top six teams in England fall from grace before, and you’ve seen people like Leicester win the league. You never know, if we avoid relegation next season, that’s the biggest success for me, but you never know what’s going to happen.”

McKenna was immensely proud of Ipswich’s feat, highlighting how they’d finished as the top goal-scorers in the league for the second campaign running.

“It feels incredible,” McKenna said after the game. “It’s an incredible achievement. There’s such a range of emotions today, thankfully all positive but I’m overjoyed for everybody. So proud of the efforts, relieved as well I have to say. When you get to the end point, it’s such a big thing. It doesn’t come around every year, it doesn’t come around every decade, something like this. So we really wanted to finish it off.”

Keeping Ipswich in the Premier League will be McKenna’s job next season, and while he’ll spend a bit of time with his family over the next couple of weeks, they already have preseason plans in place and they’ll be looking to bolster their squad ahead of the top-flight challenge.

“It’s a massive step up, no doubt about it,” McKenna said. “It’s not something that I want to think about too much today, but I know it’s a humongous step up and every single department of the football club is going to have a massive, massive challenge to be competitive in the Premier League.

“They’re challenges to look forward to, challenges to embrace. I don’t think anybody externally thought that we could get to this point but they are things to think about next week. This weekend is for reveling in what we’ve done so far.”

McKenna has been linked with Premier League jobs in the past, and the likelihood is he’ll attract the attention of other sides this summer, but he’s committed to the job at Portman Road. “I love it here, it’s a fantastic club,” McKenna said. “I’m so proud to be the manager of this football club and I’ve worked so hard at it every day, given so much of myself and the people around me for the last couple of years.

“So I’m just so focused and enjoying that journey. That sort of speculation has been there for the last two years to be honest. And I’ve shown loyalty to the club through that and I’m really pleased I’ve stuck with it and achieved what we’ve achieved, and there’s some big exciting steps to come for the football club.”

One of his star players this season has been Leif Davis, the left-back signed from Leeds in 2022. He is looking forward to facing Newcastle in the Premier League, the team he supported as a boy.

“McKenna’s taken my game on a massive, massive amount. I hope he stays and we get to work with him for years to come. I had a Newcastle season ticket when I was younger and I can’t wait to play at St James’ Park,” Davis said.

McKenna is keen to look at permanent deals for some of the players they’ve had on loan this season with the likes of Omari Hutchinson, Kieffer Moore and Jeremy Sarmiento all bolstering their bid for promotion. Hutchinson, on loan from Chelsea, was named Player of the Match on Saturday and it was his second goal which secured the victory.

“I’m speechless, man,” Hutchinson said. “I don’t know what to say! This is the best loan I could ever imagine. The boys have helped me so much; I just want to thank everyone who’s helped me so far. I don’t know if I’ll be here next season — right now I just want to celebrate.”