Ross: Ground Should Not Be Sold Monday, 11th Mar 2013 16:53
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer’s suggestion that Ipswich Borough Council should sell Portman Road to the club in order to finance the compulsory purchase of waterfront land for redevelopment is “stupid and naïve”, according to Borough councillor and ITFC Supporters Trust committee member Alasdair Ross.
While the Blues own Portman Road's stands and other buildings, IBC own the land on which they are built with Town having signed a lease on the 8½ acre site in August 2001, the term lasting 125 years from the start of a previous agreement in June 1969.
Town’s offer, believed to be in the region of £1 million, was, Clegg said, a long way from IBC’s valuation: “I don’t really want to go into figures, but we did make a substantial offer to the council earlier in the year and they felt that the offer didn’t value the ground in the same way that they did. It is fair to say that there was some considerable distance between us.”
Now, MP Gummer says he believes the council should cash in on the ground in order to buy waterfront land close to Stoke Bridge for redevelopment: “I don’t want to tell the council what they should or should not sell, but we know the football club is keen to buy the freehold of Portman Road,” he told the Ipswich Star.
However, Labour councillor Ross says there is little to be gained from the sale with the current arrangement protecting Town from the sort of situations which have occurred at other clubs where grounds have been sold for development, in the case of Brighton with no new stadium in place.
“I think it’s rather stupid and naïve,” he told TWTD. “There’s no need to sell the ground, it’s of no benefit to Mr Evans the way we are to buy the ground.
“And with the council owning it we know the ground is secure. If Mr Evans were to sell the club in the future while owning the ground, who would own it then? The current situation is protection against anyone trying to develop the ground in the future.”
Yes i agree nothing for the football club to gain,at this time anyway,by the club buying the ground. Mr Evans might well have the best interest of the club but who knows what the future might bring maybe a future new owner might not. Best to stay as we are me thinks!!
I would ask a very simple question of the posters above - have you really thought about this??? I don't think you have!!! The club is currently paying out silly money to a greedy council who have no say in the future of the club and are restricting any development our owner may or may not wish to undertake. Whatever your political views on Ben Gummer (which I respect) I believe he has the best interests of the club at heart. I believe that Marcus may well wish to move the stadium away from Portman Road if he owned the stadium but would this be a bad thing? A stadium out of the town centre could provide a much easier access for us fans....I find the current stadium a nightmare to get away from after games. I now live quite near to the ground but it can take anything up to an hour to get home which is ludicrous in what is a virtual gridlock week after week!!
A greedy council? Our rent is about £100k a year - hardly extortionate when compared with other clubs, and we are allowed free reign with it for corporate facilities to recoup money etc.
Moving out of town would be a disaster. Access isn't much easier, where would this car park be that can house 17,000 fans - more if we were to ever be promoted. Access is easier for a conference but not a football match! Why would you knock down a perfectly good stadium which has serious excess capacity?!
Think we are pretty safe in any event, I cannot believe residential developers will be clambering over each other to get their hands on this crappy old bit of Ipswich - they can't even shift the houses in half-decent areas - such as the waterfront, let alone the red light district.
I think it would be a good idea if the club owned the ground, if they could get it at a decent price. It might only be £100,000 at the moment but what is there stopping the council putting up the rent again in future, with all the cuts they are having to make, they may see putting up the rent a easy way of increasing there budget. In the long term there would be big savings to made. Most clubs own the land like the scum, Delia owns the hotels etc as well.
Q. Whats stopping the council putting the rent up?
A. The lease they entered into with ITFC, thats what. The rent will be reviewed in probably 5 or 10 year cycles, and there will be a review mechanism that guides what the new rent should be. This is likely to be in line with the market. Unless there is a link to RPI, I cant see the market taking the rent up in the near future.
The reasons behind Evans' ownership has never been that waterproof, so selling the ground to the man could potentially be a disaster. Gummer clearly just as out of touch on ITFC as he is everything else.
Thanks Alasdair Ross for speaking up on this issue. The history, traditions and future survival of the club are worth more to the community than just another quick buck for the developers. What a shame that the local parliamentary representative cannot stand up for his constituents on such an important issue.
A Conservative MP wanting to 'cash in' on something, what a surprise! NO, NO, NO! The Council owning the ground gives a security that an investor can't liquidate the club and sell the assets. We don't know what will happen in the future, so I'd much rather the ground remains in the ownership of Ipswich Borough Council for the people rather than be in the hands of the owner or future owner of ITFC for business interests.
I agree with Mullet, who is to say that Evans would not sell the ground for a profit. Take a look at his recent company profits, or lack of.....
At least with the IBC owning the ground, the club is safe for any future owners completely taking full control of the club. With an 85% stake at the moment, that is more than enough but at least he has not got full control of the land.