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Blue Sky Thinking
Written by Edmundo on Monday, 19th Mar 2018 20:26

For those of you in business the title may seem like a boardroom soundbite, but seeing as it looks increasingly like there will be change at Portman Road over the next few months, what do we want to see?

I've got a few ideas of my own, but would appreciate comments below so we can really see what fans are thinking, beyond the next manager name. As fans we get to think without boundaries, so let's do that, and see what we get.

Currently we have Mr Evans, a solitary, far-from-lifelong fan whose estimated billions are not moving anywhere in our direction. Yes, he got his fingers burned, yes he funds our debt and losses season on season, but since when were we ever a profit-making club?

In an ideal world, I'd like to see a fans' consortium buying out the club. Evans would make good on his promise not to seek to profit from the debt he took on (at a knock down price) and the consortium covers the club running costs with a modest war chest. I don't think that running our club with a billionaire pumping in millions will float for us, it hasn't in the past.

The combination of passive board members, really glorified yes-men, and I include Mr Milne in this, means that the board is both toothless and rudderless.

It is possible that a board made up of local businessmen from the consortium, with additional supporters' representation, but with the return of the CEO who has done well for us in the past, Derek Bowden, could keep our club closer to fans, whilst running a tight ship.

Bowden ran the club brilliantly through administration, and continued until being unceremoniously dumped by the Evans Group.

The least said about our first team management and coaching the better. Let's just say it's NOT the Ipswich way, meaning that our academy products are not fitting in with the club at a crucial time, leading to so many of them going out on loan (U23 is just not competitive). The academy IS doing well right up to U18 level, which is a thread of hope in these dark times.

However, youth along will not keep us in the division, let alone take us up. We do not have any 'Fergie Fledglings' or 'Busby Babes' type mass of talent, but we do have a solid core.

Recruitment needs to be savvy, just like that of Southampton over the past nine or 10 years. A structure like this, supported by both the board, academy leaders and first team management, with a style of play that matches that seen at U18 and U23 level would take us higher in the table, and possibly further.

A manager that supports this view is arguable as important as the coaching talent he or she brings along to the club.

Admittedly the wish list above is unrealistic, but let's just see - if we get even half of the change I would like to see.

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

monty_radio added 20:37 - Mar 19
A fan's consortium sounds like a way of gearing the club into a community-based strategy, but, even if Suffolk possessed such moneymen, it would be goodbye forever from emulating our illustrious past - at best an attractive L1 side with a fair home record.

RevAdrian added 21:12 - Mar 19
Monty...yes but/and think long...LONG sky indeed...we can think Wrexham and we can also think all those Bundesliga clubs and even might be a longer journey than I ever complete...but let us find..above all..let us recover...hope..hope...hopeople.

MBG added 07:41 - Mar 20
My model would be:
- member ownership as in Germany and Spain
- a board elected on the basis of one member one vote
- select quality executives for the day-to-day running of the club eg Derek Bowden was a great CEO
- boldness in the appointment of managers eg Alf Ramsay, Bobby Robson, George Burley
- return to our culture of risk-taking in building the team ie. recruitment of players from the lower leagues and smaller clubs from overseas and not being afraid to go for youth
In the long run we would be better off without ME or another private owner because the fans would feel more engaged and it would translate to bigger gates and commercial revenue.

kaptinkaos added 12:08 - Mar 20
My first visit to Portman Road was in 1976 and for the next season and until 2001 I had a season ticket, so you say I`ve seen some good and bad times. As far as the owner is concerned, well he may well have saved the club from oblivion, but, thinking back, I can remember a queue for cup tickets on a Sunday morning, and among others David Sheepshanks was serving coffee to those who wanted it. Similarly in a FA cup game at Morecambe (I think) Mr Sheepshanks stood with us in a shed behind a goal, and also on a bad night at Newcastle United he sat with us in the stands. Would Mr Evans or Mr Milne do any of that? I think not. Anyway - the club seems to have lost its way - and there must be some meaningful investment in decent quality players, not the dross that currently wear the shirt. There seems to be no creative spark whatsoever, nobody who can put his personality on a game, never mind take control and alter the course of a match. Too many players are, or seem to be, played out of position for whatever reason, and on paper we have good defensive players, and good attacking players, but they invariably get swamped, or starved of service, because in the main the midfield get bypassed or outplayed as there is no class, just mediocrity. Its true that Mick is never going to play an expansive game, as his gameplan has always been, to try to not lose a game, rather than to try to win a game, but considering what his restrictions are from above, I think he`s done one hell of a job, and people should be careful of what they wish for. A lot of names touted for the managers position wouldn`t entertain us because of the lack of investment, and probably class players will be reluctant for the same reason, and of course the fact that the wages aren`t anywhere to matching the top clubs. The universal reason fed to us about all of this is the FFP rules - well tell that to the players, and supporters of nearly everybody else in our division, as these in the main, attract top players, and pay an awful lot more than we do, so why does FFP apply to us and not those other clubs?
If things don`t change in some way, things will stagnate further, then when the crowds drop below the break even figures consistently, what will Mr Evans and his board do then? Walk away no doubt.
If any of his other companies were to perform as Town are presently performing, then somewhere heads would roll, things would happen, changes would be made. Mr Evans didn`t get where he is by watching the world go by, fiddling while Rome burns, so why is he allowing our club to slowly wither away?
It doesn`t require money being thrown around haphazardly, paying stupid money for players who don`t warrant it or to pay stupid wages to those who don`t deserve it, but improvements have got to be made, and seen to be made, before its all too late. I fear the worst.

Edmundo added 17:11 - Mar 20
Thanks Kaptinkaos, good points, which are born out by the experience of fans and former ITFC employees. An interesting article in Turnstile Blues highlights the hypocrisy the current regime exercises with regards to investment, or lack of:

bobble added 20:51 - Mar 20
a manager who wants the team to have fun and attack is all we need...

frantblue added 13:35 - Mar 21
Great blog and something I have been saying for many years we do have a business which is disconnected from it's income source from what should be it's supply source and the management is stagnant in both on and off the pitch affairs

The problem with a fan consortium is it would need £250m to buy and run the club with average attendances declining player cost rising even working on a shoestring. It would take a small miracle to keep the club going and move up the leagues

I am not a McCarthy fan in fact I would want him gone or moved to a director of football position which would probably be the most ideal there to guide a manager but also there to help get players in and keep the channels of communication he has with other clubs . But most importantly he would become a behind the scenes man not customers facing.

We do need a reboot and a reconnect with both our fan base and our youth set up.

Problem is I just can't see the current status and management doing this.


Edmundo added 19:40 - Mar 21
Thanks frantblue. I assume you think Evans would want to be paid off for the debt he inherited? That's not how he or his CEOs word it. However I guess a fans consortium would be a slap in the face and he'd want to stifle it by asking for more.

Edmundo added 19:41 - Mar 21
I would say 35-50 million would run the club well with a 5 year plan to get up with a young vibrant team

phil_itfc_brown added 07:08 - Mar 22
if a fans consortium came in then revenue would go up straight away due to gates, surely if we could get back up to 20,000+ per game it must balance the books or if not make a small profit? plus you may have to sell a couple of good players to make a profit each year, which is where you would hope youth of freebies would come in.. similar to whats happening now.. but.. what if another manager came in and again the fans werent happy and gates reduced again where would the money come from just to keep us afloat? although it isnt great i personally feel ME should stay and find a manager willing to play youth and attacking football on a tight budget.. who fits that bill??
Jim Magilton should have been given a longer time.. who knows where we would be now...

poringlandblue added 10:24 - Mar 22
edmundo, ive just read the piece on turnstileblue and to say im shocked is an understatement. in my eyes evans doesnt give a flying f--k about the club, as the blog says the foundations of MY club are being slowly eroded away and like any building it WILL collapse. removing personnel who support and care about the club, non footballing people installed to run things, money spent just to paper over the ever expanding cracks, although i think mccarthy and his brand of football should get the hell out of MY club i guess his hands have been tied re money to invest but that shouldnt try to stop him trying to play entertaining football. after 17 seasons or so going no where would dropping down a league and playing with youth and a forward thinking young manager be so bad, is watching peterborough any worse than barnsley. id rather see 11 home grown try and play exciting football in a lower league, win or lose than grind out boring results with zero entertainment, we are not going to get in to the premier league with loanees and grafters, during the hull game if someone had asked me if id fancy popping down to legends to wash all the glasses id of jumped at the chance. going back to the turnsileblue blog if enough like minded people could get together say 100, print off the blog 100 times and stand outside each turnstile and around the ground at the next home game, thats 10000 which should cover every one in the ground so they can read and really see whats slowly happening to their club and prehaps with that many expressing their disapproval change might happen, fans consortium, local businesses getting together i dont know but weve got to do something to get rid of evans.

frantblue added 09:29 - Mar 23
Yes I think he would want to be paid out ... This had never been an ownership from a love of the club but a business proposal which has gone drastically wrong for him in terms of generating income or a big payday


Edmundo added 21:46 - Mar 25
@Poringland blue. I understand that Turnstile Blues is a print fanzine, so must be distributed at the ground. However I do recall a time when the selling of fanzines outside the ground was frowned upon. The blog should be distributed so please contact the editor of TB to encourage it.
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