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They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Written by Theipswich on Saturday, 13th Feb 2021 08:50

Given the circumstances in which we supporters find ourselves at our lowest point in 64 years and with a level of communication befitting Lord Lucan, I have penned an open letter to our president Marcus Evans, as I am certain I would not have the courtesy of a reply if I were to write to the club:

Dear Mr Evans

It is with a heavy heart and particular sadness that I feel compelled to write to you in this manner but like thousands of Town supporters I can see it is quite clear that we are in terminal decline and you above all are not only doing nothing to arrest this slide but your means of communication to us, the long suffering supporters who pay the wages of the players and support through thick and thin this once estimable club, leaves much to be desired.

The common feeling amongst the fans is that you are not only lacking the emotional empathy which previous incumbents like the Cobbolds and Mr Sheepshanks had with the club and its fans but you are clearly not cut out for the football sector.

No doubt you have proved your mettle in the world of business but frankly speaking your management of Ipswich Town FC since 2007 has been nothing short of a disaster.

We were always a club that punched above its weight and remained protagonists over the years and were indeed held up as a model of good housekeeping, wise investments in our youth policy and a steadfast belief in the Ipswich way.

This has totally disappeared in the years you have been in charge and your handling has seen us slip into a mediocre run of the mill League One club going absolutely nowhere.

You have never invested seriously in the club after the initial splurge in 2009 and since then you have always reminded us of how you are keeping the club afloat. You forget that a club like Ipswich has always had a particularly strong attachment to it fan base and its legacy is built on that and being able to challenge despite its size and limitations but the club always came out on top.

The club needs to be a fighter and a challenger, under you we have become a lost cause, a club adrift in a sea of mediocrity and blandness and you have never shown an emotional link to our heritage and great traditions.

There was a time when we were many people's favourite second team. Now we are held up as a club that has been left behind in modern football and is sinking fast: you are renowned as a penny-pincher with no vision for the club, your managerial appointments have been by and large a complete flop and your means of communication with the most important asset of the club, the fans, a PR joke.

We have witnessed the embarrassing spectacle of an enormous PR fiasco with the club banning die hard supporter and journalist Phil Ham, presumably because you are afraid to stand up to our manager and tell him that he has bungled. This never would have happened in previous epochs.

In our present state, we are looking more likely to continue our slide down the division let alone looking to return at least to the Championship, we have a cup record that is shocking and our reputation for playing attractive football belongs to a bygone era.

You seem totally incapable of speaking and dealing directly with the supporters and by all accounts the set-up within the club is a nightmare. Maybe you should take a leaf out of our neighbours' up the road where no expense will be spared to get back into the Premiership.

Ipswich Town under your management face only a bleak future and personally I think the game is up. We are not going anywhere with you and we will not go anywhere other than the League Two.

We are witnessing the total break-up of our once great club. I would have expected you to make a public statement in these last few weeks where Town supporters are continually asking questions on the direction we are going and yet from you nothing, not even a whimper.

Your time is up and I would urge you to sell up before we fall further. I do believe we would be better off without you and seemingly million of pounds in debt, but at least with an owner that can harness the great tradition of Ipswich and its fan base and show passion and desire and a will to get us to arrest this decline under you.

I have been a supporter for almost 50 years and take it from me, this is the lowest moment in the club's history and you have presided over it. in normal circumstances, our manager would have been sacked 12 months ago and yet he was rewarded with a ludicrous five year contract, at precisely the moment we were slipping under him and signs were beginning to crack open about his style of management.

It refutes the idea that you are a great businessman and confirms my opinion that you are the wrong president to take us forward, it is time to go and go now.

In many ways, my mind goes back to 16 May 2015 when we had the play-off at Portman Road and for the first time in years the stadium was rocking. This should have been the Damascene moment that made you realise the enormous potential inherent at Portman Road but you blew it totally.

An owner with a vision would have used it as a fillip to build upon and garner new incentives but instead of investing in our future, you took the decision to continue shopping in bargain basements, the result of your long-term strategy is all around us.

Do the honourable thing and go. If you feel however you still have something to offer then take the situation in hand and engage with the fans and invest, invest, invest and communicate with us but communicate with passion and fervour and not with your yearly pre-prepared missives which sound like you're reading from a company balance sheet.

Show the supporters that you aspire to something more and not repeat worn out comments about still believing the situation can be turned around.

If you can't then sell up and leave by the side door as quickly as possible because this great institution which touches so many lives deserves much, much more and the feeling is that you are not the person to deliver it.




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Blue_Meanie added 09:30 - Feb 13
Superb, my thoughts entirely. Unfortunately not as eloquent as yourself 🤣
4

Nthsuffolkblue added 10:20 - Feb 13
Minor point but he is owner and not president of the club.

I don't believe we currently have a president of the club do we? Lady Blanche Cobbold and Bobby Robson were honorary presidents I believe.

Some good points but I don't think Marcus Evans is going to take a lot of notice of what the fans think, aside from the financial hit when we stop going.
3

BurgessBlue added 10:32 - Feb 13
Excellent article but will anyone be interested in buying a Div1 club with £100 million debt ?
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north_stand77 added 10:36 - Feb 13
Thank you.
I've been going to games for 53 years and supported the club financially and vocally all that time and am deeply saddened by what's happened to our club.
Please consider the excellent points made here Mr Evans before it becomes a completely lost cause.
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clivebleedingthomas added 13:40 - Feb 13
Well said. My first match was in 1952, so I have watched Town through a variety of ups and downs. The current situation is the lowest point of all and unless Evans changes his attitude and his actions further falls are beckoning.
He needs to decide: to allow the degeneration of our beloved club to continue; to walk away; to have a total change in the way he sees his stewardship of the club and lead a recovery.
I just hope that he bothers to listen to the fans and remember we are the people who are not only the beating heart of our club, but also the people upon whom the manager, players, employees and owner, rely for financial support. We are also the ones who will travel hundreds of miles each match day to give our support and for whom our club is an integral part of our lives.
Please listen to us!
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Billericay12 added 14:36 - Feb 13
Agree with most of that. We all wish that a Billionaire die hard Ipswich supporter would take over and plunder endless millions into the club to take us back to the Premier league in a couple of seasons but I doubt there are many queuing up to do so.
In the absence of the above what is the answer ?
I am not one for changing managers every 5 minutes and I have not posted any Lambert out comments on here before but I do think we need a clear out from the manager down. All of the management and senior pros that have any influence over our style of play, the younger players in the team, training and atmosphere within the squad need to go. We need new management, new captain and then get a couple of new senior pros in to create a fresh mentality and approach. There needs to be some investment too which will be possible now the salary cap has been scrapped.

1

fifeblue added 16:25 - Feb 13
And this poor, somewhat rambling, open letter has what purpose, exactly?

It is really not very good. Do you honestly expect it to be taken seriously when, rather than appealing to Marcus Evans in a reasonable way, all you have actually done is fire insults at him ?

-7

ChrisR added 16:42 - Feb 13
I bet M E blames the supporters who pushed MM out , not himself for the disaster picks of Hurst and PL . ITFC is crumbling around us , neither he , PL or many of the players could care less . Only outside chance we may have is Terry B who would have the passion , but then again his overall record as manager is not that great .
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oldegold added 19:36 - Feb 13
fifeblue...evidently you haven't understood the purpose of the letter and it is far from rambling, it is eloquently composed and clearly heartfelt and its message is clear.Poor ? In what sense...when it addresses the inherent problems within the club and presenting Evans with a stark choice as a long suffering supporter.The writer doesn't insult but lay bare the poverty of Evans' reign and clearly he has had enough.Presumably you are happy to settle for this mediocrity.
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fifeblue added 22:52 - Feb 13
oldegold
I have been a fan, and supporter, of Ipswich Town since before the first match I attended in March 1967. I am as depressed about the current standing of the club as any other. But I am also a realist.

Imagine being the recipient or subject of the letter. Do you honestly believe that the following would be considered anything other than insults?

“you are clearly not cut out for the football sector” – regardless of what you think of Marcus Evans’ management of the club, he has prevented it from disappearing completely.

“your management of Ipswich Town FC since 2007 has been nothing short of a disaster” – A disaster in what respect?

“you are renowned as a penny-pincher with no vision for the club” – how do you know? He is a businessman and has kept the club going financially.

“You seem totally incapable of speaking and dealing directly with the supporters and by all accounts the set-up within the club is a nightmare.” – what do you know of the set up within the club?

“Ipswich Town under your management face only a bleak future and personally I think the game is up. We are not going anywhere with you and we will not go anywhere other than the League Two.” – speaks a fan!

“It refutes the idea that you are a great businessman” – you have contradicted your own third paragraph.

“you blew it totally” – Exaggeration. Ask fans of Bury FC.

“we are in terminal decline” – Are we? Really? So you expect the club to disappear completely under the management of Marcus Evans?

“you above all are not only doing nothing to arrest this slide” – Nothing?

“supporters who pay the wages of the players” – you think the gate money pays for the outgoings in players’ wages?

“our youth policy … has totally disappeared in the years you have been in charge” – a ridiculous statement. Count the number of former Town-developed players playing elsewhere and the interest in the current young players. This is a petty criticism.

“You have never invested seriously in the club” – except keeping it in existence!

“Maybe you should take a leaf out of our neighbours' up the road where no expense will be spared to get back into the Premiership.” – Norwich have a relatively modest level of investment in new players compared to most clubs who have run into trouble trying to buy their way into the Premier League, Premiership or whatever it is called these days.

“Your time is up and I would urge you to sell up before we fall further.” – I think you will find that Marcus Evans has said before that he would give way to another investor who would be willing, and able, to take on the club. Sell up? To whom?

“If you feel however you still have something to offer then …” – so do you you want him to go or not?

“If you can't then sell up and leave by the side door as quickly as possible because …” – and leave the club to disappear without the ability to stay afloat without financial backing? Great idea!

“your means of communication with the most important asset of the club, the fans, a PR joke” – how many more times are you going to repeat yourself?

“I do believe we would be better off without you and seemingly million of pounds in debt” – if you believe this then you, and anyone who agrees with you, are idiots.


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oldegold added 01:21 - Feb 14
fifeblue....
regardless of what you think of Marcus Evans’ management of the club, he has prevented it from disappearing completely.I - don't think the agenda of the owner is to prevent anything other than forging ahead with vision. Under Evans in 14 years we have gone backwards : from a club that wold be challenging for promotion to a club that is sliding towards oblivion and possibly the 2nd division..that was not his mandate when he bought the club to stop it from " disappearing "

“your management of Ipswich Town FC since 2007 has been nothing short of a disaster” – A disaster in what respect? - Read my previous comment. In all the years he has presided, we have become an also ran club with no ambition and agenda under Evans' helm. The regression in these 14 years speaks for itself.

“you are renowned as a penny-pincher with no vision for the club” – how do you know? He is a businessman and has kept the club going financially. - All owners keep clubs going financially but that was not his remit when he took over and yet we have only witnessed a slow, painful decline.He has never substantially invested in the club since Keane took over in April 2009 and that summer Leadbitter and Edwards were bought. All managers since then have had to put up Evans' parsimony.

“You seem totally incapable of speaking and dealing directly with the supporters and by all accounts the set-up within the club is a nightmare.” – what do you know of the set up within the club? - Based on sound authority and voices expressed by people in the know, the set up in the club's management and organisational structure is a goddawful mess and is leaking water everywhere.

“Ipswich Town under your management face only a bleak future and personally I think the game is up. We are not going anywhere with you and we will not go anywhere other than the League Two.” – speaks a fan! - We are all fans...and entitled to their opinion..respect that.If you think otherwise, you are very much in the minority and should know better if you have been supporting for 54 years

“It refutes the idea that you are a great businessman” – you have contradicted your own third paragraph. - No contradiction...re-read the article again. It infers he has a reputation as a sound businessman, it is not the writer who is saying he is a great businessman.

“you blew it totally” – Exaggeration. Ask fans of Bury FC. - No need to ask Gigg Lane fans. Ask Ipswich Town fans..apparently something like 83% disapprove of Evans' handling and want him gone.

“we are in terminal decline” – Are we? Really? So you expect the club to disappear completely under the management of Marcus Evans? - Under Evans, like the vast majority of what fans feel, the club is in freefall and not a patch on the club we once were. There is a risk that the club could disappear into the doldrums if the present malaise is allowed to continue most certainly.

“you above all are not only doing nothing to arrest this slide” – Nothing? - What has he done to arrest this decline...I see no tangible evidence to corroborate. Yes, he keeps the club going but go back to the first point. There is no vision. He has not made a public statement in the last weeks where the fans' ire has been potent with our slide down the table and criticism of Lambert at a crescendo.

“supporters who pay the wages of the players” – you think the gate money pays for the outgoings in players’ wages? - The fans' money goes a long way to supporting the club and helping it pays its way. We contribute financially and fiscally to Town.

“our youth policy … has totally disappeared in the years you have been in charge” – a ridiculous statement. Count the number of former Town-developed players playing elsewhere and the interest in the current young players. This is a petty criticism. - Not petty criticism but a statement of fact. The club has played youngsters this season but since 2007 the investment by Evans has been only sufficient to keep it afloat but nothing more as shown by our category placing, our youth network which was once the envy of the country, has been trumped time and time again by our rivals in Norfolk.

“You have never invested seriously in the club” – except keeping it in existence! - Re-read the first point above. So Evans bought the club to " keep it in existence?
? I think Town fans expect a lot more..or at least did before giving up on Evans.

“Maybe you should take a leaf out of our neighbours' up the road where no expense will be spared to get back into the Premiership.” – Norwich have a relatively modest level of investment in new players compared to most clubs who have run into trouble trying to buy their way into the Premier League, Premiership or whatever it is called these days. - Norwich have been the role model of what can be achieved with an autocratic board sharing a vision and road map and prepared to put their belief in the vision with sound housekeeping but prepared to risk to allow their ambitions come true. The opposite to what we have at the moment with Evans.

“Your time is up and I would urge you to sell up before we fall further.” – I think you will find that Marcus Evans has said before that he would give way to another investor who would be willing, and able, to take on the club. Sell up? To whom? - Clearly it is not easy to find a buyer for a club that has been run into the ground..we are all aware of that and everyone has their price but as it would appear clear that Evans has lost interest then a statement to the effect that he will sell at least would stir the souls of the faithful and give some hope rather than be committed to this drudgery and decline.

“If you feel however you still have something to offer then …” – so do you you want him to go or not? -If you bother to re-read the article attentively, I think TheIpswich makes his position clear.

“If you can't then sell up and leave by the side door as quickly as possible because …” – and leave the club to disappear without the ability to stay afloat without financial backing? Great idea! - Make a concerted effort to find a buyer, The asking price and value will have dropped given his mismanagement of the last 14 years..it is not impossible. The clubs heritage and patrimony amount to something. Presumably he will have to accept a loss but a parting of the ways is what is called for.

“your means of communication with the most important asset of the club, the fans, a PR joke” – how many more times are you going to repeat yourself? - The writer is not repeating himself but making the point, if you bother to read the article attentively, that his PR skills and communicative empathy with the fans is completely lacking.

“I do believe we would be better off without you and seemingly million of pounds in debt” – if you believe this then you, and anyone who agrees with you, are idiots.
- Avoid using offensive titles fifeblue...it seems that you are the only one who disagrees with TheIpswich's sentiments here so you're in the minority so does that make us idiots if we don't agree with you ? No, of course as we are expressing our opinions without insulting like you.Showed your true class in the end.

2

fifeblue added 11:35 - Feb 14
oldegold

You have offered nothing to counteract my statements.

My final statment was not meant to insult other fans but merely to state the obvious. It is idiotic to believe that the club would be allowed to continue with the level of debt if Marcus Evans were to simply up and leave. It's a ridiculous notion.

I am as disappointed as any fan and supporter at the club's current predicament but wishful thinking alone will not bring about any positive change. It is blindingly obvious that things are not going according to ambition, vision, plan and the like. But simply hurling unsubstantiated insults - call it criticism if you wish - without offering the slightest realistic alternative is a waste of time. Everyone, including the owner, knows the club is not where it wants to be but to suggest that it is being led into oblivion is nonsense.

There are lots of things that remain truly great about Ipswich Town and one of them is that, despite its current position, it still has tens of thousands of fans and supporters, which is more than can be said of lots of clubs in the Championship and even the Premier League. I very much doubt that even Norwich City - an excellent club - could boast the number of fans UK and World-wide that Ipswich Town has.

The club will survive and it will prosper but we live in different times compared to the days of management by Alf Ramsey, Bobby Robson, or even George Burley.

Whatever your views, never give up. And stop this defeatist talk.


0

Edmundo added 14:55 - Feb 14
Please send this letter to the EADT, and please also to the Directors. Those guys can provide power to effect change: if they can't then what the hell are they there for?
1

StavangerBlue added 13:50 - Feb 15
With all this arguing on the thread you cannot ignore the following:

1. The club has been badly run since ME took over. The evidence is that due to some poor decisions (removing Magilton and appointing Roy Keane was the first IMHO) the club has slipped down the tables and is now at it's lowest level for 60 years.

2. Financially we have never been worse off. Financial statement from last year proved that. With COVID etc I would now guess a debt of around 120m.

3. The club has no effective plan to build talent or attract it. We cannot attract or "buy" talent so we loan it in. Even when this has been stated as "not the preferred option" the club is forced to do it as let's face it we cannot attract a young upcoming prospect. Part of this is that Premier teams buy up players, on the off-chance they will be a great prospect, and are prepared to loan them out to develop them. However, how we manage our own talent (Bishop, Dozzell, etc) leaves me guessing at times.

4. PR. ITFC are in a black hole of press coverage. The national press could not care less so the only press who cover the club are local press. It is easy to criticise and often difficult to praise especially when you are in League 1 and playing Accrington and losing. Recent TV appearances have been appalling in terms of footballing quality and Ipswich are the team that usually loses. The result is a lot of negative feedback. Any PR from the club is like any business, trying to put a positive spin on news, even the worse mishap presents possibilities. Ipswich's press in recent years has been local press plus the new podcast/video channels. This is fan-based and is an echo chamber of the general feeling which changes at every result. If we lose it is doom and gloom, if we win it's sunshine and flowers. The club's primary role is to play football not to create news content for the press. Is that the club's fault?

5. The club has no strategy. Is it to buy a team? No. Is it to develop a team? Not really, Dozzell has been tagged Superman for the past few years but is not consistent. One good pass does not make a game. It seems it is the same plan MM had. Do the best with the players you have and get a few loan players to help; the only problem is that using loan players only improves other teams, not our own. We also only consider buying low-cost players but they have proved to be less able than the players they have replaced. Nolan and Jackson for example. Resulting in the drop into League One.

I understand peoples frustrations but I do not see things will improve until the debt is gone - regardless of who the owner is. This year, we will finish midtable at best. We are not good enough to beat the top teams. We finished 11th last year (unfairly so in my opinion) so a finish higher than 11th would indicate an improvement. My worry is that a finish lower than 11th will be an indicator of the club continuing its decline towards League Two.
1

RegencyBlue added 20:03 - Feb 15
Eloquently put but ultimately the only thing that will get Evans attention is when season ticket holders refuse to renew in their thousands.

Unless that happens we are stuck with one of the most inept owners in football and Division 4 beckons sooner rather than later!
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