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Evans Speaks Out on Town
Evans Speaks Out on Town
Sunday, 15th Jan 2012 10:00

Blues owner Marcus Evans was interviewed in yesterday’s match programme about a number of current club issues, including the manager's position, the future of the Academy, the scouting network and his continued investment. Town have given TWTD permission to reproduce the piece in its entirety.

First of all Marcus, have you a message for the Town fans?

Yes, I'd like to say thank you to all our fans for their continued support throughout this season. I fully appreciate the harsh economic climate in which we currently live and the impact this has for many people on their decision to continue supporting Ipswich Town through the purchase of season or matchday tickets. The fans' continued support is hugely appreciated, especially as results have not gone as we would have hoped for this season. I can assure you that everybody at the Club is fully committed to developing an entertaining and winning formula that our fans can be proud of.

You mentioned the results have not gone as everyone would have hoped for so far. What are your reflections on the first half of the season?

As we stand at the moment, we're obviously in a disappointing position. There have been some highs but too many lows, as there seems to have been since I have been involved with the Club. We had that good run of games when we were unbeaten in six matches and I can remember us going into the home match against Crystal Palace where a 1-0 win would have seen us move into the top two in the Championship. We lost that game 1-0 instead and that awful run of seven successive defeats followed. It looked like number eight at Barnsley until the incredible turnaround at Oakwell gave us a glimpse of our early season form and what the team is capable of.

What lessons have you learnt from the first half of this season?

It's clear to me that creating a quick fix within any football club is extremely hard to achieve however deep the owner's pockets might be! The Championship this year is littered with clubs that would be regarded as underperformers, where high profile managers and significant investment levels have not resulted in performances on the pitch or in league positions that would have been expected.

We have done our best to put together a team this year that can challenge for promotion and while at the moment our focus is on moving away from the relegation zone, there is a huge commitment from the players and coaching staff to turn things around. I still expect the group to perform well over the rest of the season. That said, it is clear to me that producing a team that will consistently push for promotion and eventually join the Premier League, is about a long-term development programme.

What does that long-term development programme consist of?


Getting the right players in at the right price (if we can't produce them within our own Academy) that can take this Club to where we all want Ipswich Town to be. The coaching staff are focused on identifying young players that will take the Club forwards in the seasons ahead. That remains a priority, although it can be easier said than done. Paul and his coaching and scouting staff are constantly looking at players and travel around this country and abroad in the search for new talent. Talent like Aaron Cresswell, who has done so well for us since joining from Tranmere last summer.

We are looking to further develop our scouting network. We have done that already this season with new additions to the staff and we will continue to look to improve that area, as we do with every area of the Football Club. I'm in regular contact with Paul, we talk after virtually every game and he's told me that he's made mistakes this season in terms of the balance of the squad and the number of older players we have here. Mistakes are part and parcel of life. It's how we go about rectifying them and moving forward that counts.

How does your relationship with the manager work and do you believe that Paul Jewell is still the man to take Ipswich Town forward?

I have a good relationship with Paul. We meet regularly and talk even more frequently. He's a good man and a good manager and has proved that with what he has achieved in the game. Paul will be the first to admit that results have not gone as we would have hoped for but no one is working harder to get us going in the right direction.

I have seen how much it hurts him when we lose a game. It hurts me, it hurts Simon [Clegg], it hurts the supporters, it hurts the players but it doesn't hurt anyone more than it hurts the manager. Of course we would love to be pushing for promotion this season and there are still 21 games to play and 63 points to play for but as I said earlier there is no quick fix in football.

I have spoken to Paul about my plans here, to build a team that can reach and then compete at the highest level. To achieve that we need stability and so long as our manager and coaching team demonstrate the knowledge and clear ability to take us forward, I see little point in restarting the project every season by switching managers. The reasons I appointed Paul are just as strong today as they were a year ago and I believe given time and with my continued support he will return the good times to Ipswich Town Football Club.

You have invested heavily in the squad since you first walked through the door at Portman Road four years ago. Will that continue?

Yes. We are in the middle of another transfer window and as in every window, we will look at opportunities to improve the squad. That will continue to be our strategy. As and when the manager has a player who he believes fits the profile and that he wishes to be part of the team that he is looking to develop, I will always look to support him in bringing that player to the Club. That has always been the case and will remain so.

The Academy at Ipswich Town is highly regarded in the football world but with a new tier system set to be introduced, what are your plans for the youth development at the Club?

The Club is spending more money on the Academy than at any time in its recent history and certainly more than before I arrived here. This spend will continue. The manager and Academy team have a clear brief to develop first-team players and this tradition will continue. The current rules regarding Category One and Category Two are unclear, however if it's financially viable we will apply for category one status.

Many figures are being bandied around, however until the Club can ascertain the exact cost, I can't say whether we will invest in Category One or Two. We will look at all the facts and when we are in a position to make an informed decision as to what is the best way forward for us at Academy level, we will make our supporters aware of the decision and the reasons why we have come to that conclusion.

There are also new guidelines being drawn up regarding financial `fair play'. How will that impact on you and the future of Ipswich Town?

It's difficult to say at the moment because like the Academy category system, there are many areas that we are awaiting clarification on. The one thing I can confirm though is that I will continue to invest in Ipswich Town.

So the disappointments of recent times have not affected your desire to take Ipswich Town into the Premier League?

Absolutely not. I am as determined as I was when I first became involved with the Club, in fact even more so, to see Ipswich Town playing Premier League football. I said when I first became a `Blue' that I was in this for the long term and nothing has changed.

How does running a football club compare to running your other businesses?

I don't go around punching the air in my normal day-to-day job! Or hold my head in my hands, well, not that regularly anyway! It's a game of emotions, of highs and lows, and we've had plenty of them this season. It grips you though. For 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon, it's all that I'm focussed on.

Although I'm the owner, I have two very able people running the Club. Paul takes care of the football while Simon oversees the off-field side and I have every confidence in both of them. They are good, knowledgeable people, doing their best, working their hardest to take this Club forward.

Finally Marcus, will you continue to stay in the background at Portman Road?

If you mean doing interviews and the like, yes. I might not be based at the Club but I'm in regular contact with Simon and Paul and I'm very much involved in the decision-making in all aspects of the Club. It doesn't mean I am any less determined to make this club a successful one. I am and I'm convinced we will be.


Photo: Action Images



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



pazelle added 10:04 - Jan 15
Oh well, it's your money chief.
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Marcus added 10:05 - Jan 15
Where's the photo?
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BiGDonnie added 10:06 - Jan 15
100% we'll go for category two.
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Pettitt10 added 10:07 - Jan 15
Seems keen
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ITFC_Essex added 10:08 - Jan 15
Insert usual nonsense here replies. Useless owner.
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Blue_Dwarf added 10:11 - Jan 15
Half our problem is that Jewell doesn't even relocate his family down here and Evans isn't based in the local community... Its this distance and lack of commitment that doesn't help matters.

Maybe Evans should run for Prime Minister such is the 'spin'... Or try out for the England cricket team, however cricket isn't an olympic sport.
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dundeebloo added 10:22 - Jan 15
Message to the idiots posting rubbish WITHOUT HIS MONEY WE WOULD BE A LOT LOWER THAN WHERE WE ARE NOW WITH
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john_itfc added 10:23 - Jan 15
Well to be honest how can we say a bad word against that (and i know some of you might try)

We are extremely fortunate to have a wealthy benefactor who is turning into a fan and is every bit committed to manager and staff.

How many clubs in the Top Two divisions can honestly say that have that relationship with their owner.
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ozzydog added 10:27 - Jan 15
Since his arrival so much money spent, so much damage done, it`s hard to take him seriously
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rosseden added 10:32 - Jan 15
We could have a 'football' person as some people would prefer. I'll take ME over a risdale,bates or mandaric any day of the week . . . . .
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AndrewPC added 10:47 - Jan 15
I find Marcus Evans' commentst in this interview both reasonable and encouraging. It is clear that he brings good business sense to the ownership of the Club. He gives responsibility to those where it is due: his manager and his Chief Executive. While also giving them his full public support. He understands that 'Rome wasn't built in a day'; just as, I am sure, hisown business empire wasn't. so it is 95% perspiration and only 5% inspiration if you want to accomplish anything in the professional world. Conclusion: as a fan lets keep the criticism rational and fair. Lets keep the faith with the management team. Let's assess the team performances from where we are, not where we dream to be.
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PauloJulio added 11:09 - Jan 15
Its not through lack of funds that we are in this position it is because of poor decisions regarding the managers position and transfer dealings and somewhat due to ME/SC inexperience of footballing matters. I also hope they realise by now that by changing manager every season doesnt promote stability and that they must have a long term solution and not a short term fix. I hate to say this but we need to take a leaf out of Norwich's book because 2 promotions in 2 seasons and doing well in the premiership is a great achievement by anyone's standards.
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Marshalls_Mullet added 11:27 - Jan 15
Talks a good game, lets see some results on the pitch and some transfers that indicate long term planning.

Interesting that he admits that he was originally looking at a quick fix.
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Che added 11:27 - Jan 15
Sounded like a pre election interview between cameron and Andrew Marr.
Feeding the masses a load of bull.
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Mark added 11:48 - Jan 15
"if it's financially viable we will apply for category one status."

That does sound a little bit positive, and I am glad Evans is hanging in there.

I would have liked to ask "the club spent £3.1M of your money on McAuley and Norris and they were allowed to walk out of the door for free at the end of their contracts, how did that feel?" "Will the same be allowed to happen with £2.7M Leadbitter?"
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mwp added 12:00 - Jan 15
Usual public utterances from a business figure who knows the downside of honesty is greater than the upside.

I guess his time with keane doesn't hold fond memories for the young talent he allowed to go, that he's now trying to promote.

Clearly he doesn't want the frustration of swapping managers every 2 years, however it will be interesting to see what happens at the end of the season if we are still struggling. Evans can't surely stick with a manager who has confessed this weekend to being unable to train and pick a defence.

In the end he's right, nobody wants to lose, but emotion counts for nothing - results do and they are far easier to measure.
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patrickswell added 12:05 - Jan 15
Interesting read, particularly the realisation that promotion isn't a quick fix, something that he seems to have realised about a year after the supporters did.

Fair points on the Academy and we can't blame them if they want to wait till they have all the information at their hands before making a decision. I just hope they realise that we sold an academy product for big money in the summer and it may well be products of our academy that play a role in keeping us up this season (Hyam, Carson, Smith etc).
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piersmorganisatool added 12:28 - Jan 15
mmm, after reading it Mr Evans i have to give you a C minus. it was utter spin, you must try harder next time and actually have point to your piece. us fans are really reaching deep to continue with our support of you the club and the players, unfortunately you, the club and the players are not responding in the manner we expect. loved your quote about not holding your head in your hands in your day to day business dealings, maybe you should watch every game? your hands and your head would become much more familiar. yesterday was a vast improvement for a while, we all have a long way to go yet and that includes you!
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righty added 12:36 - Jan 15
Evans leave our club now no football knowledge and take Clegg and Jewell with you absolute garbage just get on with the olympics thats what you want NO interest in ITFC
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jas0999 added 12:46 - Jan 15
Fair enough that ME is looking towards a long-term plan. BUT the appointment of PJ completely contridcits this. PJ was brought in because of his apparent ability to get teams promoted. Sadly, this was in excess of 10 years ago and in recent years he has been a manager who has delievered poor results at both Derby County and now ITFC. In addition - PJ tried to fix the problem quickly - by signing has been injury prone freebies and loans. He is still signing loanees. The problem, is come next Summer we will be back to square one, after a season which has seen us go backwards. The loans will go (have gone), out of contract players will leave and PJ's signings (some already paid off) will also filter away. We won't have a 1/4 of a team left. This is PJ's fault.

If ME wanted to follow a long-term plan, it would have been better to bring in a young hungry manager, giving him the support and the time to succeed. The majority of supporters would have accepted this. ME didn't - he brought in PJ - who has in a large number of fans opinions - done a really poor job. PJ is not the future of this club - as 2 wins in 15 demonstrates.

Further more, fans are desserting PR in their droves. I accept this is due to several seasons of under achieveing, but people I am talking to are telling me they completely disagree with Paul Jewell and more so the utter nonescenece spouted by Clegg and Evans about him. Do the club think we are idiots? It is clear NO progress has been made under PJ and results are worse than awful. His inability and obviius failure to address the defence is frankly criminal and a key factor why we are doing poorly. His record at Derby should have told Evans to give him a wide berth.

Season ticket renewal time will prove interesting. I fear it will be bad news for ME IF PJ is still at the club. After many years of supporting ITFC, I will of course to continue to do so - but at a far. Before we get the usual cry of 'you are not a real fan' please just listen. With the cost of my season ticket included (split over 23 games) - it costs me around £70.00 to attend every single home game (which I do). That's £1,610.00 per year (exclduing cup and friendlies). My salary is frozen, yet my costs continue to rise. regardless of who the manager is, I always find it hard to justify that outlay. however, as I enjoy my football and want to support my team I do so - sacrificing other areas in life. Sadly, I do not believe in Paul Jewell, nor the attitude of this football club. I simply despair at the results, the signings and the lack of ability signing the right players. PJ is not entirely to blame as it is clear the owner is deluded, whilst Clegg is well - what can you say? To tell us PJ is doing a good job is unreal. Therefore, and with regret I can not justify spending over £1,600 on something which I truely do not believe in. I understand this is a personal view and frankly it makes me sad. But if Paul Jewell is manager of this club when season ticket renewals are issued - I will not be going.
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alfromcol added 13:10 - Jan 15
Pretty reasonable I thought. I would be surprised if he doesn't suffer the same anguish as we all do after poor performances and results. After all he has more to lose.
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alfromcol added 13:26 - Jan 15
jas0999

You obviously have an expensive trip to get to PR?

I am not sure many individuals would want to spend £70 per match to watch Championship football.
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Hanwood added 13:31 - Jan 15
I like him, mistakes have been made obviously but this has got to be a medium to long term project.
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petermorris added 13:34 - Jan 15
Bye then jas...
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DidcotBlue added 13:45 - Jan 15
I am not one to sound off on here but without Mr.Evans and his investment we would be in the poo! looks like Mr Jewell has his support so we have to get on with it
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