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Milne: New Sponsorship Will Bolster Funding
Thursday, 11th Jan 2018 15:22

Managing director Ian Milne says Town’s new £2 million sponsorship from online gaming operator Magical Vegas will go into the club pot and will help “bolster the funding” of new additions to the squad.

The Blues announced the new three-and-a-half-year deal earlier today ending a decade of sponsorship from owner Marcus Evans’s own company.

“It’s a very good investment,” Milne said. “It all goes into the club pot. It helps with Marcus’s investment in the club, so it’s not going anywhere else this money.

“We’re pleased to be with Magical Vegas and I think it’s the right step to make at this time.

“Marcus is happy to move on, he’s achieved his aim with having the Marcus Evans name on the front of shirts, that’s helped the group nationally and internationally get their name around.

“The Marcus Evans group is very much a business to business type of operation and it was a great opportunity to get the name out in that way.

“He clearly felt the time is right to branch out and to see what other possibilities there were for shirt sponsorship and it brings in money.

“Marcus was paying money to the club anyway with regard to his sponsorship but this gives alternative sourcing of club funds.”

Town made a £4.3 million pre-tax loss in the year to June 2017 - and an operating loss of £7.8 million - with owner Evans covering the shortfall.

“Marcus’s investment continues to creep up every year," Milne added. "I appreciate that fans would love to see a lot more money, but we have a very strict financial budget.

“He’s been continuously investing in the club in the past 10 years, now into an 11th season, and his interest has not waned at all.

“Even today we’ve been working on the February reviews and the detailed reviews that he enjoys getting involved with, not just with the club itself but also the academy. He continues to be very interested in the club.”

Milne says fans shouldn’t take the disappearance of the Marcus Evans name from shirts as an indication that the Blues owner is looking to move on.

“This is another source of income and it’s the logical move on from using it for the benefit of the Marcus Evans group to another third party benefit and it also helps on the funding,” he continued.

With the January transfer window currently open, supporters will inevitably hope that manager Mick McCarthy will get to spend some of the new money coming into the club.

“I’m sure this eases any of these discussions that continue, not least within in the transfer window,” Milne responded.

“That will help in those discussions about potential players they’re looking to bring in, either as acquisitions or on a loan basis. Even if it’s a loan one there are some huge salaries out there that have to be paid and, of course, this helps to bolster the funding of new people coming in.

“Are there any new additions close? I’m not aware of anything at the moment. I know they continue talking about things.”

Similarly fans will be looking for the club to tie down players who are out of contract at the end of the season.

“That will most certainly helps with those players,” the MD added. “There’s always a negotiation with any contract, so the extra funding must alleviate some of those issues going forward.”

Milne says the club’s Playford Road youth set-up is also an area which is likely to benefit: “The academy always needs money. As we all know, Marcus is very, very fond of the academy, he loves spending time down here when he can.

“I think he spends even more time on the academy in business reviews than he does on the club part of the business because he really enjoys talking about what’s going on. That and scouting new recruits.”

Regarding criticism of the club linking up with a gambling business, he said: “Naturally we’ve got to take these things very responsibly, betting is lawful. Behind Magical Vegas owners Daub are Stride Gaming, they’re a PLC on the AIM exchange, they’re a responsible gambling company and that was very important for us and we felt this was the right move to make.

“Naturally, like everybody else, we want to make sure people carry out their gambling responsibly.”

Director of sales Rosie Richardson, added: “We have our own lottery, we’ve got the Blues Foundation lottery and we’ve got our matchday draw as well, so we promote responsible gambling in those areas of the business anyway.

“If you look at all of the Championship and the Premier League clubs and the league sponsor where the EFL is concerned, they’ve had SkyBet on board for a number of seasons and a lot of the clubs have now got some kind of sponsorship where gambling or online gambling platforms are concerned.”

Town have long been on the lookout for a stadium sponsor - Portman Road almost became the TXU Stadium more a decade and a half ago - and Milne says the club would still welcome a company taking on that role.

“Oh yes, absolutely,” he said. “We get approached from time to time about sponsorship. For most clubs there hasn’t been a big market out there but fortunately when this came up these people were very keen to get involved with us as well as one or two other sponsors and maybe the timing was absolutely right for both parties to start this new endeavour.”

Director of sales Richardson says the deal has been under discussion for a number of months.

“I began the project in the autumn,” she said. “October time was when I first started to look at who was potentially out there, so I’m delighted that at the start of this year we’re able to announce we’ve got a new front of shirt sponsor.

“It’s the away shirts for the remainder of this season and then the front of shirt for the home, away and third kit clash kit for the subsequent three seasons.

“There were other candidates but this brand, Magical Vegas, from the initial discussions and meetings I had was certainly a company that I wanted to work with and the football club wanted to work with.

“Up to this point they’ve been an absolute pleasure and I’m looking forward to further developing the relationship.”

Richardson says that the £2 million figure could increase if the Blues win promotion: “It will be more in the event of promotion to the Premier League. Certainly across the three and a half years in the Championship it’s nearly £2 million and if we get promoted then there’s lots more incremental revenue afoot.”

Fans who have bought the current away shirt, which unlike the home kit will bear the new sponsor’s logo for the remainder of this season, will be entitled to have to have the new name replace the old one.

“Supporters have got the opportunity to have a patch of the Magical Vegas brand over the front of the Marcus Evans logo if they wish,” Richardson continued. “That will be available and further details will be revealed in due course regarding that.

“But not children’s shirts because we need to promote responsible gambling and you can only gamble if you’re 18-plus. Next season’s children’s shirts will be blank.”

She says there will be benefits for fans from the link-up: “Magical Vegas are looking to offer incentives to our supporters, so watch this space. They’re going to have lots of initiatives and incentives and offers available to our fans.”

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midastouch added 15:24 - Jan 11
The only Magical thing about Marcus' tenure was Jim Magilton and he sacked him after convincingly beating Norwich!

BlueArrow added 15:31 - Jan 11
Really headline :- NO IT WON'T

baxter7 added 15:31 - Jan 11
Perhaps it might help the football be more magical instead of the dross mcarthy conjures up

Slambo added 15:39 - Jan 11
2 million quid to be spent on the squad?! It's absolute peanuts and will be swallowed up in the general administration of a football club anyway. This seems to be an alien concept nowadays, but i'd happily be a poorer club if it meant we could keep some shred of dignity. Some tacky, fly-by-night gambling firm..?! Please. Were there not any local firms that could have sponsored? Maybe even some local start up that could really do with the exposure..?

Naming rights to Portman Road will be sold before long. I've written pieces on here bemoaning the transient nature of some of our supporters, but the continued, rank commercialisation of our club really would stop me coming...

I'm a small fella, so at least I can get away with buying the large boys shirts, sans sponsor logo. Every cloud, eh...

Penguinblue added 15:41 - Jan 11
Nothing Mr ‘the powers that be’ Milne says is of any consequence. This has been proved time and again. He does not even seem to be a mouth piece for ME as his utterances are often incorrect.

What a club. A dubious invisible owner.
A MD with no obvious qualifications to run the club.
A negative, foul mouthed manager with a very high opinion of himself.
Now a deal with a gambling company which has to be shielded from children.


Nazemariner added 15:43 - Jan 11
Shut up Milne you bufoon!

tractorboybig added 15:43 - Jan 11

Manchesterblue added 15:48 - Jan 11
I have to ask, when did Ipswich sign the lead singer from the Black Crows

SW1_Blue added 15:48 - Jan 11
Classy. An online bookmaker. How low can we sink?

davetheblue added 15:51 - Jan 11
brilliant news about no sponsors on kids kits.
after the previous rubbish splattered all over it I will defo buy this for my boy

BullardsMagicMullet added 15:51 - Jan 11
Ian "Jackanory" Milne tell us another fictional story.

runningout added 15:52 - Jan 11
our once great club has confirmed it is being run by clueless idiots.. Again I find myself close to tears

yungblue added 15:55 - Jan 11
I know there will be a lot of negative votes for this but hey ho:

Firstly, it’s a smart desicion to find alternative funding resources.
But more to the point, the amount of people that criticise Evans is ridiculous, the man saved Ipswich Town, and continues to save us year after year, by keeping us a float, does anyone else have a spare £10 MILLION that they are willing to essentially throw away with no return? Do we think if Evans walks tomorrow we automatically have a Chinese billionaire walk in the day after, NO!
He has a structure in place, he wants to produce through the academy, which is starting to show dividends, and essentially he knows MM is not the man to take us forward but will not pay his extortionate wages.
When his contract ends in May, a different direction will be taken.

Give the man some credit, he allows us to watch Ipswich Town play every week.

therein61 added 15:55 - Jan 11
Our once great club just continues to beggar belief from A-Z

raycrawfordswig added 15:57 - Jan 11
Mickey Mouse deal .Mickey Mouse owner.

Kulturarv added 16:00 - Jan 11
"fans shouldn’t take the disappearance of the Marcus Evans name from shirts as an indication that the Blues owner is looking to move on."

But we can always hope he will! :-)

OohOohSamassiAbou added 16:00 - Jan 11
Rather than the children's shirts having no sponsor next year, couldn't we have the chosen charity for next year on the front?

PortmanTerrorist added 16:00 - Jan 11
So give ME was paying for sponsorship of his own team, this deal just means he pays out less albeit without having has name on our shirts, which must be as embarrassing as helpful in a business context.

ME wins, MM gets nothing, fans continue to stay away. I have a particular issue with Milne and his constant BS and spin. How this is a good news story is beyond me with some offshore Casino operation somehow being reflective of the ITFC brand ?

When will our fan base finally rise up and say enough is enough. We want our Club back !

timspencero added 16:02 - Jan 11
It never rains, but it pours.

Arthur_Hayes added 16:04 - Jan 11
God, how cheap.

blue75 added 16:05 - Jan 11
No problem with having a gambling company as shirt sponsor no different to having Greene king as sponsors after all drinking can kill you gambling is a mental issue (that’ll wind some up). The biggest problem with this shirt sponsor is how bad it looks did no one do any consumer testing of this? Surely it wouldn’t have gone well it just looks so bad cheap and tacky. IMHO both parties are going to lose out will this deal get terminated early after this reaction from many?

timspencero added 16:10 - Jan 11
The thing that's upsetting Town fans most at the moment is the damage done to our brand. Our brand as a football playing club has disappeared under McCarthy, however well he has done on a shoestring. Our brand as a top league team has disappeared after 17 years. Our brand as a classy club, with likeable and decent patrons is disappearing, since Keane. And now our visual assets and ethos comes into question with a cheap sponsor.

People don't hark back to good old days. They want to protect their club's brand. The damage being done will take years to transform.

How do we start again and do a salvage job on all this? If circumstances got us here, in my opinion, it will only be circumstances changing that get us out. It starts with a new manager. Thanks Mick - you did what you do exceptionally well. You're very good at it. It just wasn't what Town fans wanted. And it's only a new manager (and/or new owner) that can be the touchpaper for other our fortunes changing in other parts of the club.

BlueBlood90 added 16:11 - Jan 11
This bloke is even worse than Clegg was. The whole club has lost it's identity and we have a board who clearly couldn't give a s**t about that or what the fans think. There's only one way we're getting out of the Championship and that's through the trap door unless Evans, Milne, McCarthy and every other plonker we have at the club gets lost.

Blandford added 16:13 - Jan 11
These days betting companies are involved in many football clubs - it should come as no surprise that our management chose one with such a poor reputation. What i find difficult to comprehend (and I may have misinterpreted the quote) but we will receive less than 2 million pound over the entire deal. That's £50000 a month, barely enough to cover the wages of a half decent loanee from a premiership club. So, can someone explain how exactly this is a good deal.

Slambo added 16:17 - Jan 11
Yungblue - I agree with you fundamentally that Evans is not the self-serving tyrant that everyone makes out he is, and you could argue that a shirt sponsor is a shirt sponsor, whether it's some online betting firm or a local factory or whatever. But this one is morally dubious and also so damn tasteless..! Why does Ipswich have to be so derivative?! Can't we do something unique and different for a change rather than just be yet another club plastering a gambling den all over its kits..? And for 2 million quid..?! I have to admit, if Magic Vegas or whatever the hell they're called said 'here's 10 million quid every season for the next 3 years' i'd begrudgingly go along with it. Is the soul of our club worth 2 million quid though? Maybe if it goes exclusively to the youth academy it could go a long way, but on the first team, it's just not worth it...

God I hate modern football.

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