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Evans on Relegation, New Arrivals and the Promotion Challenge
Wednesday, 7th Aug 2019 11:26

Town owner Marcus Evans has written a column for Saturday’s match programme, which the club has given TWTD permission to reproduce in full.

The Season Ahead

As we all look forward with excitement to this season, the team at Portman Road and at the training ground have been hard at work since the final whistle against Leeds in preparation for a year where quite rightly our goal is for a return to the Championship.

It’s been a difficult summer at the club with a re-organisation taking place to meet the financial repercussions of relegation; however these challenges have been met with professionalism right throughout the club.

I am pleased to say that the reorganisation is complete and we are now set to go with the structure required to support the team’s promotion push.

Last year’s relegation, as I am sure all fans realise, has had economic consequences for the club and the effects add considerable strain to our finances and bring to the fore decisions relating to balancing short-term and long-term investment decisions.

At the top of my list of long-term priorities has been, despite the considerable drop in revenues which is close on £9 million, a determination to maintain and in fact grow the club’s investment in the academy.

This runs to multi-millions every year and not just for one year. So I have looked to ensure that these funds remain available year on year going forwards and are not risked by overspend on other long-term contract commitments.

Cash Made Available to Improve Fans’ Matchday Experience at Portman Road

I also put cash aside for some much-needed investment at Portman Road to improve your matchday experience. There has been a substantial outlay on a new CCTV security system to increase supporter safety; plans are in place to improve the speed of service across all bars in the concourse area; we are looking at upgrading the PA system; the North Stand roof will be the first to get a clean up with the other stands to follow and even the ticket office has had a makeover!

Other improvements around the stadium are at the planning stage. These range from simple painting and decorating to much more substantial and long-term projects - and significant financial outlay.

The training ground also required a number of planned infrastructure improvements to meet the requirements of an elite Academy and first-team environment.

The Money Game

The cost of running a football club isn’t exactly a sexy subject for most fans. However it’s a fact of life for those of us in that position and who are looking to run a club on a secure and sustainable basis.

I have to make sure that we can meet our commitments not just this year but for the next two, three and four years with many contracts having long-term implications.

The hard facts are that a trickle of cash from the Premier League and the club’s normal revenues aren’t enough, on their own, to enable us to compete in this league let alone the Championship. Hence the need for my additional investment each year.

There is annually a big hole in our finances (and most non-Premier League clubs) which has to be plugged by me in order to support the wage policy and provide transfer funds. This year has been more difficult than when we were in the Championship with my annual support going mainly - despite player wage reductions due to relegation - to support the club’s core financial requirements.

One of the questions I am asked all the time is where does all the money go from our transfer sales? The short answer is back into the club and you would be surprised at how far a large amount of money DOESN’T go in the football world.

So when balancing the club’s budgets, I have many issues to consider. I have an amount of money I put into the club each year and I have been consistent with that support every season.

This results in a budget being available through the club’s own income plus my annual support which has to be spread across a number of areas including wages; stadium and training ground infrastructure; improved contracts to existing players; academy costs and transfer fees to name some of the bigger areas. There are plenty more.

In most seasons I have been able to organise the club’s finances so that with the benefit of my annual support we have been able to invest, to a certain extent, in the transfer market.

Income from transfer sales and sell-ons in that time have helped to boost the overall budget which has mainly gone into the squad by way of additional wages or transfer fees. When you sell a player though, or get a sell-on fee, that rarely comes in one hit. It is spread over two, three, sometimes four years.

This year, with relegation costing the club up to £9 million, any income from player sales/sell-ons has been swallowed up by the financial gap caused by the drop into League One.

That said we do have funds available for a further two or three new players the manager and I would like to secure before the end of the window, to bring that bit extra to the squad and I hope that those we are targeting can be secured on terms that work for Ipswich.

I also want to ensure that, going forwards, we have funds to strengthen in January if we see gaps or injuries appear in the first half of the season.

Every fan, including me, can see how money could be spent but I have the task of matching desire with reality and whatever the pressures I will never do anything to risk the club’s financial security.

As always, I can assure every supporter not a penny is coming out of the club into my pocket. It never has. It goes back into the club’s budget and yes, as I have already said, that does include funds for transfers and additional wages when we find the right players at prices we can live with.

A Healthy Mix of Players at Different Stages in Their Career

On the pitch our plan remains the same - to play attractive, winning football supported by a stable management team with a healthy squad mix of some young players, some highly experienced and some still developing but with a large number of appearances under their belt.

I feel, with the players we have added in the summer, as well as agreeing longer-term contracts with existing players - Freddie Sears being the latest - we now have an exciting mix of talent ready for the challenges ahead.

Most of the players coming back from injury will be ready to go in weeks, not months, which will further strengthen our options.

Last season was a difficult time for some of the 2018 additions to flourish but having had a year to settle in, this is the year they can really get going.

For the first team, this summer has been as much about keeping our best as bringing in new additions. We have worked hard to keep all of our key players and while every player has a price at which monies can be reinvested for the benefit of the squad overall, I have wanted to do everything I can to avoid making the same mistake as last year by letting key players go when I could not replace them.

In terms of strengthening, as well as bringing in James [Norwood] and Tomas [Holy] on permanent deals, we have added Luke Garbutt from Everton. He is in the last year of his contract and could be looking for a new club next year. So there is a long-term plan behind some of our loans.

That long-term plan also includes having the cover to allow some of our younger players to go out on loan and get valuable experience playing first-team football elsewhere. We have seen the benefits of that with Luke Woolfenden for instance, who played over 30 games for Swindon last season. He has returned to us far better for the experience and ready to compete for a place in our first-team.

Will Norris has also joined us on loan from Wolves, which has freed up Bart to go out on loan to the Championship. He remains an Ipswich player though and will return to Portman Road at the end of the season.

I am pleased that we have signed new contracts with Freddie and Myles Kenlock. Again, that is all about the long-term.

Looking at the squad from front to back. James Norwood is an exciting addition, Jordan Roberts has played up there, Kayden has looked good in pre-season and we are all excited to see what he can do with a run of games in front of him. Of course, we have Freddie to come back in and we are still on the look out for another additional striker.

The Midfield is Awash With Talent

In the middle of the park we have so many options, giving the manager an enviable task of picking who to start. We have a great mix of experience and developing players in that area and it’s great to see Alan [Judge] in the squad, despite approaches from elsewhere.

I fully understand why a move to QPR would have appealed to Alan for personal and professional reasons but I must point out that he has always been totally professional in the way that he dealt with a difficult, personal situation and I know that he will be giving everything to the team this season as always.

I am looking forward to seeing Luke [Woolfenden], after his year on loan, challenging Toto [Nsiala] and Chambo [Luke Chambers]. We have also added James Wilson on a short term contract to add competition in the middle of defence.

In goal we have a huge prospect in Tomas challenged by the highly-thought of Will so there is real competition in that department.  

Judge the Manager on the Cards He Has Been Dealt

And one final point I want to make is that I hope everyone will judge the manager on the cards he has been dealt by me and not just on our expectations.

I know that expectations quite rightly are high and that due to Premier League parachute payments and big spenders in the Championship, we have gone from a team with a budget in the bottom 10 of the Championship to a team with a budget in the top 10 of League One.

However, please reflect on the fact that I have asked Paul, along with his coaching staff to accept the challenge of developing a team, not just for this year - which absent any player sales will be without the benefit of any significant transfer budget - but for the years ahead as well.

He will be giving our younger players a chance and they will need time and support along the way. This league has some big teams and experienced squads to pit against our developing talent. We are not the only club aiming for a top two position.

That said, be assured that everyone is working at full throttle to get the most out of the group and have a season we can be proud of.

Let’s have a great season and if your support is even half as good as last year (but let’s crank it up a notch) then you will be more than doing your part to push us over the line.

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Bluearmy_81 added 13:03 - Aug 7
BGD, just because there is no viable alternative presently does not mean criticising a terrible owner should be banned! As a fan I have every right to do just that. So you would still back him if he took us non league?!! That is simply bonkers. Haven't you lot learnt yet that what he does and what he says usually don't tally?!! Do you really think we'll get the three targets in now?!! Really?!! Come on!!
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pennblue added 13:04 - Aug 7
I get it Marcus, I really do. But why not seek further investment in the club? I know it means sharing, but why not take a new shareholder in, who can chuck in another £5 million a year? 65% of a premier league club, is worth more than 85% of a League One club.
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midastouch added 13:08 - Aug 7
The fact remains Evans could do more if he wanted (see here:
SCMP limits, anybody got any idea how much wiggle room we have left? by midastouch 26 Jul 2019 10:56
So here we are adjusting to life in League One. As I understand it we have to work within the parameters of life in League One as SCMP limits spending on player wages to a percentage of club Turnover. Because we're not privy to the exact wage bill of our existing player squad following the cuts (and according to big-mouth Mick they have all been cut significantly as a result of our relegation) we can only guess / speculate how close we are to the limit already. If we're at the limit somebody at the club should come out and say so as that would explain a lot. However, surely Paul Lambert would have been told and know if we are already totally maxed out against the SCMP limits. So the fact he's asking for additions suggests we can't be up to the limits as things stand. Therefore, one can only presume Evans is continuing to try and do things on the cheap.
Anybody got any ideas how much wiggle room we might have left against the parameters of SCMP?

but now he's in the business of managing steady decline. And nobody can deny we haven't declined under his watch given we're now sitting a league lower for the first time in over 60 years.

Much is being staked on the youngsters blossoming.

He says: "That said we do have funds available for a further two or three new players the manager and I would like to secure before the end of the window, to bring that bit extra to the squad and I hope that those we are targeting can be secured on terms that work for Ipswich."

This could be the crux of Lambert's frustration as it would seem the players he's identified so far haven't been able to be secured on terms that work for Marcus. Lambert would probably like Marcus to dig into his pocket just a little deeper (which according the the above link he is certainly able to do so) but it is clear Marcus is going to remain a very cautious owner which means we will often be outbid in our transfer targets by other clubs, or rejected by players & agents over wages based on the tight financial constraints Marcus is going to ask any manager to (current and future) to work under.
I think Lambert understood from the start he was going to be working under tight financial constraints but not quite as tight as this.
Could Evans do more? Yes. Will he do more? Seems unlikely.
If we do go up it's going to be a real struggle to compete in that league when you compare our likely budget under Marcus compared to our rivals. I understand the clubs with Parachute Payments have a big advantage but plenty of other clubs without those seem to be a lot more ambitious in the transfer market than we are and they aren't all in danger of going under like Bolton either. Getting the right balance between ambition and financial safety is a fine balancing act. The almost boundless limits of our desired ambition and love for our team is never going to match up to those of Marcus. He could do more if he really wanted to (he's supposedly worth how many millions after all?) but his passion for ITFC doesn't extend as far as some of us would like. I imagine the targets that Lambert has presented and not been successful in securing so far this summer prob fell down over a matter of less than quarter of a million in terms of requested wages or transfer fee. That sounds a lot of money but imagine that player had of been the key difference between success and failure this season. That's the way Lambert or a fan would look at it but the person that is being asked to pay for it might think, yeah but what if that player turns out a flop or gets injured?
Evans reminds me a bit of Robert Chase at Norwich. Remember some Ipswich fans had ironic "Chase In" signs at the time. Although to be fair to Chase they were in the top flight but he got a lot of flack for selling players like Sutton, Fox and Gordon and he was criticised for not being ambitious enough. Football has moved on massively in terms of financial needs since those days. But the fact is that at the time the Norwich fans wanted Chase out where as a lot of Ipswich fans were happy to see him stay as long as possible. Whatever you think of Evans let me tell you something living in Norfolk, the Norwich fans are loving every moment of Marcus Evans being in charge of ITFC as the way they see it is that we're currently in League One and they're in the Premier League and that stark contrast in fortunes has all happened under Evans stewardship.
When Evans took over he didn't sell us a vision of being a competitive League One team or a lower-level Championship team, rather he sold us on the vision of getting us back into the Premier League. Well over 10 years on we seem a million miles away from that so he can say what he wants but he's fallen well short of the vision outlined at the start and it's very clear now he's not going to go the extra mile to put that right, now he's content just to sail a steady ship and keep things ticking over. We were sold a false promise and most of you seem more than happy to take it on the chin. If you lived in Norfolk where the Budgies are having a field day laughing at us you probably wouldn't take it lying down so easily. Under Delia Smith Norwich (worth about 20 million roughly) have got into the Premier League how many times? Under Marcus Evans worth about 880 million roughly how many times have Ipswich managed it? NONE. So it's not always just about money, it's about PASSION! Delia seems to have a hell of a lot more passion for her club than Marcus does.
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Bradleyblue89 added 13:09 - Aug 7
I agree with the sentiment. However if you are an owner who cannot afford to contribute significant amounts to a football club, and are reliant on sell on fees and our ability to build from the academy I do beg the question as to whether or not you are the right person to own a club with the fan base and history of Ipswich Town. Many managers and players over the years have built the reputation of the club to a point where more people want to support and follow Ipswich. Investing in the academy in League 1 indicates we will build young players up and they will be key in our push to move through the leagues. But a £2 million bid from a Championship club for a young player who is performing well in League 1 is bound to interest the player. If you want to progress from League 1 you have to invest in quality and experienced players who now what it takes to win promotion from leagues like this. I can only see individual young players doing well and moving on. We struggled to keep hold of our academy players when we were in the Championship, not sure how he expects us to keep the quality players from staying in League 1. We need to spend a good £3 million+ to fill the defence and offer competition for the forwards. I respect his attitude, but don't think the mentality has a place in a club of Ipswich's history and feel it is much more suited to a club with less of a fanbase.
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SamsDad added 13:11 - Aug 7
For the life of me I cant understand why anyone would want to be a football club owner!

FWIW, I think this is fair. As others have said, it would be great if we had an owner that threw money at the club, but we haven't and despite what somebody's uncles' cat has said, it doesn't look likely that it will change anytime soon.

Regardless I will be there on Saturday making some noise COYB
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nathitfc89 added 13:12 - Aug 7
i just cant understand some ITFC fans< it seems they would rather ME splash his cash stupidly then when/if ITFC don't get promoted we will be in the same boat as Bolton and bury. even if ME was too sell, we could end up with owners like Coventry or Blackpool. be careful what you all wish for
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warktheline added 13:15 - Aug 7
As soon as the ‘Trojan Horse’ opens his mouth with his ever so typical ‘cloak and dagger’ routine, out pour the ITFC ‘appeasement squad’!

Answer the ‘glaringly obvious’....If Evans was, and still is, committed to the cause, explain why McCarthy, McGoldrick and Rowe, have ALL in varying degrees, slammed the owners ‘lack of ambition’ which in turn, has manifested itself amongst management and playing staff? Winning games is fundamentally paramount at any football club, bar Ipswich Town FC!
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BlueandTruesince82 added 13:17 - Aug 7
Peopel can argue the toss living in a dream world where cash from sales or sell ons etc all arrives at once but to me thats all fair.

Evans has a bad rap but he does invest his money every year.

V few people would have turned down the chance to appoint Keane.

Same with Mick who was what we needed, just stuck with him to long (agree we should have twisted when we were well in the title mix and that is fair stick to beat Evans with)

90% of fans loved the Hurst appointment and whatever we say now he was an exact fit as to what we wanted in our new manager (or at least appeared so)


We have short memories.
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blue62 added 13:19 - Aug 7
I think that is a very fair and honest statement.

I am not sure why some people think he would take money from the sales/sell ons, only to have to stick it back in the following year, He certainly doesn't need the money.

I do find the financial side of sport very interesting, how many businesses are there when you sell an asset and have to wait 2 - 4 years to receive the money.
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Gcon added 13:20 - Aug 7
'we've done a bit of decorating, we've cleaned the roof and we might upgrade the PA system, blah blah blah.'

Let's just wait and see if he's true to his word about funding the acquisition of 2-3 new players before the window closes before we start the love-in, shall we?

with regards to his "one final point I want to make is that I hope everyone will judge the manager on the cards he has been dealt by me and not just on our expectations." I suggest it is more pertinent to judge the owner on the cards he has dealt this club over ten years. ie A serious lack of investment and ambition that has inevitably led to the ongoing demise of our beloved football club.

Downmark me all you like. You are simply enabling him to further our decline. Wise up.

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Bluearmy_81 added 13:20 - Aug 7
Midas, of course Norwich fans love Evans, its totally natural that they should! It makes the Town fans that back him ever more laughable.
3

WhoisJimmyJuan added 13:21 - Aug 7
I still think the biggest problem with ME is lack of time and interest in our club. He may even believe what he says. But he us a tax exile and has other business interests. My guess is that his involvement is limited but he and only he authorises the budget. That means when he is available and interested to do it. That is why transfers take too long and PL gets frustrated.
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runaround added 13:23 - Aug 7
I have read through the statement & fully understand what ME is doing & the reasons behind it but it does beg the question, if what he says is correct, then many other teams must be spending well beyond their budgets, therefore breaking the rules of FFP or whatever the league one version is known as, yet so far only QPR & Birmingham seems to have suffered sanctions. How do clubs with seemingly less income than us manage to spend so much more? If promotion is achieved how can we compete in Championship next season when likes of Reading, Wigan, Brentford etc are bidding millions for players? I can only conclude that ME is being too cautious with wages & spending whilst other clubs go to the max allowed & speculate to accumulate sensibly?
Whilst ME’s way might make business sense it makes football success unlikely
6

DurhamTownFan added 13:23 - Aug 7
Good point, Gcon: 'the cards he has been dealt' covers up nicely for what he really means as 'the sh*t situation I have managed to create in my ten years of ownership'
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Marinersnose added 13:26 - Aug 7
I think Evans should be applauded for explaining fully the financial situation at Ipswich Town. I have been critical of his penny pinching but it’s easy to forget the extortionate costs involved in running a club especially after relegation. I saw enough last season to realise that Paul Lambert has started the rebuilding process and the fans are now fully onside. Secondly the football is so much better to watch albeit PL has inherited some poor players. Finally we have some talented young players who with a mix of experienced players could develop and push the team nearer to where we want to be. A good start at Burton and a win against Sunderland and the confidence and momentum will take effect. We still have many decent players to return from injury. Bring on a noisy PR on Saturday and 3 valuable points.
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Bluearmy_81 added 13:28 - Aug 7
Very well put Gcon. Some have short memories indeed. Some here are so pessimistic 'we could be bolton', yet as soon as Evans opens his gob, ultra optimistic 'what he says is going to happen...' ffs wake up. Why has Lambert been so frustrated?! We're obviously not likely to get the players in and the most likely reason for that is that Evans is penny pinching again. For the love of God wake up
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rabbit added 13:28 - Aug 7
There have obviously been some very depressing errors that have occurred since the inception of ME's ownership, he has not once hidden from the fact.
He sacked JM because he thought the arrival of RK would be the golden ticket and most of us bought into, I dare say though there will be a few know all's come forward to say they did not but frankly I don't believe this isn't in hind sight.
However he sacked RK after entrusting him with millions, he sacked PJ after trusting him with millions, neither of these appointments were considered disastrous at the time, MM came in, certainly my least favourite choice of all, but MM did steady the ship and re-united a very fractured playing squad.
For me though I couldn't sit through more MM games and was thrilled with the new start last season, again in hindsight a disastrous decision and again ME acted swiftly and decisively.
We all wanted a statement of fact, we have one, but to a few it still is no good, we still have a poster who purports to know how business works believing losing money is all part of a financially strategic plan!!
Then you have the others who only like to be divisive and still they encourage the owner to walk, which will of course see the demise of ITFC, as it has when other club owners have been able to make good the defecit.
3

raycrawfordswig added 13:30 - Aug 7
Why did you buy the club ?
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Bluearmy_81 added 13:32 - Aug 7
Rabbit, at the end of the day remember you and Norwich fans love Evans, there's nothing between you... 👍🏻😀
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braveblue added 13:32 - Aug 7
Can’t believe after all this time that is the best he can do. Multi millions every year on the academy. Really? What is the return on that then? Thought he was a good businessman.

A list of excuses he is hoping the happy clappy brigade will swallow. Be interesting to see what players he fails to sign in the next couple of weeks.

Just sell and get out.
5

rabbit added 13:38 - Aug 7
"been UNable to make good the defecit"
Apologies.
-1

midastouch added 13:41 - Aug 7
https://www.twtd.co.uk/blogs/21782/
According to the above link there's plenty of wiggle room should Evans want to give us the maximum chance of Promotion. Over to you Marcus! His mistakes such as selling Waghorn and Garner at the 11th hour got us here, isn't some extra responsibility on him now to make good on his errors of judgement, including employing Hurst (see my thoughts on that clanger further below)?
As copied from https://www.twtd.co.uk/blogs/21782/:
"What happens to your finances? As many have observed Ipswich will instantly lose £7m of their TV deal, about 40 per cent of our total revenue.

That’s a big problem because our last financial report already had our overall wage bill at 103 per cent of present turnover and the Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP) caps player salaries at 60 per cent in League One, 75 per cent in a relegated side's first season. Clubs who are on course to overspend incur a transfer embargo. All very alarming, right?

Well, sort of. First off, only contracts signed after September of your relegation year count towards the cap. So that rules out the big contracts signed by Emyr Huws and Bartosz Bialkowski, as well as all the players we signed during the summer.

Of the senior players only Luke Chambers, Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears have signed new contracts since then and all when relegation looked likely and none had other suitors.

Everyone else on the books is either a kid - and the wages of those aged under-21 doesn't count towards SCMP - or awaiting offers. So in terms of restricting the wage bill, it seems we should already be in pretty good shape. The players' contracts also include hefty wage cuts in the event of relegation.

One further positive is that although clubs can’t incur debt to pay wages the owner can chip in with direct donations. That is, if he wants to chuck in £5m to cover the shortfall, he can, just not on the terms that he currently does (via loans). "

My thoughts on Evans bright idea to employ Hurst at the time:
News
Comment Hurst Tight-Lipped on Future After Play-Off Defeat
at 14:30:35

the fact is only 22% voted for hurst on the poll the last time i looked so he wasn't top choice in these parts. so i think it's safe to say a few of us are a bit uncertain but still happy enough to give him every chance if does get the job. personally i'd go for somebody like gary white, or i'd be happy as well to see george and terry given the nod, but if hurst gets the job then so be it. hurst doesn't get me quite as excited as some of the other options but if he does the business should he get the job then he'll happily make a convert out of me. i'm not saying i don't think he'll do a good job, i'm just sitting on the fence a bit as i really don't know enough about him. i've only ever seen shrewsbury play once under his watch and you can't judge much on a single match. it seems a lot more people wanted ross than hurst. but then bobby robson was only meant to be about 3rd choice so sometimes sloppy 2nds or 3rd can be a blessing in disguise. i'm not sure what to make of it all, guess it's just going to be a wait and see job and hope for the best.

News
Comment Hurst Tight-Lipped on Future After Play-Off Defeat
at 21:41:33

When I read the pieces from Gary White and George Burley in the EADT my gut said this is the way to go. I've not heard anything from Hurst as yet that makes me think he's the man to get us back on track. But that is a bit unfair on him as I've barely heard the guy speak so guess I need to give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he's got. Whoever we get is going to be a gamble. We might get lucky, we might not, one thing is for sure and that is we're about to roll the dice and find out. Hold tight folks, soon we could be in heaven or we might be in hell! Come Xmas we'll have a much better clue as to whether this is a calculated gamble that shows signs of paying off. Fingers crossed folks! COYB!!!

News
Comment Hurst Tight-Lipped on Future After Play-Off Defeat
at 21:33:24

I'm not totally convinced about Hurst either but if we do take him I'll certainly give him the benefit of the doubt and be more than happy to be proven wrong should he come up trumps next season. I just haven't seen enough of him to be sure what he'll bring to the table. Can't really judge him on one game today but I'm not sure if it's a gamble that will pay off. My gut is telling me it might not be a match made in heaven but hopefully my gut is wrong and Hurst does the business should he be appointed. If he gets the job he'll get my full support. Not sure why I'm not quite sure about it. Can't really put my finger on it. Hopefully we'll be top of the league by Xmas and all doubts will have been washed away! We can but dream! Whoever it will be will be! COYB!
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rabbit added 13:46 - Aug 7
bluearmy_81 the your churlish remarks only serve to underline your inability to discuss or debate.
And you purport to be a 43 year old professional psychologist!!
-2

ShropshireBluenago09 added 13:49 - Aug 7
Some people have short memories. ME bought our debt and saved the club. The guy has invested millions into ITFC. Ok some decisions have been poor and it’s been a learning curve for him certainly. I think a lot of his past decisions were based on bad advice, as we all know he is a businessman, not a football man.
0

herfie added 13:50 - Aug 7
A far more honest, detailed and realistic summary from ME - touching upon all those area that generate such heated debate on this, and other, sites. I detect that this piece might actually have been mostly written by ME - as opposed to similar in the past, which I feel sure were constructed by others. Look at the change in style and language. This can only be positive, and ticks a couple of my key boxes: communicate personally with us, and be frank and honest. So, whilst not an article filled with misty-eyed optimism, or vague undeliverable plans, it’s a significant step forward in trying to repair damaged relationships.

Final analysis, whatever our views on ME, he remains the only show in town; and that despite his ‘paper’ wealth, in truth his ‘real money’ wealth is clearly limited and much of it has to feed a money pit: same for all clubs, ask Delia! Yes, I would prefer an alternative option, but I also want our club to be run without a significant threat to its long term existence. Whilst the dice are currently rolling as they are, ME’s overall approach seems sensible.
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