O'Neill: Evans Still Very Much Committed to Town
Thursday, 6th Feb 2020 17:26
Owner Marcus Evans remains as committed to the club as ever, according to general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill.
Evans took over at Portman Road in December 2007 with a swift promotion to the Premier League the aim. However, 13 years on the Blues are in League One but with Evans still unwavering in his commitment to the club.
“Yes, very much so,” said O’Neill. “He’s still working very hard behind the scenes and obviously here a lot.
“And still challenging both Paul and myself and other key members of the departments at other parts of the club that are constantly striving to be better.
“You’ll have seen things, whether that’s the training ground or the stadium, he’s trying to address areas of the stadium to improve the matchday experience.
“Again, it’s not all going to be done overnight but if you look at where it was 12 months ago and some of the things that we’re doing now, there is change.
“If we fast-forward another 12 months you’d hope to see some more change and follow-on, so we’re gradually getting the club back to some of the better times that we all want to see.”
Asked why the stadium was allowed to deteriorate in the manner it was, O’Neill said: “It can be a number of reasons why and it’s not for me to comment as to why certain things haven’t happened in the past, it’s not about what we were doing at a particular time, it’s about recognising that it needs to be improved and doing things about it moving forward.
“It’s unfair for me to comment on what’s happened in the past. There can be many reasons why, for me it’s more important that we’re recognising what it is and trying to make it better going forward.”
While the Blues have one of the biggest budgets in League One, Town’s wage bill in the Championship - just under £19 million last season - was around the 18th highest and about a third the size of some of their competitors.
In order to address that imbalance, has owner Evans looked at attracting outside investment? “I think when Marcus did the interview two seasons ago and he was talking about that he said that if an offer ever came in that would look at it from that point of view.
“I think people think there’s someone going to come in with X amount of money and invest into the club here and now, but as far as I’m aware those things haven’t happened, as much as people wish that to happen.
“Marcus puts in a lot of money every year. He puts in what he can do and he works incredibly hard in other businesses to allow him to put the money into this football club.
“Money isn’t the answer to everything, again you can see that at other football clubs. There has been money spent on transfers and players and facilities and stuff like that, but it’s not always the answer. It can help in some situations, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the answer to everything.
“So, from an investment point of view, if there was an investment on the table, I’m sure he would look at things. But at the moment, as far as I’m aware, those things don’t exist so they’re not options that we can even consider.”
Ed Sheeran’s regular appearances at Portman Road have led to suggestions that he might take a financial interest in the club with rumours having circulated that meetings along those lines may have taken place.
However, O’Neill poured cold water on such claims: “No, not as far as I’m aware. Ed’s a good supporter of the club, which is fantastic and if he were to do that it would be brilliant, but I don’t think that’s on the horizon.”
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