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Holland: Without Owner's Backing I'd Be Worried About Administration
Tuesday, 7th Jul 2020 18:59

Former skipper Matt Holland believes the Blues could have been pushed into administration by the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis had they not got the backing of owner Marcus Evans.

Championship Wigan went into administration last week, although apparently largely for reasons not connected to the pandemic, and other clubs in the lower leagues are expected to follow them.

Town are facing a loss of income which in a worst case scenario could push towards £10 million.

The club estimate the cost of refunding ticket money owed to fans, both season ticket holders and those with matchday tickets, at around £800,000 on top of approaching £1 million in income already lost from those games.

As reported last month, three-quarters of existing season ticket holders have renewed for 2020/21, however the missing quarter, around 3,000 fans, amounts to a reduction of £1 million in income on last year.

The club has also missed out on an anticipated commercial income of around £600,000 since the start of the crisis, while expected revenue from screening Euro 2020 games in the FanZone won’t now be brought in until next summer.

In addition, it’s understood that club and EFL sponsors have clawed back some of their cash due to the unplayed games. Town have also missed out on income from their iFollow service.

As things stand it appears certain that some of the new season will be played either behind closed doors or with few fans present. That is likely to mean the club will probably have to pay back some of the £3 million received for 2020/21 season tickets at some stage, while it’s estimated they will miss out on £4 million in matchday income from tickets, hospitality, sponsorship, advertising and concourse takings.

The Community Trust, which was relaunched early in the season, has also lost income of £100,000 due to the pandemic.

In order to cut costs, Town have furloughed most of their off-field staff since May - with owner Evans making up the other 20 per cent of their salaries - while it’s understood discussions are ongoing regarding further financial support for clubs in the lower leagues - from either the Government or Premier League - which would help facilitate a September start for the new season.

Even in a normal season, Evans covers a significant shortfall of around £5-£6 million unless cash is brought in via player trading.

“In the Premier League it’s the TV money that really counts but in the divisions below, matchday revenue is vital,” Holland told the club site.

“If you can’t get fans into games for a period of time - say for much of next season - you have a real problem. There will be a lot of clubs in serious trouble. It’s the biggest threat to the football pyramid, what is happening and could happen.

“Ipswich are obviously still my club and when I look at the size of the club, the attendances, the wage bill will be at the higher end for sure, it will be one of the hardest hit in League One. Sunderland and Portsmouth the same.

“I know Marcus Evans has got his critics but if he wasn’t at Ipswich now and putting the money he does into the club, I’d hate to think what would happen. You could be looking at administration. Without his backing, I’d be worried big time.

“I think other clubs will follow Wigan and go into administration, especially if they are safe in their league with the 12-point deduction.”

The ex-Republic of Ireland international, Town's skipper during their spell in administration in 2003, believes the current crisis is a chance for football to get its financial house in better order.

“There is talk of salary caps in League One and Two and I can see that happening,” he added.

“Then you look at the Championship. I read that at one club 107 per cent of turnover was being spent on player wages [Town’s was 106.97 per cent in 2018/19]. I’m not a mathematician but that can’t be right.

“If you are paying out a lot more than you are getting in, sooner or later you are going to be in trouble.

“Clubs are gambling on getting into the Premier League. Fans want you to spend fortunes on players as well because they want to get in the Premier League but there has to be some realism.

“It’s got to be sustainable model and maybe football will change now. I think it needs to change.”

Photo: Action Images

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superblues9 added 19:12 - Jul 7
And anyone who doesn’t see that being the case is an absolute idiot whether you like Evans or not without him we would be up the shi**er

Trequartista added 19:13 - Jul 7
£4m Aston Villa offered for you wasn't it Matt? Could all have been so different.

blues1 added 19:18 - Jul 7
Well, this wont go down well with the Evan's haters will it? While no1 is under any illusions that Evans has done a lot wrong in his time, those who just want to slag him off and blame him for everything, wont be happy that one of their idols from the past, actually has come out and said exactly what many of us more realistic fans have been saying some time and getting called happy clappers. While he deserves criticism where it's due, he also deserves credit where due too.

TheTrueBlue1878 added 19:28 - Jul 7
100% agree, not Evan's biggest fan, but that is more down to his decision making (recruitment, DoF), but I will never knock the man again for backing and supporting this club through really tough times.

Thank you Marcus.

Bluearmy_81 added 20:00 - Jul 7
Has anyone told him we're a joke club now, irrelevant also rans in division 3?! That's OK though as it could be worse, we could be Bury!! "Thank you Marcus.." 🙄🙄🙄🙄It's Monty python, just nauseating

Linkboy13 added 20:14 - Jul 7
Why anybody would want to own a football club amazes me spend millions of pounds and then get slaged off by a load of numpties without a brain cell in their head.

Bluearmy_81 added 20:20 - Jul 7
Link boy, we're league 1. Fleetwood, Oxford and Wycombe are better than us. We're a joke mate. As a fan of Town that should be your main concern...

Saxonblue74 added 20:28 - Jul 7
We're a club with a rich, proud history. 2 England managers and major domestic and European titles.By no means a "joke" club and not to be categorised with the likes of Oxford, Wycombe and Fleetwood. Linkboy is an ITFC fan, as are all others that support their team through thick and thin.

DifferentGravy added 20:56 - Jul 7
Super Matty Holland...what a player!!

Nonsensical comment or media report though. If you take financial control of a club then of course you are liable. Irrespective if its promotion/relegation or pandemic

BeattiesBackPocket added 21:00 - Jul 7
Can people not see that he is bemoaning a loss of 10 million this next season Plus he’s lost 4000 season ticket holders had he spent a fraction of this in the championship on wages we wouldn’t have been moaning about the extra cost now! I never ever expected evans to spend millions on players as some do on here as it doesn’t always work however to be bottom 5 clubs in wages for the last 3 or 4 seasons IS why we ended up where we are and he WONT get us out of this league unless it’s into division 2! Please realise this guy is the 6th richest owner outside the premier league and to plummet us into division one is a huge failure whether that’s from the EXPERIENCED managers or the likes of Clegg who knew bugga all about football he has taken us down fact! So I’m not being sucked in to the ‘how he’s losing even more money next year’ that IS his fault!

RegencyBlue added 21:15 - Jul 7
I have to say I find the argument that only Evans can save us completely facile.

During the period of his ownership he’s done nothing, other than prove he doesn’t have a clue how to run a football club, on or off the pitch, yet it seems to be a crime to want better for the club than Evans.

We are in the third Division and finished at our lowest level for more than sixty years. We are in relentless decline following years of neglect but there is no sign of Evans recognising the path he’s following has to change. What is it they say about insanity, doing the same thing again and again expecting the result to be different? Whatever the current situation he is slowly killing us, League 2 is more likely than promotion unless things change dramatically, which they clearly won’t whilst he remains.

The ‘What would we do without him’ argument only goes so far. The real question is where will the club end up with him?

BlueNomad added 21:17 - Jul 7
BlueArmy_81 your frustration is getting in the way of your objectivity some people are going to see their clubs (which may also have a proud history) go out of existence. That is unlikely to happen under ME. Let’s see how we do when the dust settles. At least we’ll be here.

budgieplucker added 21:21 - Jul 7
I have tried to be balanced with my criticisms of ME. I am realistic enough to not expect exorbitant amounts of money to be paid for players and wages, nor would I want that.

I generally support the philosophy of producing our own players as well, Bobby Robson had 8 home grown players in the 1978 cup final side and 7 in the 1981 UEFA cup final side. So I believe the club is trying to build on the correct model and foundations.

We cannot do everything with youngsters though so a handful or so of experienced veterans is essential.

I have criticised him in the past for not digging a little deeper at key moments, those have been documented well before. I also felt he set up Paul Hurst to fail by not offering some funds to strengthen the squad without selling and to have kept Webster and Waghorn at the club whilst they still had contract to run.

Nevertheless I do think he is an owner who is shrewd and responsible when it comes to budgetting and financing the clubs affairs and feel he does actually have a strong sense of responsibility of keeping the club afloat with a good chance to rediscover it self. I think he will look to pick the carcasses of some of the more unfortunate clubs and when the timing is right will sell Woolfenden and Downes. We had to do this in the Bobby Robson days, so we shouldn’t be to perturbed as long as we keep producing good young footballers on our conveyor belt.

My main worry is that we have too big a squad and the likes of Dobra, Lankester and Mizouni need game time next season to progress themselves, so must be in the match day squad. The likes of Nydam, Dozzell, Bishop should all be regular first choice picks now if it hadn’t been for their injuries and have to use the coming season to oust out the likes of Huws and Judge - whilst both talented footballers they have not given enough back to the club for the investment made in them and now stand in the way of others progression.

So thank you Marcus

istanblue added 21:24 - Jul 7
Said it before and I'll say it again: paying the bills at the end of every month is the BARE MINIMUM any responsible football club owner should do. That includes even in these unprecedented times. The idea that Evans should be getting special praise for doing the absolute basic requirement of any football club owner is laughable.

Saxonblue74 added 21:44 - Jul 7
Good piece Budgieplucker!👍

patrickswell added 22:06 - Jul 7
Evans funding the club during a pandemic is the least he can do because he’s been a liability for this club for at least 5 years. We’re fortunate that he’s not a crook or asset stripper, yes. But we’re screwed because he is a complete incompetent who has got virtually every major decision or judgement call wrong. Poor judgements, poor decisions, poor hiring, passivity when we were in a strong position and seemingly happy to reward ongoing failure.

When the gates open, sing it loud and proud Town fans “WE WANT EVANS OUT, SAY WE WANT EVANS OUT!”

Bluearmy_81 added 22:40 - Jul 7
Elmswell, will you still be saying that in div 4 or non league? How low is too low, how bad is enough?! Please read regency blues excellent post above.

RobsonWark added 22:59 - Jul 7
I've been saying for the past 3 or 4 years we will get no where while Chambers is still in the team week in week out! The guy is getting worse and worse every year. It's like we are playing with 10 men against 12 men each game. He makes so many mistakes and blames everyone else around him. He doesn't mark anyone, never tackles (on the rare occasions he does he gives away penalties) he only tries to block shots, and can't defend using his head. Only reason we are not in division 2 next season is because the season ended early. I dread next season if he plays week in week out because he'll be another year older and EVEN slower!! We will be in division 2 after next season if he plays week in week out.

BlueNomad added 08:19 - Jul 8
Bluearmy_81 I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a lifeboat with you! I don’t recall ever reading anything from you that shows any joy in football. None of us are happy about the situation the club is in but life has changed in every aspect of our lives this year. Is getting angry about football still so important? At the end of the year we will have still have a club and then we can aspire to emulating other big clubs that have climbed back up from a similar position. If football really causes you such perpetual angst you should perhaps find something that makes you feel calmer.

KiwiBlue2 added 09:48 - Jul 8
While Marcus Evans has presided over our decline in the past decade and missed opportunities that he should have taken (especially his decision not to strengthen in January 2015 to push us over the promotion line) we do have to be grateful that he has the financial clout to keep the wolves from the door now.
That said I agree with much of the criticism of various things that he has done (or not done) voiced on here. However I think that we are much more likely to emerge from the current situation in a considerably better shape than many of our contemporaries and for that should show some gratitude. Hopefully we can realise our potential in the coming season and move upwards.......

beornioblue added 09:53 - Jul 8
Have to agree with Mr Holland, I dont like that Evans is in charge I dont like our recruitment policies and I think his appointments are wrong. However sadly if it wasnt for him we possibly wouldn't be here and I would rather an under-performing Town in LG1 than no Town at all. The irony of it is that if it wasnt for Marcus Evans there wouldnt be a team for people to slag him off on hereabout haha!! Lets get through this current cr@p and hope for better times ahead because everyone top to bottom needs to do better to give this great club a positive boost and get us back to where we should be.

Skip73 added 10:06 - Jul 8
Hopefully Newcastle will becdold soon and Mike Ashley will buy the club

londontractorboy57 added 10:24 - Jul 8
Mickma summed it up Numbskulls

Bluearmy_81 added 10:42 - Jul 8
Elmswood, equally I wouldn't want to be in a war with you. Where's the spirit/fight/passion?! It's like we're living in a parallel reality, what has brought you joy from Ipswich in the last 13 years?!

TimmyH added 10:54 - Jul 8
Well to be honest this is true and yes we would currently probably be in the clack...still doesn't deter from the continuous poor decisions he keeps making which got us in this situation and to a degree some of the financial losses we have suffered.

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