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Evans: We're Heading for a Perfect Storm in Football
Thursday, 24th Sep 2020 17:11

Owner Marcus Evans says Town could be £10 million down by the end of the season if the situation remains as it is and believes it is inevitable that some clubs will go under unless something is done to provide them with financial support.

Earlier this week, the Government halted plans for fans to return to professional football due to the following the rise in coronavirus cases and with the Covid-19 alert level having been moved from three to four. It may now be another six months before supporters are back in grounds.

Evans answered questions from the club regarding the impact on the Blues and football more widely.

What is your reaction, Marcus, to the decision by the Government this week for the planned return of supporters to stadiums to be put on hold?

Disappointing. Disappointing for clubs, disappointing for local businesses that benefit from having a matchday in the town and most importantly, disappointing for the supporters, Evans told the club site.

I’ve been to our games at Portman Road this season and was also at Bristol last week and having no supporters is a very strange experience.

Forget the financial side of it - I’ll come to that in a minute - the actual matchday experience, it’s just lacking in atmosphere. It’s just not the same game and speaking to Paul [Lambert, Town boss] and the players, I know they feel the same. We all want supporters back as soon as possible. 

That’s the question though, when will supporters be back? What are your thoughts?

Look, our primary concern obviously is the health and safety of all who come into the stadium. It has to be a safe environment but the staff at the club had worked very hard to implement all the measures needed to make Portman Road exactly that, a safe place to watch football in these testing times.

I am assured that the safety authorities were very impressed with what we put in front of them. That was clearly the case as they gave us the go-ahead to apply to hold a test event for Saturday’s game against Rochdale and were also happy for us to increase the numbers of supporters in attendance as we proceeded in line with Covid-secure guidelines.

We are not alone. I think there will be many football clubs who have some of the most developed and controlled Covid-secure measures in place and are ready to go.

It’s the Government’s call though on when supporters will be allowed back and there is no indication that will happen anytime soon.

I’m sure there is a willingness from all parties to get supporters back into stadiums, not just football but all sports as soon as it’s safe to do so.

The Government will decide when that is but it’s important that the sports bodies maintain that continuous dialogue and press home how prepared we are to welcome supporters back.

I hope to have that very conversation myself with the local MP, Tom Hunt, when it’s appropriate.

This isn’t just about Ipswich Town, it goes deeper into the local community. A lot of local businesses thrive on the income generated by a football club being based in their town or city.

Ipswich is no different. Extensive research we have done with our supporters shows that around £200,000 is spent by fans every matchday locally. That’s money spent in local businesses and in council charges, not at the football club.

That’s £5 million-plus over the season. So it’s not just us that are being hit financially, it will spread around the high street and that’s at a time when high streets were already facing severe financial challenges before Covid.

Can you give us an indication of the financial impact that Covid is having on the football club?

If you want a headline figure, we could be £10 million down by the end of the season if the situation remains as it is. 

That is a huge loss. That figure could wipe out other clubs. Do you fear that?

Yes I do. Clubs are on the edge now. If something isn’t done to support lower level clubs who don’t benefit from the Premier League TV revenues, I think it’s inevitable that clubs will go under.

We are heading for a perfect storm in football. Owners, whose own businesses may well be suffering losses, will get to a point where they are not in a position to continue to cover substantial deficits at their football club.

Ipswich Town went into administration before.

I’m aware of that but it’s my duty as owner to make sure we do not follow that path again. We have had to adjust our budgets accordingly. At the moment, we have no income coming in outside season ticket revenue apart from those purchasing the streaming on iFollow.

That is important income for us. I know it’s not the same as being there on matchday but for now, iFollow is as good as football can offer given the circumstances.

I can’t thank season ticket holders enough for the tremendous support they have continued to give to the club and with the latest uncertainty over when limited crowds will return I am going to explore if there are any additional make-goods we can provide on top of those contained within the original season ticket offer.

Do you expect the Government to start helping the clubs lower down who are struggling financially?

I hope so. I’d like to see some form of grants provided for clubs at the lower end who have suffered losses from the impact of Covid. As I said earlier, football clubs have a massive impact on towns and cities up and down the country.

They are often the focal point of the community but with no supporters at games, the impact is felt across the whole community.

What about the argument that football should take care of itself? Look at the money spent in the Premier League on transfers, wages and the rest. Surely that can be filtered down to help the EFL clubs?

I fully understand that argument and agree. There is a substantial imbalance in the game. I have always had that opinion and have long campaigned for a more level playing field, whether it be in the distribution of parachute payments or Financial Fair Play.

I know the EFL and the Premier League have been in discussions for months about securing the future of clubs and hopefully there will be some movement on that very quickly. There needs to be some help from somewhere or there will be an inevitable conclusion.

Photo: Matchday Images

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TractorRoyNo1 added 17:18 - Sep 24
We are lucky to have a chap with deep-ish pockets.

Suffolkboy added 17:35 - Sep 24
Those at the top of our Govt tree ( the cabal ! ) simply don’t live in either our or the real world .Theres little ability or true concept of all the detail involved in running any business ,let alone those in the sporting world !
The image presented is one of inefficiency , incompetence and total lack of clarity both in thought and deed ; consistency is evidenced only by its consistent absence !
M.E shows both careful caution and reserved wisdom and we should be very very grateful we are fortunate to have him at ITFC .
Let’s hope ( its a bit forlorn ) that that valuable commodity of common sense eventually surfaces in Downing St — BUT don’t hold your breath ! BJ vacillates with the same consistency that he fails to exhibit principled standards and moral awareness — nothing new there sadly !
Let’s hope the Gods are on the side of the vast majority , and we can start to look forward at least in a more certain context !
Meanwhile let’s give very support to our beloved ITFC !

LWNR2013 added 17:45 - Sep 24
A player on loan to a prem club getting £600,000 a week allegedly?

Chrisd added 17:56 - Sep 24
He’s right in what he says.

therein61 added 17:56 - Sep 24
Totally agree "TractorRoyNo1" while i have not been in favour of some of his actions Marcus seems to be hell bent on keeping this club afloat, and every fan should be grateful not slag him off just for the sake of it and their own blinkered views all in all in these worrying times we as a club are lucky to have his continued support as others without help from the premiership goldmine will be gone.

Pencilpete added 17:56 - Sep 24
I think those who have criticised ME should now be very thankful that he is behind us or we probably wouldn't have a club to support

rfretwell added 18:00 - Sep 24
LWN that's fake news.

ChrisR added 18:23 - Sep 24
M.E. must regret buying the club , but at least seems willing to continue . The cash spent on awful signings (P. Taylor , L. Martin , T Priskin for eg ) , and those who have been paid big money , yet have long term injury issues ( Huws , K V-Y , Norwood ) must have detered him risking big money transfers . Now its hard to see any crowd income this season , and the whole EFL league structure must be under threat , so who knows how promotion will be decided , if any?
So lets be grateful for once that we have some insurance thanks to ME .

ArnieM added 18:28 - Sep 24
The much maligned Marcus Evans is actually a good owner IMO. ITFC would be long gone had he not stepped in when he did. There’s no way he can compete financially with the Sky pimp. This organisation is the scourge of the game in this country and just a few at the ver6 top of the pyramid are creaming off , and sod all the rest. It’s pay back time for Sky now , or risk the game imploding and the inevitable fall of the fat cats ...it will happen!

horse added 18:36 - Sep 24
Couldn't agree more Without Marcus love
Him or hate him we would surely be in the
Mick and Mire so if the Supporters Can't get
Into the grounds and no Support from the
Greedy Premiership we will soon all be Doomed

Bert added 18:44 - Sep 24
It's been a perfect storm brewing for years with the football pyramid a disaster for the game whilst the Premier League works to its own rules and desires. There has to be a levelling up in English football otherwise what Evans fears will happen and communities will be devastated by the loss of clubs. Ask Bury fans how it feels not to have football on a Saturday. Yes, we are indeed fortunate to have an owner who understands his obligations in owning a club and, at present, is safeguarding our club's existence. For how long nobody knows but although Evans certainly has big cash reserves, his own hospitality empire is being hurt more than most. Now is the time to support the club including when results go against us. That's what being a supporter is about.

anditractor added 18:50 - Sep 24
I agree with what ME says. Some fans will always moan about lack of investment into new players etc to get us up to where we belong but now have to realise he is swallowing our losses, 10 million, to keep us afloat. We are lucky to have him. Let's hope the government starts to listen and allows fans back

essexccc added 19:08 - Sep 24
Agree with all comments above. Without an owner such as Marcus, we would be totally screwed. We are 100% dependent on his goodwill. I've said before on here that he can never get his money back unless we got to the Prem. Neither administration nor a buyer would get him much. But he could limit his losses by walking away. It appears he chooses not to do that. So we should do our bit and watch the streaming on Saturday - as many as possible. That won't be invisible support as it will show in the financial impact it has, albeit not a great one. The time for carping about Marcus's mistakes and lack of investment is over. - whatever your views on that are. We are well past that stage - survival is the name of the game and if we can maintain our form and go up, we will be among the very lucky ones.

SuffolkGal added 19:10 - Sep 24
The government has to take action based on what its advisors advise. The government is not an isolated body.
No government in our countries history has had to deal with a dire situation such as this. There is no experience to call.
Retrospectively casting blame is both pointless and unhelpful.
It would help greatly if a significant proportion of our society follow guidelines which as put in place for their safety.

Nobbysnuts added 19:30 - Sep 24
For everyone who has been critical of Marcus well I suggest you realise how important he is now. Without him we would be up sh#t creek Without a paddle. I personally thank you Mr evans for your support.

carlisleaway added 19:30 - Sep 24
Have to agree fully with all the comments re Marcus Evans full backing of Ipswich Town FC. Was in the club shop this afternoon and good to see many fans buying a range of shirts and memorabilia, our only way of putting money back into the club. Not into Marcus Evans pockets as some on this board would like to think. When we come out of Covid we still want a club to support.

tractorboybig added 19:31 - Sep 24
Well if you had employed one decent manger in your tenure we would not be here would we? All down to you mate.

Elmswell_Blue added 19:43 - Sep 24
I await the expressed wisdom of BlueArmy81 with regards to this. If not I will paraphrase what he will want to say:

“No ambition”
“He should sell up”
“The club is going nowhere except down”
“He should be spending money to get up or get out”
“Anyone who disagrees is a) not a true Town fan, b) stupid, c) satisfied with failure, d) has no ambition, e) has no idea how rich people should spend their money “

There - I’ve saved him a job.

Daz added 19:43 - Sep 24
Yes thank you ME for looking after this Club and let's hope he don't ditch the Club anytime soon.

On the other hand I'm glad supporters are stopped at the min. While the virus rate down here is low we don't need anyone from up north or london etc travelling here. Town can do there best inside but nothing preventing outside the stadium

Saxonblue74 added 20:09 - Sep 24
Elmswell, you forgot one. F) a Serf! 😂😂

Lightningboy added 20:18 - Sep 24
And meanwhile some Premier League players struggle to get by on £250k+ a week,the poor dabs.

Makes you wish that we could press some giant re-set button and go back to the days before Sky’s money ruined it all.

dirtydingusmagee added 20:44 - Sep 24
a load of b######s football has bee swilling around in money for years, players getting obscene wages . , BUT football has been increasingly killing itself and polarising rich and poor haves and have nots . The warning signs have been there for years ,but the blinkers of greed have blinded reality.. The government owes football no favours. Now we we are in a world which is a leveller, life means more any sport , football isnt everything . COVID IS A LIFE CHANGER, Football is /was a sport, now corrupted by money and greed,Personly if i woudl rather save a life than football .

Bluearmy_81 added 21:16 - Sep 24
The most gullible fans in the country! Hook line and sinker. Ffa are any of you capable of critical thinking? He's playing you like a fiddle... Only at Ipswich would fans be so sycophantic to and appreciative of a massive failure who has left us a joke club. Monty python stuff...

dusth added 21:22 - Sep 24
Hey ddmagee, that's intense, but I agree fundamentally. However footie makes a lot of people happy and keeps quite a few more sane. It is what we are. Let's agree that life and death is to be always remembered as no1 and that Bill Shankly was wrong. Part of recognising that we must be safe is also remembering we must also be sane. The prem needs to pay up and then we need to make our stadiums so safe for the next year that we can stay alive and thrive. And get it into the thick heads of some if they don't play fair they don't get to go to football. And also, get behind the owner!

Bluearmy_81 added 21:23 - Sep 24
Ffa sake you lot make me want to vom!! We're a joke club in division 3. He's never going to invest properly in order to make us competitive even if we do go up, we will yo yo at best. And you lot are practically sucking him off for the joke he has made us!
Elmswell, it's called Evans apologist bingo!
Who will buy us?
If he walks we're finished
He puts in __m a year
Just support the club!
Could be worse, could be Bury
Thank God we have Evans 😂😂😂😂

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