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Owner Evans Apologises for Careful What You Wish For Comment
Thursday, 10th Dec 2020 13:51

Town owner Marcus Evans has issued another statement in which he reacts to last week's news that the Premier League and EFL have agreed a rescue package, discusses his hopes for the future of football's finances and apologises for appearing to blame fans for the Blues' 2018/19 relegation.

The EFL rescue package announced last week is welcome news, especially as the Premier League clubs had no legal obligation to hand out a penny to the lower leagues.

The grants are a vital short-term lifeline for clubs who have little support from TV revenues. However, without a much more ambitious and long-term settlement across the leagues, football will remain deeply divided with supporters of many clubs having little or no prospect of seeing Premier League or even Championship football at their grounds.

The real travesty of the lack of a distribution mechanism for funds across the leagues is that, without it, there is a lost opportunity to create a more compelling competition by giving all clubs a fighting chance to progress with a sustainable financial model.

A new approach could remove the ‘roll of the dice’ investments I have seen many times over the last 13 years at clubs that has often ended in disaster.

The greater the number of upwardly mobile clubs we have, the more the interest in football will be maintained in local communities. We are already seeing all clubs, except for the very biggest, finding it more and more difficult to attract younger fans which can’t be good for the health of the game.

There are many recent examples of the need for sustainability, the latest being Wigan, FA Cup winners only seven years ago and now possibly en route to League Two or worse if a buyer can’t be found.

A redistribution of income across the leagues coupled with workable financial fair play will allow clubs to plan and avoid the casino environment that has, in my opinion, grown out of control over the last 10 years.

Every club is affected and to the contrary of the perception of Ipswich as a club working to a tight budget, we have been spending on average 90% of revenues in wages and amortised transfer fees over the last five seasons and run at a loss for all but one of the last 13 years, whilst there are many others spending far beyond their natural means.

Project Big Picture was clumsy in its introduction and certainly had ‘big club’ control connotations that weren’t healthy but at its heart there was something in the proposal that could work.

Recent history has shown that at least 10-12 of the current clubs in the Premier League will be in a lower league at some time in the next five to 10 years and all of them, once in that situation, will probably have wished for a different financial model to enable them to regroup without the fear that if they don’t bounce back immediately they may never get back into the top league. That applies equally between Championship and League One and League One and Two.

I have spoken in great depth with Rick Parry [chairman] and David Baldwin [CEO] of the EFL and know they are looking at many ways to achieve these goals. They are also listening to clubs, many of whose owners share my views.

For the good of the game, some of the solidarity - albeit sometimes achieved painfully - that has been borne out of recent troubled times may just be the silver lining of this most difficult of periods in the game’s history.

In my view too much emphasis over the last few years, for a club to succeed, has been based on huge cash injections from new owners. I appreciate fans, including many at our club, would welcome benefactor after benefactor prepared to spend big to take their club to the highest levels.

These individuals aren’t ‘two a penny’, and even when they do come along - just as many have failed as have succeeded.

I have always said that I would step aside for an owner who would be prepared to spend more money on Ipswich so long as they are fully committed financially over a period of time to take the club up the league tables.

I fully understand fans’ frustrations that my strategy has hit a big bump in the road over the last couple of years and why this leads to calls for new deep-pocketed ownership to improve the club’s on-field performance but in my heart, I don’t see one-off big investors as the long-term best solution for football.

A new financial deal that sees more of a level playing field would enable clubs to be owned by those intrinsically linked to their local communities, allowing football and the community to stand as one.

The English game, unlike in any other country, has the wealth to do this through new methods of financial distribution, coupled with workable wage controls for sustainability. These financial distributions could then link to ticket affordability to help increase younger fans’ attendance.

Some commitment from clubs to help each other is what is needed to find a long-term workable solution to address many of the game’s problems. Clubs are in it together and have to work in harmony for the benefit of the game as a whole.

That got me thinking about harmony at our club. Every fan, player, coach, manager, owner all want the same thing - success. When that doesn’t happen, it inevitably leads to tensions.

I for one have probably not helped the recent frustrations by my ‘be careful what you wish for comment’ with regards to calls by some for a change in management. It was not meant to offend nor defer blame for past mistakes and if anyone took offence, I apologise.

To be clear I have not been swayed in the past when making important decisions for Ipswich Town, some have been good, some poor but I am 100 per cent responsible for all of them.

The message I was trying to deliver last week is that my assessment of our current progress, based upon the facts and finer details of the uniquely difficult circumstances we are operating in this season, coupled with our results so far, gives me confidence that we have the right players and management to take the club forward. Some will not agree but that’s football - it’s all about opinions.

Supporters will point to the frustrations of not having much to celebrate over many years, not just recently. I’m fully aware that it’s approaching 19 years since we were last in the Premier League and that I have been in charge for 13 of those years.

I can only say the goalposts have moved so many times in terms of finances over much of that time that we, like many clubs, find ourselves in a much tougher place to succeed than say 10 years ago.

In the Championship this year alone there are seven clubs with over £40 million each of parachute money. This makes a huge difference and a gap which we will only bridge through the continuing patient redevelopment of every aspect of the club and hopefully a fairer, more sensible system for revenue sharing across the game for its own good at all levels.

This leads me back to where I started and finding a new financial deal across football. Let’s hope progress is made in the next 12 months and that the ideas mooted in recent weeks don’t get forgotten and swept under the carpet via a series of committee discussions and wishy-washy half measure proposals.

I assure you I will, along with other like-minded owners, be doing all I can to encourage progress for the good of the whole game.

Photo: Matchday Images

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Nobbysnuts added 13:58 - Dec 10
But Norwood does plead guilty to being a liability....

carlisleaway added 13:59 - Dec 10
Stick to the main facts rather than rabble on, not many fans will get to the end of this statement.

itfc24 added 14:04 - Dec 10
Stable door, horse, bolted.

bringonthetractor added 14:05 - Dec 10
Evans, while seemingly well intentioned, has proven over the last decade or so that he has no idea how to run a football club (other than into the ground).

DurhamTownFan added 14:07 - Dec 10
Whenever the guy speaks, it sounds like he makes a lot of sense...

But look where we are after 13 years. Nothing you can say will excuse it, for me

Devereuxxx added 14:09 - Dec 10
This reads like Evans is desperate to reiterate his desire for stability - but honestly where is the ambition?

If he can't see that his approach so far has been an abject failure he is deluded - we finished 11th in League One last season for Pete's sake. The clubs lowest ebb in almost 70 years. Is that somehow excusable because of some long-term ambition for financial stability? And to top it off we're shackled to an underperforming manager because he handed him a long-term contract after a few decent results.

Basically what he's saying is he isn't pragmatic enough to be able to keep up with the shifting environment of running a football club. And why oh why is harping on about parachute payments in the Championship - a league we are no longer in because of mismanagement. We are not in the position we are because of the financial clout of other clubs. It's entirely self-inflicted.

Bluearmy_81 added 14:09 - Dec 10
That should buy him another year of grace amongst the easily pleased happy clappers!! 🤣

BlueInBerks added 14:10 - Dec 10
Balls, big

BlueInBerks added 14:10 - Dec 10
Balls, big

Cookycrew added 14:14 - Dec 10
Sensible words from our own financial saviour.
He gets a lot of stick (mostly justified in terms of the managers brought in), but thanks for financially supporting us through these 13 years.

Suffolkboy added 14:25 - Dec 10
An admirable ,calm look at the present situation and a reasoned and thorough dissertation on the States of Play which have encompassed professional Football ,now for far too long !
If we divorce ourselves from the inevitable close and passionate links to,and memories of ITFC , then ME’s analysis and observations are both pointed and perceptive !
It IS difficult to understand why the madness of impossible financial demands has been ,and continues to be , totally overlooked against the impracticality of achieving success by literally throwing money at it , regardless of business commonsense !
Too much of the untold riches carefully negotiated to come into the game ,has gone outside the realms ,into the hands of Agents, Personal Mgrs and various other ‘hangers- on’ and hugely inflated transfer fees,whilst here in England we all aspire to support and belong to a Club recognised as ‘Successful ‘ and climbing towards the peak with relentless certainty .
Several doses of realism have long been overdue ,sentimental hogwash days are past : rhyme and reason must be coupled with passion and commitment - we have a great Club in ITFC ,the soundest of business strategies ,but Patience and belief are virtues we should embrace !
COYB - all true supporters still love the Club .

Dealblue added 14:38 - Dec 10
Lambert should do the same now and apologise to the fans and the media for being a petulant arse.

BlueandTruesince82 added 14:43 - Dec 10
Fair stammer and it takes a certain strength of character to hold ones hands up and whilst I'm not convinced Lambo should be in charge and remain v much in the out camp I do understand ME's comments RE Finances and do belive football is killing itself

RegencyBlue added 14:52 - Dec 10
You’ve got more to apologise for than that Evans!

slade1 added 14:54 - Dec 10
Get real everybody. The man is doing his best and without him we would be dead and buried by now

BlueArrow added 15:08 - Dec 10
Wants to make it more affordable for younger people to attend. I wonder how many over sixties but under sixty-five he lost when they changed the concessions prices.

North_London_Blue added 15:15 - Dec 10
“if anyone took offence, I apologise”. I hate when people start with if people are offended. That’s not an apology, it’s a more of a subtle middle finger response and he knows it. Just say, it was wrong, I misjudged the wording or something and for that I apologise. Not good enough for me for somebody so senior. He may say he wants harmony and what we want but his actions don’t align.

ScottCandage added 15:16 - Dec 10
Read: How much did that comment cost me? That much? Time for another statement.

Lathers added 15:22 - Dec 10
There’s loads of wider issues at the club, but at least he has apologised for making that comment, so fair play to him and I will accept it. I will also accept a negative rant from Lambert on Saturday evening if we manage to beat Pompey.

Cheshire_Blue added 15:25 - Dec 10
The key Board warriors have much to answer for in terms of where we find ourselves. NOT the so called Happy Clappers. What right do they have to tell ME how to spend his money? Without the support of ME we would have joined Bury and Macclesfield.

ArnieM added 15:29 - Dec 10
I think people should give Evans ( and maybe Lambert too!!) a break. We have a colossal injury list which isn’t helping this season , but we are still 3rd even in the back of that , I know Evans hasn’t got a brilliant TT ord but he’s the owner and we are stuck with each other for now.

The single best thing WE can do is to back this group of players / team to the hilt, vocally, (and on social media too now). We really are stronger when unified behind a common cause , Promotion!

Any demonstrations at the game Saturday will SERIOUSLY HELP Portsmouth and be detrimental to our lads . So pease don’t do it .

ernie added 15:30 - Dec 10
Should buy him another couple of years with some of the fans on this board. The words ' talks a good game but look at the results' comes to mind...

wkj added 15:47 - Dec 10
You can ratifying this by unbanning Phil from the press conferences please, otherwise you're just pretending the fans matter.

BromleyBloo added 15:57 - Dec 10
“I fully understand fans’ frustrations that my strategy has hit a big bump in the road over the last couple of years”

Honestly, the guy’s a complete idiot..............

BromleyBloo added 15:59 - Dec 10
“I have always said that I would step aside for an owner who would be prepared to spend more money on Ipswich so long as they are fully committed financially over a period of time to take the club up the league tables”

Please find one ASAP and disappear..................

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