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Town Takeover Close
Friday, 26th Feb 2021 15:05

TWTD understands Town’s US-backed takeover could happen as soon as next month.

As reported yesterday, speculation regarding a takeover at Portman Road has been circulating for a couple of weeks but is more advanced than has previously been suggested.

We understand the deal which would see the club change hands to a US-based group is worth £30 million.

Current owner Marcus Evans, who is set to write-off his debt, which will now have climbed to around £100 million, is understood to be keeping a five per cent stake in Town, presumably so he could potentially profit from a future sale if and when the Blues reach the Premier League.

It’s also believed that Evans will keep hold of some of the training ground, some or all of the Bent Lane side of the facility, with development having long been eyed for a small section of the field between already existing housing close to the road.

The ownership of that part of the training ground was transferred to another Evans company, London & Merchant Properties Limited, previously known as Marcus Evans (Guernsey) Ltd, in 2011 largely for tax reasons.

While Brett Johnson, from Phoenix Rising and FC Tucson, has entered the spotlight after following Town’s Twitter account in recent days, we understand the 51-year-old is just one of a number of investors.

TWTD understands that much of the cash will come from the pension fund for the fire and police services of a so-far unnamed US state.

Bristol City chief executive Mark Ashton has been strongly linked with the same role at Town as part of the takeover, and Robins head of operations/club secretary Luke Werhun is also believed to be wanted by the new set-up. However, there is no confirmation that either will be leaving Ashton Gate.

It’s believed that the consortium will look to bring in a new manager with The Athletic reporting that Paul Cook will be the man to replace current boss Paul Lambert.

Cook, 54, has been out of work since resigning from Wigan Athletic in the summer, having previously had spells in charge of Southport, Sligo, Accrington, Chesterfield and Portsmouth.

TWTD reported in January that Cook had been sounded out by Evans about taking over at Town should there be a vacancy.

Compensation will be due to the Latics' administrators with Cook still in contract with the Lancastrians when he departed.

Lincoln boss Michael Appleton was believed to be a target having previously worked at Oxford United with Ashton and Mike O’Leary, who along with Johnson is a director of Gamechanger 20, a company which was formed last year and is believed to be the vehicle for facilitating the takeover. Ashton is not among the directors.

However, Appleton yesterday signed a new four-year deal with the Imps and may have been less keen to move on from the division’s second-placed side even prior to penning his new contract.

Also among the directors of Gamechanger 20 is Berke Bakay, principal owner, governor and co-chairman of Phoenix Rising, who made his money from Kona Grill, a restaurant chain.

Like Ashton, O'Leary, who appears to be the driving force behind the consortium, has a background at West Brom having been the chief executive officer at the Hawthorns for two years in the early 2000s.

The takeover, which is not yet signed and sealed, would see a summer of great change at Portman Road, both on the field and off it.


Photo: Matchday Images



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JackSted added 15:06 - Feb 26
I could kiss you daddy Phil !!
5

Blocker123 added 15:07 - Feb 26
😳😳😳
1

Fadedblue added 15:08 - Feb 26
Great news. But I'm not sure I'd want my pension fund investing in ITFC just at the moment!
Let's hope this is the start of a long-awaited change in our fortunes and that it's not too late for this season.
21

LancsBlue added 15:10 - Feb 26
I remember the excitement when Marcus Evans took over. Let's just be cautious until the full story is revealed and hope that it's the real deal.
50

Swailsey added 15:12 - Feb 26
PLEASE
5

north_stand77 added 15:12 - Feb 26

Wow, is it really happening? Yesssss
4

BartonBluee added 15:13 - Feb 26
A little worrying the mention of a pension fund. Anyone with a pension knows you invest the money expecting a return at some point... Does this mean our club is going to enter a period of constant changing of ownership? Evans has his many flaws but every club should need / want consistency.
22

trueblues78 added 15:16 - Feb 26
Please god be good investors!!! I want to shove be careful what you wish for where the sun doesn’t shine.
6

cooper4england added 15:17 - Feb 26
OH MY DAYS!
3

midlandblue54 added 15:19 - Feb 26
Yankee Doodle Dandy !
4

theipswichfile added 15:19 - Feb 26
I understand why people are urging caution but let's be frank - we either slowly fade away into the footballing abyss under Evans stewardship, or we potentially freefall into it with a new owner if things go wrong. If this materialises then at least it represents a chance that things could get better, whereas with Evans, the trajectory looks pretty certain to only get worse.
26

belgablue added 15:20 - Feb 26
Ipswich Town Soccer Club! Show me the money.
5

johnwarksshorts added 15:20 - Feb 26
Interesting. But it's not done till it's done.
2

Blue_Blood_ added 15:21 - Feb 26
Still won’t believe it until I see it, too good to be true...
And Phil I thought you were better than that
-15

cooper4england added 15:22 - Feb 26
Actually I'm not sure how comfortable I am with this...... Feels a bit "Robert Maxwell"

I still think that if Marcus had just got the right manager in place we could have been a successful club. Admittedly he appoints them but there haven't been many from Keane, McCarthy, Hurst and Lambert who we didn't celebrate when they first came in.
7

90z added 15:22 - Feb 26
🤞🤞
1

Bert added 15:22 - Feb 26
Good work TWTD. Let’s hope this passes all the tests so that we are not faced with another saga. As with all football clubs that are owned by a consortium, we are unlikely to get the emotional stake we hanker after but then we have not got that with Evans anyway.
7

TimmyH added 15:23 - Feb 26
Wouldn't want to have a pension if I was working in Policing or firefighting in California or Arizona then with this and global warming :)

Well the rumour is gathering pace but all a bit vague but looks like a US consortium.
-1

BangaloreBlues added 15:23 - Feb 26
Another Paul....
They should be pauled up on that.
4

rugbytomc added 15:23 - Feb 26
I'd jump at the chance to get Paul Cook!
3

LWNR2013 added 15:23 - Feb 26
No more free beer then.
1

TimmyH added 15:23 - Feb 26
I should say Paul Cook if true would be a sound replacement for Lambert.
6

TimmyH added 15:25 - Feb 26
Third time lucky with a Paul...that's all I will say, IF the rumour is true.
-1

CaptainAhab added 15:25 - Feb 26
My only criticism with the article is the sentence "... if and when the Blues reach the Premier League"
We all know there's no if about it!
1

oioihardy added 15:25 - Feb 26
If true and it happens ... fair play marcus evans !! Writting off all the debt !! A great gesture... im not his biggest fan but thats the best thing any owner can do !!! Truly brilliant that

And now to the future!!! Its looking brighter
32


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