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Steed: We Wanted a Club Aligned With Our Values and That's What We Got
Monday, 27th Jun 2022 18:13

Mark Steed, the chief investment officer of Arizona’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), was delighted to finally make his first visit to Suffolk over the last few days for the first time since last year’s takeover.

PSPRS have a 90 per cent stake in Blues owners Gamechanger 20, which was completed in April last year.

However, due to the Covid situation and one or two other issues, Steed hadn’t made it over to Ipswich until the end of last week having previously been on a family holiday in Ireland.

He spoke with staff and players at Portman Road and Playford Road on Thursday and Friday before watching the 7–0 friendly victory at Needham Market on Saturday when he met the fans.

“I think I’ve probably tried five times to come and it feels good to finally be here,” Steed told iFollow Ipswich.

“It was exactly what we wanted, I think it was fun for the fans, a great atmosphere, good weather, no injuries, lots of goals. Football’s back, it feels nice after the break.

“I was shaking every hand, I didn’t know whether I was shaking the hand of someone who was not an Ipswich fan, but I didn’t meet anyone who was not an Ipswich fan. I think we have a lot in Needham Market and they put on a really good show. They gave a good account of themselves, a great ground, great people, really fun.”

Regarding his meetings with off-field staff, he said: “I’ve been really impressed with the level of sophistication from the department heads, those that have been here for some time, new ones that have come over from various clubs, even that club up to the north.

“It’s great to see their level of competency, all the progress that they’ve made, which is really nice as even though I haven’t been here I’ve obviously been involved and initiatives that we were talking about back in September last year, we’ve made progress on, we’re not talking about the same things over and over again. You can definitely see progress, lots to go, but that was a real highlight.”

He added: “You definitely get a better sense of the scope of the project. The relief is that the negative surprises have been smaller in magnitude than the positive surprises.

“That’s always something you worry about when you make an investment, especially during Covid and you can’t see it. You worry about what you’re going to discover.

“There are always surprises but you always hope that the positive surprises can outweigh the negative surprises, and that’s what we got.”

Steed was also pleased to have met the players: “Ultimately, that’s more important to me. There’s always a risk as an owner because I feel like people view owners of football clubs as ‘other worldly’, these mythical creatures and there’s a risk when you reach out to the fans that sometimes it makes you appear ordinary and less sophisticated in a way.

“But I don’t own the club, it’s my firm that owns the club and it’s more important for me to deliver the message and the expectations that we’re aligned.

“We wanted to purchase a club that was aligned with our values philosophically and I’m happy to say that what we got.

“I was able to talk to the team about those expectations and certainly I think it was felt and some of the players were really kind in their comments, I definitely think they believe it and understand it.”

Having had his first experience of watching the Blues and having seen plenty of goals, Steed is already planning his second visit.

“We have to now,” he continued. “We were joking earlier, Ed Schwartz [a Gamechanger 20 director, the CEO of ORG, the US investment firm which manages funds on behalf of PSPRS] I don’t think has seen a live goal at Ipswich. I’ve seen seven today, so that was great and I want to keep that margin and in order to do that I’m going to have to show up.

“But I’m also mindful that when we come over it’s a bit of a distraction for [manager] Kieran [McKenna], it’s a distraction for players, for some of the department heads and for [CEO] Mark Ashton, who wants to make sure that we get information, they have to think about us.

“We want to maintain accountability and we want to be aware but there’s a point where it can be a burden and he’s got a job, everyone has a job and we want them busy creating value and an experience for the fans, not entertaining us.”


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MickMillsTash added 18:35 - Jun 27
He bought a club aligned with mediocrity, disillusion, negativity, under-investment and bordering on rebellion
Are these the philosophical values he was looking to align with ?

I welcome the investment, am Sure he's a great guy and the actions since the take over have been positive its just the BS lingo that people use in the corporate world that irks - call it an age thing.


PositivelyPortman added 18:42 - Jun 27
Try not to be so cynical Tash.
These appear to be good people and we’re lucky to have them I reckon.
So let’s embrace their values and decency.

TimmyH added 18:44 - Jun 27
Spent the whole interview looking at his tash! don't see many of them in football, think I saw Poirot wearing one the other day in Death on the Nile :)

ButchersBrokenNose added 18:47 - Jun 27
Mickmillstash: I agree with you. I'm glad they took us over, the club's heading in the right direction and I understand they're in it to make money, but the corporate toxic positivity rubs me the wrong way, too. I especially don't buy Covid stopping him from coming over. I live in the US and I've seen four games every season since quarantine started: you get your jabs, fill out your forms and you're on your way. He's just using it as an excuse because we're really not that much of a priority. If you've got too much going on in the US, fine. Just don't make up stories to cover up for it.

mike added 18:53 - Jun 27
Come on fans just embrace all the good they have bought to the club!! Who wants to go back to the Evans era!!

bluelodgeblue added 18:55 - Jun 27
Butchers absolute rubbish my son lives in the US and the restrictions were real???

ButchersBrokenNose added 19:00 - Jun 27
Bluelodge: I was the one who travelled, so either you or your son are full of rubbish.

BossMan added 19:06 - Jun 27
We wanted owners who would help quickly ift us out of the third tier and get us challenging for promotion to the premier League and I think we have found that but time will tell

Dissboyitfc added 19:38 - Jun 27
not sure why there are negative remarks!

Rimsy added 20:10 - Jun 27
Every new face we see connected with the club, either over here or the Americans, come across as approachable, professional and all having Towns interests at heart. Such a breath of fresh air and why anyone can critisise is beyond me. People have short memories.

dusth added 20:10 - Jun 27
Don’t read too much into what he said. He’s not a smooth or analytical talker just trying to be polite. I am Ipswich through and through from ‘61 and the idea that a friendly and upper class brewer will come along again to cause joy and merriment and good anecdotes and incidentally lift us to a European trophy is well … you fill in the blanks. Love what we got and accept the good times when they happen.

bluelodgeblue added 20:18 - Jun 27
Butchers it’s obviously a question of timing? The US closed its borders to the UK for many months?

Beattiesballbag added 22:45 - Jun 27
ButchersBroken, Not everyone lives in your tiny world, maybe he didn't want the Jab, IF that was the case how easy would it have been then. Like so many, you presume a lot but know little.

Churchman added 23:21 - Jun 27
I don’t know. Maybe people yearn for the honest of Evans. Those down to earth communication skills, investment, love for the club and sound judgement.

Or maybe people would prefer the Newcastle head choppers. Executions Saturday, St James Park Sunday. Lovely people.

Personally, I think we’ve been very lucky. Yes, Americans do things their way. I can live with that.

HopefulBlue69 added 23:34 - Jun 27
Maybe I've had a couple of beers tonight but I find it incredible that "fans" on here are moaning about this interview. Yes he looks a tool with his task waxed but let's just rejoice that we are going in the right direction and cut the guys some slack. America is huge and diverse. His interview is targeted at his pension fund website. As long as they continue to allow the club to regenerate and help to reach out to the 250K fans in East Anglia region, we have a chance to enjoy fun times again...

bakerblue added 06:17 - Jun 28
I found Mark Steed to be professional, courteous and engaging, in common with all of the American colleagues in the ownership that we’ve heard from. Positive certainty, but I saw a noticeable lack of bs ie happy to talk about negative surprises as well, albeit in the minority. Shows he means business. I find the negativity extraordinary. Can’t wait for 30th July personally.

Bazza8564 added 06:53 - Jun 28
What an odd and frankly absurd set of comments. This guy is part of the group that has SAVED our football club.

Bluearmy_81 added 09:58 - Jun 28
I think some of you would prefer a BS 5 point plan and being strung along for years on end as we sunk from one embarrassing low to the next?! Mind blowing...

DMDC added 10:01 - Jun 28
l like what they say but l will reserve judgement.Until we get out of this league nothing will change.And lm not convinced we will this season with what we have signed so far.

PortmanTerrorist added 10:24 - Jun 28
WTF MickMillsTash ? When you look for investment, you look beyond the current (OK 10 years) travails which created the opportunity, and see what underpins the prospect, work out what it will take to revitalise and capitalise the prospect, and decide if it is a fit and something that you can achieve. The man just articulated that on behalf of the owners far better than I just did and you just want to have a sly dig, probably down to the North American origins ?

I live and breath North American business and culture daily, and while it is different, that is not a reason to negatively judge.....and so much better to be proud of who was willing to invest in our Club, rather than having to decide whether to keep my season ticket because of blood money being ploughed in to my Club; a decision facing certain supporters around the country today. Get a grip !

tractordamage added 10:55 - Jun 28
He's part of a good gang of people who took over the club, so it's natural for these guys to trigger the toxic narcissistic elements (like ButchersBrokenNose etc).

Sadistic narcissistic trolls will naturally 'project' their own toxicity and mindset onto others. Hence ButchersBrokenNose mentioned 'Toxic', but zero self-awareness.
Note the self-absorption too, the abusive behaviour, and the the lack of 'reality' (ie Pandemic international travel behaviour).

Narcs can't self-analyse (due to ego) so they 'project' instead. So I'd ignore the toxic fella, or enjoy his confirmation that these new owners are good guys ('Cluster B' personality disorder types get triggered by someone's good character, because it's something they can't it's a good sign if toxic peeps get triggered!).


Orraman added 11:07 - Jun 28
Having retired after several years in middle management with a national retailer, I used to think that corporate language during meetings was so much pretentious BS. However these Yanks take it to another level. Do they ever stop and listen to themselves or are they too busy continuously spouting their BS to hear it?
It would appear at this early stage that Gamechanger 20 are indeed proving to be a force for good regarding all things ITFC but never lose sight of the fact that investment companies are in it for one reason and that is to make fast bucks.
His comment about he and his colleagues not coming over too often as it could prove a distraction for manager and players is beyond parody. Get over yourselves

Bazza8564 added 11:32 - Jun 28
OMG the comments get more narrow minded by the minute.
Game changer can only take a profit from this if they can increase its value, ie put it back up into the PL so they can sell it on for 600m to an even more ambitious group.
Benefits the club the fans and everyone associated.
And as for comments about brand values and BS phrases, well if you are so narrow minded and think that having international investment is a con, they should wake up and realize there’s more at stake here than just shouting “upper towen” and songs about Delia.
Broaden your horizons a bit

Tokey added 11:37 - Jun 28
Some really odd comments on here (I'm looking at you, Orraman).
I would suggest you retired at the right time, the world has moved on and these 'BS' words mean something in the modern world.
Regards making a fast buck, having worked in the pension industry for a few years I don't think you'd last long if that was your guiding principle as a chief investment officer.

Cannot fathom how anyone can see anything negative here. You started it all off, MMTash and everyone else has felt compelled to comment on it (I know, I know....including me).

I'm shutting your negativity out - welcome aboard, Mr Steed and thanks for investing in our club!

Bazza8564 added 11:39 - Jun 28
well said Tokey

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