TODAY the East Anglian Daily Times asks you, has Marcus Evans been good for Ipswich Town Football Club?

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Friday marks the 10th anniversary of Ipswich Town’s relegation from the Premier League, with the Blues set to be the Championship’s longest serving club next season.

The last four and half of those seasons have been under the ownership of the wealthy, but reclusive Marcus Evans.

When he first took over in December 2007, the Blues were fifth in the table. Since then, the final league table finishes achieved during his regime reads eighth, ninth, 15th, 13th and 15th.

Jim Magilton and Roy Keane were both given little over a year by Evans before receiving the sack, with him now saying that he will give Paul Jewell time to get things right after an inauspicious start to life at Portman Road.

Not a single players has been bought and then sold for profit during the Evans era, with key players such as Gareth McAuley, David Norris and Grant Leadbitter all leaving on Bosman free transfers.

Youngsters such as Jordan Rhodes and Liam Trotter have flourished since leaving the Blues, while there has been much controversy surrounding the decision to apply for ‘Category Two’ academy status.

Without Evans’ investment though, the club – which was struggling to deal with the losses being made under previous chairman David Sheepshanks – might arguably be in a far worse position.

The East Anglian Daily Times will publish a discussion on this topic on Friday and we’d love to include your views.

Has the club changed under the Evans regime? Has any progress been made since he took over? Does it bother you that the club’s owner prefers to remain out of the public eye?

Either post your comments below, or e-mail: sport@eadt.co.uk.

31 comments

  • ME is actually the 135th richest person....not the 60th....according to the 2012 Sunday Times Rich List

    Report this comment

    Kevin Bailey

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • Marcus Evans has been a necessary evil. He hasn’t wiped out our debt and indeed he has increased it but I’m confident from all I’ve heard of him that he isn’t going to pull the plug on us. Indeed he will be all too aware that things have far from gone to plan up this point, the potential at ITFC is huge from both a footballing and business perspective. Get in the PL, his brand will be everywhere and I imagine that will be far too tempting to walk away from, as far away as that goal seems. Footballing success can rest so much on decisions though. Imagine what where we’d be right now if he’d plucked for David McNally rather than Simon Clegg. Naaaridge plumped for him, he plumped for Paul Lambchops whilst we plumped for Clegg and big names. But for the right decisions we could have taken on Paul Lambchops. Or Brendan Rodgers. Or Brian McDermot. Or Nigel Adkins. I’d love to see him get rid of Simon Clegg and get in a footballing man who can aide him in finding the right manager for this club and implement the right attitude towards how THIS club should be run. Not what worked for Wigan and Bradford, two clubs completely different from ourselves. ME is not the problem, SC is.

    Report this comment

    Mike Rotch

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • We have to trust him, simple as that because not exactly a queue of prospective buyers of a business with precious little assets.We are led to believe his personal wealth has increased since taking over ITFC possibly on the back of RK publicity. Financially we don't know and with the new rules will the money make any difference? What is certain is that self-generated income has decreased due to lack of on field success future prospects and sadly almost a lost generation of potential fanbase. Big mistake-sacking RK.

    Report this comment

    Brian Wren

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • Its a bit of a simplistic poll really given the veil of secrecy which surrounds ITFC and Evans since takeover. How are the supporters meant to know whats really going on - all we can do is state opinions from afar (and thats one of they key problems). "Has Marcus Evan's financial backing been critical for keeping ITFC a going concern?" - the answer would surely be 'yes'. and we must remember that. But - "Has Marcus Evans gone about operating the club in the right way since becoming owner?" - on the objective evidence the answer must be a resounding 'no'. I think the main problem is the lack of football knowledge at the top, and I include Evans in that. We have a board and CEO with top business backgrounds (apparently), but football is a bubble. A decent investment or appointment however good on paper, doesn't always come good. You sometimes need the intimate understanding of the game to make those calls. I think (hope) Evan's has the right intentions for the club, but I wish he'd appoint a David McNally or Adam Pearson at a senior level to steer the football operations 100% for him. Perhaps then our Academy might get the attention it deserves and the Premier League wouldn't look such a distant proposition.

    Report this comment

    IpsRich

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • I'm afraid bad investments started before ME. Anyone remember Finidi George or Mateo Sereni. The Bobby Robson's of this World are few and far between. O.k Bobby made a few mistakes, but the art is to make fewer mistakes than successes and Bobby certainly did that. Did the Cobbolds know any more about football than ME, was David Sheepshanks a shrewder business man than ME. The answer to both these questions is an emphatic NO. The trouble with football these days is too much money and only a limited amount of success available. What would be said it it was possible for every team in whatever League to win a Trophy, Cup, Shield or whatever. Would the fans be happy. No, and why not, because it would totally devalue winning. Yet, Chairman, Managers, Old Uncle Tom Cobbly and all are vilified by a large proportion of fans if their team is not "Successful" So ME's only mistakes are that his choice of Managers has not been that great. But how many managers are "Great" anyway. Bobby was, Sir Alex is, Jos'e believes he is, Bill Shankley, Matt Busby, Bertie Mee and Brian Clough. Otherwise they seek out a profile, interview and then offer, after that it's pot luck. Just to give you some idea as to how difficult it is to pick the right man for the job, I personally have been interviewed about 20 times in my life, I'm now nearly 62. I have never truthfully fancied any of the jobs, have few qualifications and yet I have been offered every job I ever applied for.

    Report this comment

    whymarkmariner

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • There seems, in today's football to be two types of owners, the one's that put millions into a club, probably never expecting to get it back and those like M.E. who are purely in it as an offshoot of their main business, probably to make losses they can offset for tax reasons. this doesn't necessarily mean they don't want success, but I think it lessens the need for it. On this score we will be able to deduce the true attitude by the signings for the coming season. It's a poor excuse if few and mediocre signings are made based on this "living within a clubs means" Yes, gates gave fallen, but surely whatever sponsorship M.E. puts in decides what they have for signings? Maybe, again it's a business issue, but surely independent sponsorship would benefit more ? or even dual sponsorship with Evans.

    Report this comment

    whymarkmariner

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • To be fair to Marcus Evans you can't really criticise the guy in terms of commitment and respect for the club. If you face up to the fact that without the man the club would struggle to continue as a business and then you have another Pompey on your hands. The 'debt' owed to Evans is something nobody can really give an accurate account for. Although it is marked as debt it's like me giving my eldest £10 and then saying he's £10 in debt to me! Evans obviously feels to cost to him running the club as it is, is simply a small price to pay once the club finally achieves promotion. To summarise, I would say we are very lucky to have an owner with patience of Evans who truly embraces what the club stands for in terms of patience with his managers, whom would of been sacked a lot sooner than Evans has chosen too, or not in the case of Jewell. Also anyone who says the club shouldn't of sold out or doubts Evans for one second should maybe ask a Portsmouth or Rangers fan what they would give to have a owner with the commitment and patience as ours, then see if you still have a problem with him.

    Report this comment

    Hark Now Hear

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • @TrueBlue: Maybe Rob has responded, but I am not sure that his answer is correct. The debt was (reportedly) purchased for £6.4m. There were further investments of £8.1m in Preference (none voting) shares and £3.9m in Ordinary shares, making a total of about £18.4m. Reportedly the accrual of interest on the debt is £2.5m pa and possibly £0.6m on the Preference Shares giving a total (paper) return of about 17% pa on the total outlay. This does not seem unreasonable to me for a speculative investment; in practice the investments and profits will only be realised by MEI if promotion is achieved.

    Report this comment

    Chris Hampshire

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • Let's see - before the sell out Town were a club with a decent reputation albeit utterly skint and living on past glories. Now they are a laughing stock with a mystery owner bleeding the club dry, utterly skint and living off past glories. In a word the answer is a resounding 'no' (except I suspect to Tom)

    Report this comment

    Rob Steroo

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • Fact is had ME not stepped in when he did we might not have a club at all. Having Britans 60th richest man backing us is a huge help. As others have said below he shows no sign of pulling the plug, he is after all a fan.

    Report this comment

    TrueBlue

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • About a week after Sheepshanks started talking to Marcus Evans he refused an offer from Gold & Sullivan, the now current west ham and former birmingham owners.... I am worried for the long term future of the club - why are the next generation of fans going to support Ipswich when tickets are overpriced, atmosphere at portman road is non existent, and they have never seen us play when we were a decent football team?

    Report this comment

    Dave Cross

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • Mike Wyatt, thank you for the acknowledgement. Sandy Brown, you state that ME invested £32M, which is not correct. That was the face value of the debt, which he bought for £6.4M, and charges £2.56M a year interest on...which is compounded as well. Frankly, we are in a worse position now, in every single way than December 2007. We have more debt (over twice as much). We have less season ticket holders, we have falling attendances, we have a less capable manager (Magilton pre-Evans was ding a better job then, and we played better football, than Jewell is now) we have a weaker squad, a weaker academy, and we have lost several other non-tangible things in y view as well. Our reputation, our values, and most importantly of all, our identity, which is why some supporters, like myself, are so annoyed with the situation, yet others seem to think that ME has saved the club, when the main debtor (aviva) had not charged us interest for the two years before ME took over, as majority shareholder (87.5%, not 89% as I mistakenly posted before) and sold the debt for 20%, so would have negotiated something had ME not been around. We had a capable CEO in Derek Bowden, whereas my view is that Clegg is anything but capable. We did not allow our most saleable players to walk away for free, and we actually had a great academy. Also, ticket prices were not as exorbitant, and we were a happy club, albeit a small minority wanted Jim out, although there is is usually a small minority in every club that wants the current manager out. It was not perfect, but we were mainly united, whereas now, the club is very divided. A mess, from top to bottom, going nowhere. So, no, ME has not been good for ITFC, he has been an utter disaster. It was a bad, bad day when he turned up, for sure.

    Report this comment

    Kevin Bailey

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • While I think that ME's purchase of the club has certainly benefited the financial stability of the club, It also appears to have had a detrimental effect on the value of the club's purchases in the transfer market. Before ME arrived, the managers had to be extremely careful where they invested their money, as there was such a tight budget. This meant that, more often than not, the acquisitions proved to be very good value. The lack of money also meant that the youth system played an integral part in the success of the first team, as younger players do not tend to demand the inflated wage of more seasoned professionals. The introduction of ME's extensive, but not quite bottomless, pot of money means that managers are less concerned with getting value for money as they know there will always be some money to spend when they want it. This results in paying vastly inflated transfer fees for players like Lee Martin and Tamas Priskin who, whilst effective players when on form, are not worth the money that we payed for them. That said, there have been some more recent improvements in transfer policy, such as the signing of Michael Chopra who, despite his off the field problems, has scored with more regularity than some of our previous strikers in recent years. Also, the signing of Andy Drury and Aaron Cresswell as well as the emergence of Tommy Smith has given me hope that the club has learnt from some of the previous mistakes and is starting to move in the right direction

    Report this comment

    Tim Gilbert

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • Tom, it is the nature of the financial arrangement that Evans has structured which is hurting us, and I suggest that you do not understand it, or else you would not make the comments that you do regarding it

    Report this comment

    Kevin Bailey

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • From a financial point of view, yes Marcus Evans has been good for ITFC, but from a footballing point of view, no. He is a business man and once he took over the £32 million of debts in December 2007 ITFC became a business. Gone was the family club where in the 20032004 season nearly 3000 people invested their hard earned money into a share issue to help the club and own a bit of ITFC. Unfortunately Marcus Evans is not a "football" man. His first mistake was to remove Derek Bowden the Chief Executive who is a football man and replace him with Simon Clegg. It then became the blind leading the blind. In any business the buck stops with the person at the top. Lets face it, if we had £32 million to invest and then top it up with another £12 million for new players as Marcus Evans did on "takeover" we would want to pull the strings. Simon Clegg and Paul Jewell are only "yes" men. Marcus Evans gambled on a quick return to the Premiership. That has not happened and nor is it likely to happen. Marcus Evans' debt is growing and will continue to grow. Gate receipts do not even cover the wage bill. Marcus Evans had a five year plan, so that must be up in December 2012. I wonder what happens then?

    Report this comment

    Sandy Brown

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • No. No. And, thrice, no.

    Report this comment

    Bertie Shrimp

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • This is an impossible question to answer fully without comparing the situation we would be in without his input. In the absence of a parallel universe, this is impossible, of course. He has spent money on the team and three managers but it has not delivered success to date. That is not to say that we would be in a better position had we not had any money, since we would have faced a host of other problems (no money to buy players, having to sell players, possibly the club going out of business, which it almost did). So I don't see how any conclusive view can be given. A lot of supporters are frustrated at things now because of the league finish, but that is not in itself evidence of whether ME has been a good or bad thing, for the reasons at the start of my post.

    Report this comment

    Tom

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • Maybe Rob- Wow you actually responed to a comment on here- but those people didnt dip their hands in their pockets did they. ME did, KB thank you for the correction, but 60th, 120th does it matter fact is without him we may have no club, then who would we support? One assumes colchester?

    Report this comment

    TrueBlue

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • As my skool report always said. Could have done better

    Report this comment

    david bennett

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • As I understand it, ME invested about £18.6m to own the club. There were three parts to this investment. 1) MEI bought the debt of £32m from Norwich Union and Barclays for a rumoured £6.4m and charges 7% interest on the full £32m. This means the debt increases by about £2.5m (as KB says) per year. (One could argue that this is a 40% interest rate on £6.4m). However, this debt cannot be sold outside the ME Group unless the club is sold as well; and the fact is, this debt will never get repaid in full unless the Town gets promoted (who would buy it otherwise). Also a condition of the sale is that MEI cannot receive more than the net investment made in acquiring the debt ie £6.4m plus accrued interest at £2.5m per year. The effective high interest rate being charged is justified because this is a very speculative investment. 2) ME also invested £8.1m in 7% preference shares in the Club; this 7% (an additional £0.6m per year) is only payable if the Club can afford it and he cannot sell these shares before the club has been in the premiership for a continuous period of 5 years. 3) ME also paid £3.9m for a number of ordinary shares in the club to give him the 87.5% stake. Bottom line, ME will lose a lot of money if promotion does not happen and will make a lot if it does. So good luck to him I say – I hope he makes a lot of money because this will mean we have been promoted!

    Report this comment

    Chris Hampshire

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • Everything Kevin Bailey said,spot on. The appointment of Keane was unforgivable as was the running down of contracts. I voted at the EGM for Evans,how I regret that,Bryan Knights was right.

    Report this comment

    mike blunt

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • I am just thankful it seems we have decent financial backing from someone who appears to have the same passionate desire as the fans to get this football club into the Premier League. Can anyone blame him for being reclusive?Look at the various stick new club owners have been getting over the years! Let's just appreciate that he is putting an awful lot of cash into our club irrespective of how wealthy he is. And we can be thankful that as yet he hasn't tried to change our kit colour or bought into the club thinking it is a franchise a'la Cardiff and Blackburn respectively!

    Report this comment

    Roll-Reuser-44

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • I cant say that he has been bad at all. People might say that he has been a bit tight fisted with transfer money, but in the current climate it is important to be making a profit as a football club whilst having success. It would be good to have some consistent results in the coming season, which is the only thing that has been missing from Town since Marcus Evans took charge.

    Report this comment

    Robert Spencer

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • So far, No. The reasons have been argued out by many before me and, knowing that I may well be repeating others clearly presented views, I summarise my opinion 1) Lack of meaningful leadership at the Executive level. A leader with a strong football and business background was needed. Regretfully, both strands are lacking in the seat-holder. 2) A lack of understanding on the part of the owner of the nature of the club, its history, its relevance to the community and the need for a synergy between the club and its supporters. 3) Inappropriate managerial appointments, especially Paul Jewell who appears incapable of understanding that the clubs strengths (rapidly diminishing) and assets - such as its once outstanding youth development programme - are its life blood. 4) The debt situation so ably explained by Kevin Bailey and others - that of course one is entitled to take interest on a debt, but ethically only on the purchase price of the liability - not on its original value. 5) It is by no means a given that the club would have returned to administration without the intervention of Evans. Sometimes, as the saying goes,it is better to cut your cloth accordingly.... It may well have transpired that, by continuing with a strong youth policy, selling as necessary, but at the same time building a team from those foundations, augmented by some astute signings, the future would be considerably brighter than the gloom that surrounds the club today. Joe Royal showed how it could be done. 6) A half empty ground, populated with weary resignation that is in sharp contrast to, again, Joe Royal's day. Personally, I welcomed the advent of Evans. Now I realise that you really do have to be careful what you wish for.

    Report this comment

    Mike Wyatt

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • TrueBlue the club was bought for £6.4 million. Two of Town's board at the time could have stepped in with that amount had they chose to do so. Assuming 30,000 people with a passing interest in Ipswich Town who would want to be lifelong members with a say in running their club, that is a mere £250 per 'supporter'. Admittedly most of the true supporters had been bled dry of money and enthusiasm in the Sheepshanks era with worthless shares - but as a meaningful exercise in saving the club that is a back of a fag packet illustration that the club could very easily have been saved and run within its means if the easy option and mirage of 'investment' by a multi-zillionaire had not been handed over on a plate. As you will know from reading this once interesting newspaper most Town fans do not go and watch regularly...this does not mean they are not supporters... the people who go and arrogantly and deludedly call themselves true fans are merely the tip of the iceberg of an ever-changing population witnessing the shambolic goings on which frankly now has little appeal to anyone with a connection to Town's past.

    Report this comment

    Rob Steroo

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • Chris, I agree with thrust of your post, with one subtle difference, which is that ME is saving bundles of tax currently, by offsetting the debt interest in one part of his group against profits made elsewhere in the group, so he is benefiting financially indirectly as of now. It is also impossible to put a goodwill figure on the impact of him having access to the football club and it's facilities when taking into account his Olympic Ticketing rights. As far as the £6.4M is concerned, my understanding is that the interest rate is 8%, and as of this December, it will have accrued interest of £15.68M, meaning that ME is owed £22.08M for the initial outlay of £6.4M If the preference shares are also taken into account, the £8.1M is also accruing rolled up deferred interest, which as you correctly say, only actually becomes payable, once we have been in the Premiership for 5 successive years. However, in the meantime, it is now worth £11.48M. So, the outlay of £14.5M, is now worth £33.56M after just 5 years. The additional £3.9M you mention, has effectively given him the 87.5% ownership that you mention, without getting bogged down in how much ownership the preference shares provide.

    Report this comment

    Kevin Bailey

    Friday, May 11, 2012

  • A quick comment for those who post about the debtinterest issue - the payment of interest on an investment to the investor in return for capital is absolutely standard practice in all businesses. ME never claimed to be an altruistic white knight - he is a businessman who wants to make a profit whilst at the same time getting the club promoted and seeing them progress. Nothing wrong with that at all, and those who think there is are, I imagine, more football fans than businessmen.

    Report this comment

    Tom

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • I couldn't care less if ME is a public person or not (it isn't about 'him', I support the team, not the owner). My concern is with the increasing debt. I appreciate that ME bought the debt that ITFC owed, but since then it appears to have doubled- this doesn't seem the action of a massive benefactor. Equally, sounds were coming from PR indicating the intension of an early return to the Prem, which clearly isn't going to happen soon- this has resulted in the above mentioned debt. I understand football is a business, I understand that ME may have bought the club with the intension of making some form of profit, but I don;t have to like the position it has left the club in. Yes (as Tom often says) ME may well hold off the debt until we get to the Prem, but that path leads to further pain and the club not benefitting from that money. Anyone with any sense of what a club the size of ours needs to do to achieve any lasting success will know it has to involve a long term youth project. ME appointed RK who seemed to undertsand this, but had too little man-management skills. ME then appointed PJ who (by his own admission) had no workable plan, no back-up plan and has clearly NO youth nurturing ability or confidence. I'd personally like to know ME's intensions for the club (short term and long term) and what his intensions with the debt are. Couldn't care what he looks like, just that he won;t leave us in the lurch and he appreciated that obvious mistakes aren't to occur again.

    Report this comment

    I am Spartacus

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

  • Bleeding the club dry" is he? Funny that, given he's putting around £5m a year into the club just to keep it afloat. Whatever view people have on the poor showing in the last 5 years, the club is one of the few in the divison that aren't looking over their shoulder at the administrators. the new financial rules coming in will hit plenty of clubs very hard, probably push a few to the brink, but town are highly unlikely to be one of them.

    Report this comment

    Andrew Mehen

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • It can only be good to have the backing of a millionaire behind Ipswich Town..The only drawback I can is that he doesn't come alone. (No offence Mr Clegg.)

    Report this comment

    newman

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • No one will convince me this club is in any way better off in the hands of marcus evans , we have sold far better players ( Rhodes ,Trotter , walters and Wickham) than we have purchased and whereas in the days before his tenure we always had the youth academy developing potential first team players , mr Evans has appointed a manager who has no idea how to bring these lads through , which , i presume, is why he refuses to upgrade our academy status. A sorry state of affairs all round

    Report this comment

    KEVIN FRANCIS

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Homes24
Jobs24
Drive24
LocalSearch24
MyDate24
MyPhotos24
FamilyNotices24
Weddingsite

loading...
Click here to read more of our digital publications

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT