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We are going through challenging times admits Simon Clegg but Ipswich Town still have ‘full support’ of Marcus Evans

PUBLISHED: 14:20 12 December 2012

Simon Clegg and Mick McCarthy

Simon Clegg and Mick McCarthy

Archant

IPSWICH Town chief executive Simon Clegg remained positive when outlining to shareholders the economic challenges the club is facing at last night’s PLC Annual General Meeting.

However, flanked by manager Mick McCarthy, he insisted that Marcus Evans remains as committed to the club as ever as the owner nears his five-year anniversary.

Speaking to more than 100 shareholders in the Sir Bobby Robson Suite at Portman Road, Clegg said that season ticket sales had dropped from 12,719 to 12,286 this season, while average attendances have dropped from 18,195 to 16,816.

He also emphasised how new Financial Fair Play rules – which will see Championship clubs punished for going beyond a £3million deviation of break-even next season – had to be considered.

And he also stressed how the decision to go for Category Two status under the new Elite Player Performance Plan had seen the club spend significant money on hiring new staff and upgrading facilities for a stringent audit process.

“These are challenging times, but the circumstances we face are not unique – they are the same for all our Championship rivals,” said Clegg.

“We continue to receive the full support of the owner, Marcus Evans. You will all recognise the fact that he has spent a lot of money over the near five years that he has owned this club. And he continues to be as committed today as the day he joined.

“If you question that, you only need to look at the ongoing commitment he made to player acquisitions over the summer and indeed the appointment of Mick McCarthy as manager.

“I have absolutely no doubt that Mick will enjoy the same sort of financial support that previous managers have done.

“We need to make sure we continue to protect this football club so that it doesn’t go the way Rangers and Portsmouth have done recently (administration), but I do also genuinely belief that we can continue to be competitive with other Championship clubs.”

PLC chairman Roger Finbow said: “It’s inevitable that when new faces arrive from outside the local community, some of our supporters will say ‘things ain’t what they used to be’ – that these outsiders won’t understand the essence of this club.

“Let me assure you that Marcus Evans, Simon Clegg and Mick McCarthy are all just as proud of our reputation as you are, and they are all anxious to ensure that the aspects of the club which have made it historically unique are preserved.

“May I therefore encourage you all to give your absolute support to the management and players and encourage the nay-sayers, the cynical and the doubters to do likewise.”

Clegg and John Kerr were both re-elected to the PLC board, while Liz Edwards’ addition was confirmed.

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Ipswich Town new boy Dominic Iorfa believes his strongest position, in the long-term, will be centre-back.

Three of Ipswich Town’s summer signings are struggling to be fit for next Saturday’s Championship opener against Birmingham City, at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he will be restricted to signing a striker on loan due to the fact the Blues can’t compete financially with some of the ‘bonkers’ transfer fees being spent in the Championship.

Blues fans of all ages have gathered at Portman Road today to meet their heroes ahead of the start of the new season.

Huge queues are building up outside Portman Road this morning for today’s annual Ipswich Town Open Day.

The second tier season starts next Friday, however, clubs are working frantically to add to their squads, ahead of a long campaign. Several deals HAVE already been done though and CHRIS BRAMMER picks out six of the best.

Nearly 60 per cent of Ipswich Town fans would like to see Luke Chambers start in the heart of the Blues defence, alongside Adam Webster, when the Championship season begins next Saturday.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he is prepared to play a waiting game to sign the right striker before the transfer window shuts.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy won’t sacrifice results to satisfy supporters’ thirst for more attractive football at Portman Road this season.

Colchester United manager John McGreal insists his players still have a lot of room for improvement, ahead of the U’s League Two opener at Accrington Stanley, next Saturday.

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