How much will relegation cost Ipswich?
Relegation for Ipswich Town could cost more than just pride.
The economic impact of moving to League One will be felt not only by the club but potentially also by the surrounding businesses and the wider local economy.
A crucial factor will be whether attendances decline, leading to reduced footfall for businesses – though, in the coming days, the club is expected to cut season ticket prices in a bid to limit the loss of regular punters.
Terry Baxter, chairman of Ipswich Central which represents town centre businesses, admits while the current outlook may appear bleak, relegation could present an opportunity for both the club and the town.
“I think it will more specifically affect match days. In the Championship, even during not a terribly good season, there are 10,000 plus people coming into the town centre,” he said.
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“A lot of them would get food and drink before and after a game. We have to find new ways as a group to make sure the numbers are maintained.”
However, Mr Baxter believes a good run of form from the club in the lower leagues could entice the support of more fans than before.
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“It’s not all doom and gloom, I think opportunities are there for the club to get a squad together that is compelling and generating interest – so people return in greater numbers.”
He added: “There is certainly hope.”
Surrounding pubs are the most likely to suffer the reduced footfall.
Yet, similarly to Mr Baxter, they say the next steps the club take could be all important in maintaining the match day economy.
Oliver Lomas, who manages The Falcon, said: “With what has been going on this season the club has been doing reduced tickets, which has helped a lot.
“It depends what they do at the club, if they look at their prices and adjust them accordingly I think it will be ok.”
He added: “I’m not worried about trade, town fans seem very die hard, the club will still have a following.”