Ian Milne hopes Ipswich Town fans keep the faith and renew season tickets
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne has urged the club’s supporters to keep the faith as many seriously consider whether to renew their season tickets for what looks like being a 15th successive Championship campaign.
The Blues’ spirited sixth-place finish in 2014/15 shook many fans out of a growing state of apathy, but a largely frustrating follow-up campaign, full of forgettable home spectacles, has left many questioning whether to reinvest ahead of Monday’s early bird discount deadline.
Town currently have little more than 13,500 season ticket holders, with sales for 2016/17 around 3% down on this time last year. If that trend continues then that would equate to a drop off of around 400 and the loss of around £200,000 income.
“At the moment it’s still very early days in terms of judging season ticket renewals,” said Milne, speaking after Tuesday night’s goalless draw with Charlton at Portman Road. “The direct debit (automatic renewal) has just gone in and that seems to be holding up.
“We came off a big high last season and expectations rose. I totally understand that people are frustrated. Mick (McCarthy) is frustrated, the players are frustrated too. They are all their own biggest critics.
“It’s up to people to make their own judgements, but naturally I hope they stick with us. I hope they keep the faith.”
Mick McCarthy’s pragmatic style of play and Marcus Evans’ continued limited spend on transfer fees are the two big topics of debate among fans at present.
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“If Mick feels we’ve got to play a certain way then we have to trust that’s the right thing to do,” said Milne. “Marcus isn’t the sort of owner that interferes on the football side of things. We haven’t lost our faith in Mick.
“Regards investment, our players’ salary bill has gone up by 25% over the last two seasons. It’s gone up by 15% in the last year. We’ve just spent another £750,000 on the academy. It’s been an ever-increasing budget and it will continue to increase.
“Mick and Marcus will talk about money again in the summer. Marcus will continue to invest at a high level and if more is needed that’s a discussion for them to have. As always, some players will go and some players will come in.
“It won’t be a case of ‘we haven’t done it, so I’ll back out of this’. Marcus is not going to be one of these owners who loses interest.”
– The big Ipswich Town season ticket renewal debate: Comment, letters and poll results in today’s EADT and Ipswich Star.