It’s important not to be too cynical of Marcus Evans’ first on-camera interview

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has given his first video interview. Picture: IPSWICH TOWN TWITTER

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has given his first video interview. Picture: IPSWICH TOWN TWITTER - Credit: Archant

It’s all too be easy to be cynical, but oh so important not to be if this renewed feelgood factor is to be maintained.

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has previously stayed out of the limelight. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has previously stayed out of the limelight. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Some have dismissed Marcus Evans’ first on-camera interview as being carefully scripted and club controlled.

Yes, he will have gone into it with some key points to make in mind – but who doesn’t when they are making such an important presentation? There were, I understand, some prompts on a whiteboard. It was filmed in one take though. And this was hardly a piece of propaganda.

Some have even gone as far as saying that stepping out of the shadows for the first time in a decade was simply a subtle sales pitch for a club he can no longer afford to keep competitive. Or you could say that he just provided an honest answer to a direct question.

Were there any earth-shattering revelations within the 26 minutes? No. Was it a little sterile in places? Yes.

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Come on – let’s give him and the club some credit though. We’ve been demanding to hear from the man at the very top for some time now and, finally, he has responded.

He didn’t have to. He certainly didn’t need to do it on camera. But he recognised that it was the right thing to do. And that demonstrates he does have a proper understanding of the critical juncture the club is at and the complex mix of events which have led us to this point.

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He recognised that Mick McCarthy was very much the right man for the job almost six years ago and that he was very much no longer the man for the job now. He recognised ‘the disenchantment that has built up over the last two seasons, which is built on years of frustration’. And he was big enough to admit that he made a ‘clear mistake’ in raising season ticket prices last season.

It was reassuring to know that the key protagonist really does seem to ‘get it’ when, for so long, the concern was he was badly too out of touch with the mood music.

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We’d clearly have loved to have conducted the interview as an independent media outlet. However, fair play to Steve Pearce, the club’s head of media, for the way he put his boss on the spot.

‘Would you have still bought the club had you known then what you do now?’; ‘Is the five-point plan enough and can the club stay truly competitive without added investment?’; ‘Would you sell if the right offer came along?’ The subject of tax evasion was even addressed.

An independent journalist would have pushed him further on some of the answers supplied but, as an initial interview, a good range of bases were well covered within a limited time window.

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It certainly would have been churlish for us to deny our readers of the content just because our own requests to conduct the interview were denied. We’re here to provide a service.

The key thing, above all else, was that a man who in many peoples’ minds had become some sort of Bond villain caricature has finally been humanised a bit. It was nice to hear him paint a picture of his children, very much Town fans, badgering him to spend more on transfers around the breakfast table.

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He had the air of a confident multi-millionaire who is used to making calculated big decisions, but also someone who was quite nervous about appearing on camera and who has genuinely been bitten by the football bug.

Those that know Marcus have always told me that fans would like him if he spoke. It’s certainly far easier to dislike someone you know nothing about. Becoming relatable is a surefire way to disarm the critics.

The five-point plan is sensible – we just needed someone to make us truly believe in it. Did I believe Evans? Call me naive if you like but, yes, actually I did.

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There’s a lot to like about him being a reluctant interviewee. It’s great that he lets his managers manage when football is littered with owners that love the limelight. But it’s right that the captain of the ship is seen to be leading during periods of choppy water.

Of course it will be actions, not words, that he will ultimately be judged on – but this interview was another important stage in the healing process.

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