Bowden: Town unaffected by credit crunch

BLUES chief Derek Bowden has insisted Ipswich Town is not being affected by the credit crunch.But he also admits that Town fans will have no idea of their club's financial state any more as no reports or accounts will be made public.

Derek Davis

BLUES chief Derek Bowden has insisted Ipswich Town is not being affected by the credit crunch.

But he also admits that Town fans will have no idea of their club's financial state any more as no reports or accounts will be made public.

As Marcus Evans now owns the club with an 87.5 per cent shareholding, he is not required by law to share any information with supporters.

The club has two boards, the plc board looks after the remaining 12.5 per cent of shareholdings and they are expected to hold an annual general meeting as usual, probably around December, but little will be gleaned from that.

Bowden confirmed: “As a private company there will be no report or accounts published for the general consumption of the public.

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“There will be a shareholders meeting for the plc but the reporting regime is quite different now as it is a private business so the general public will not see the accounts.”

Although no up to date figures are available to back up the claims, Bowden insists the club has improved under Evans' ownership.

He said: “Our financial position has improved. No question about that.

“It has enabled us on the playing side in our ability to make choices about players brought in and not being sold.

“In the past there was almost always a requirement to move on a player to balance the books, that is no longer the case.

“The day today running of the football remains that but the ability to choose what to do with the playing squad has been the most significant change.”

While many clubs are reported to have been hit by the credit crisis, Bowden is bullish about Ipswich's financial performances.

Bowden said: “It is early to say but looking at our attendances they are holding up well, season ticket sakes are slightly up year on year and our average gate is around 22,000 for the league and we had 17,000 for the league cup game which was the highest in the round.

“We had a price promotion for that and we will almost certainly have another for the Wigan game.

“The credit crunch affects everyone and going forward we will continue to price games competitively where we can.

“If we provide superior entertainment then people will pay for it. They will choose to come to a match than go out for dinner or bowling or something. We have to compete for our customers' share of the wallet.

“It is tough in every walk of like and it is very competitive but our retail sales are good.

“All the Britannia Stand executive boxes are sold as are many of the Cobbold Stand boxes as they have been for the past six years.

“If we are successful we expect people will put their hand sin their pockets and come and watch.”

Although the owner Marcus Evans had to take over the main sponsorship himself the club are looking at other ways of generating cash, including a return to hosting a concert and staging international matches.

Bowden said: “After a year without a concert we have got the pitch to where we want it to be although we are considering another next summer.

“There is not the same profit margin as there was so the balance between that and getting the pitch right meant we left it this summer.

“It worked and no doubt the weather helped.”

Town have in the past held full, under 21 and under 19 international matches at Portman Road and an England schools international has been pencilled in for two year's time but Town still hope to get another Under 21s match.

Bowden said: “There is a chance that we will get another game.

“We have had them in the past so it is a possibility we can get a younger age group game.

“We would love to host one. We have agreed to host and English Schools cup game here in 2010 and we will continue to do more if we can but nothing further is planned.”