'Please don't believe everything you read in the media' - Ipswich Town owner Evans addresses takeover reports
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has released a lengthy statement addressing several national reports that he is 'on the verge' of selling the club to a group of US investors.
Rumours that Evans was in negotiations to sell had been swirling on social media and by word of mouth for weeks, with The Athletic then reporting last Friday that a £17.5m deal had been agreed with a group led by Los Angeles-based businessman Brett Johnson.
Several other media outlets - including Sky Sports, the Guardian and TWTD - have since followed suit, saying that a takeover is only a matter of days/weeks away from being concluded.
Evans, addressing supporters via the club website tonight, writes: "I’m sure you are aware of the media stories that have been swirling around over the last week or two suggesting that I am about to sell the club.
"Let me put on record that in my 13 years plus as owner of Ipswich Town, I have never looked to sell the club. That is still the case.
"In that time I have received approaches to see if I would sell - some credible - some not so. I received another new enquiry only two weeks ago (not the one reported in the media) and in each case, I have looked first and foremost at whether that investment would be in the long term best interests of the club and also not to forget the interests of the army of small shareholders, whose equity I have never diluted, by looking to turn my debts into club equity.
"They still remain as just over 10% shareholders in the club through their shares in ITFC PLC and I would always want to ensure they are fairly treated.
"There are many examples of clubs that have gone for risky short term fixes or sold out to investors who found it all too easy to walk away when the going gets tough.
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"I am fully supportive of foreign ownership of English football clubs and many have been great additions to the UK club landscape; however football is not a normal business, with much beyond financial pressures on owners, and one needs to take that into account when judging the long term commitment of possible investors with no personal roots in the community.
"The clubs that got it wrong paid a heavy price, sometimes very quickly. I have invested too much time, energy and funding to put this club at risk.
"I am not going to deny there has always been interest in Ipswich Town, ours is a great club with great history and a potentially great future, but please don’t take everything you read in the media as ‘the state of play’.
"I have had detailed offers for the club past and present but there has been nothing brand new in the last 12 months, though a number of those with historic interest come back from time to time and there is nothing that is currently acceptable to me or the club and I reiterate that any decision that needs to be made by me will be based on what is right in the long term.
"I have said for the last few years that, as new football investors with potentially greater investment pain thresholds than me appear on the scene, if I feel someone is in a better position than me to carry the club forward with sustained investment, I will step aside.
"If I have my concerns, having had unique access to look behind the mask of interested parties, I won’t sell. End of.
"One thing I can confirm, if I feel there is something to say officially on the matter, you the supporters will be the first to hear from me. But for now, the only focus I have is supporting our new manager and the players in what promises to be an exciting conclusion to the season.
"Thanks as always for your support for the club and let’s get right behind Paul (Cook) and the team - albeit sadly from afar!"