Ipswich Town announce annual profit for the first time under Marcus Evans’ ownership

Portman Road

Portman Road - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich Town Football Club tonight announced pre-tax profit of £5.3million for 2014/15 – the first time the club has been in the black since Marcus Evans’ takeover in December 2007.

The overall debt – owed exclusively to Marcus Evans Worldwide Holdings Ltd – did rise once again though, from £86m to £87.2m. Evans took on £32m of existing debts when purchasing the club almost eight years ago.

Town’s statutory accounts were revealed at the shareholders’ Annual General Meeting at Portman Road, with figures covering the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

The big-money sales of players Aaron Cresswell (July 3, 2014 – understood to be an initial £3.75m) and Tyrone Mings (June 26, 2015 – understood to be an initial £8.1m) to Premier League clubs West Ham and Bournemouth respectively were a big contributing factor to the turnaround from a £7.2m loss in 2013/14.

Profit on ‘disposal of players and other assets’ was listed at £12.2m, with ‘net player trading’ listed at £11.4m.

Without those two significant player sales, Town would have registered only a slightly improved loss figure – once again emphasising the reliance the club has on the continued investment of Evans.

“Ipswich Town Football Club is not in debt to any financial institution,” said finance director Mark Andrews. “The increase in ‘other group loans’ (by £2.177m) represents the ongoing funding and player investment provided by Marcus Evans during the year.

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“Direct costs increased from £16.7m to £19.1m due mainly to player wages and associated agent fees as further funds were invested in the squad to mount a challenge for promotion.”

The last time that the club reported a profit was back in 2007 (£174,000), but they have consistently lost money since then with the £16m loss in 2011/2012 being the third worst among clubs in the Championship division for that period.

Evans changed his approach after appointing Mick McCarthy as manager in November 1, 2012 though and has stuck almost exclusively to free transfer additions and loans when it has come to player recruitment in the last three years. The result has been a gradual reduction of losses.

Wage costs have increased from £13.9m to £15.97m though – something which backs up managing director Ian Milne’s recent claim that the club is very much competitive when it comes to player salaries.

Other key performance indicators also showed that on-field progress – Ipswich’s final league position improved from ninth to sixth and a play-off semi-final defeat – was backed up by solid off-field improvements too.

The average league attendance at Portman Road was 19,603 in 2014/15 compared to 17,111 the season before, with season ticket sales rising from 12,289 to 13,595.

The improved turnover – £16.4m compared to £13.6m the year before – was thanks to improved gate receipts, commercial income and Football League, TV & radio fees. Half of the increased commercial revenue was attributed to the additional merchandise sales following the change of kit supplier to Adidas.

The wages to turnover ratio has been improved from 103% to 97%, meaning Ipswich Town are comfortably within Financial Fair Play regulations. Several other clubs – including Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Leeds – have all been put under transfer embargoes after falling foul of those rulings in recent times.

The Ipswich Town PLC is made up of the pre-takeover shareholders and owns 12.5% of the club, with Evans owning the rest.

Meanwhile, former club chairman John Kerr has stepped down as PLC Director but he will remain a Vice President for the club.