Ipswich Town - East Anglian’s poor relations

GRANT Holt and Simeon Jackson led the Ipswich Town defence a merry dance in last Thursday’s 5-1 Championship victory by Norwich City at Portman Road.

And the big part they have played in lifting the Canaries to the brink of a return to the Premier League highlights what the Norfolk club has done right – and what Ipswich have done wrong.

There is a huge gulf between the teams, and this despite Town holding most of the aces.

The Blues have had money to spend, whereas Norwich have been in a precarious financial position since the parachute payments associated with their previous involvement with the top flight dried up.

Holt was purchased for a reported �400,000 from Shrewsbury in July 2009 and Jackson for �600,000 from Gillingham in July last year.

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Compare this �1million outlay that has brought City the goals they need to become a force in the Championship with the sums Ipswich have paid over a similar period.

Tamas Priskin cost �1.7million from Watford and after spending the back end of last season on loan at Queens Park Rangers is now out on loan again – at today’s opponents Swansea.

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Jason Scotland took �750,000 out of Town owner Marcus Evans’ coffers when he moved to Suffolk from Wigan last autumn and he has not been able to establish a regular place in the side.

Between them Priskin (4) and Scotland (9) have netted 13 league goals this season as Ipswich continue to struggle through their inability to put the ball into the back of the net enough times.

Holt (20) and Jackson (9) have 29, and here lies the reason why one club’s supporters are currently cock-a-hoop and the other in mourning.

Delia Smith has been a wonderful benefactor to her beloved Canaries, but even she eventually found that she had no more to offer.

Since the TV chef drew back from bankrolling Norwich, Evans has arrived on the Ipswich scene and given large chunks of money to first Jim Magilton and then Roy Keane, and this summer it will current manager Paul Jewell’s turn.

Blues followers will be keeping their fingers crossed that Jewell spends more wisely than his two predecessors.

There is clear evidence to suggest that he will.

But if not, if Norwich reach the Promised Land next month they will have every chance of leaving Town behind in their slip stream with Ipswich becoming the poor relations.

Evans is keen enough to want to see his purchase of Ipswich prove a success but it is costing him around �6million a year just to run the club on a day to day basis.

This is without putting his hand in his pocket to finance transfer deals.

Like Delia found out, there will come a time when enough will be enough and Evans will call a halt.

By then the wisely spent Norwich money – as opposed to Ipswich’s failed purchases – could well see the Canaries flying far too high for Ipswich to be compared with them.

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