'Game changer' and 'gives us hope' - Town fans react to US takeover
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town fans have reacted to the news of the US takeover, which many hope will be a "game changer" for the club as its new owners pledge a return to former glories.
Marcus Evans has sold Ipswich Town to the group of American investors following a lengthy negotiation period, which first came to light towards the end of February.
The club is now owned by Gamechanger 20 Ltd, a group made up of investors from the United States including Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer, who co-own USL club Phoenix Rising.
Mike O’Leary, a former board member of both West Brom and Oxford United, is also part of the group and is understood to have been driving the deal. He is the club's new chairman.
Max Helm, from the Blue Action campaign group, said he feels "a bit giddy" after hearing the news and explained it will give fans something to look forward to.
"It's been 13 years of steady decline under Evans, but at least now there is a chance," he said.
"I'm absolutely buzzing. In fact, I'd say I'm absolutely ecstatic.
"Yes it's a risk, there is no doubt about that as they are business people and will be looking to make a return, but we need to make the club successful."
Much of the finance behind the deal is thought to come from the ORG Portfolio Management, a US-based investment firm who are understood to be using money from the Arizona State Pension fund as a large part of their investment in the club.
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Evans, who has owned the Blues for the last 13 years, is understood to be retaining a small percentage of the club but will not be in a position to make decisions, with the new owners in sole charge of the club’s direction.
Ipswich Town PLC, the group made up of existing shareholders prior to Evans’ purchase in 2007, will retain their combined 12.5% stake.
Mr Helm said he believes the majority of fans will agree with him that Evans had to go, adding the team has been "declining" under his management.
"I think Evans was deluded to think he could turn it around, but he had too much pride," said Mr Helm.
"The sale gives us a little bit of ambition as the group has come in and has said it is going to make the club better.
"Fans can now be hopeful as these people have worked extensively with football clubs, and they know them inside out. Finally we are getting people in who know what they are doing.
"It's been 13 years of steady decline, but at least now there is a chance."
Meanwhile, the head of the official Ipswich Town Supporters Club, Mark Ramsay, said he is "delighted" to welcome new owners and is confident this will give fans fresh hope.
"We are extremely grateful for Marcus Evans' support over the last 13 years, and particularly during the pandemic, but unfortunately the club had gone stale," he said.
"I hope the new owners will communicate more with supporters as we are all better together. It is time to unite and get to our goal.
"I think supporters are delighted by the news and would like to see more investment in the team and move up the leagues as soon as we can.
"I am much more hopeful that success will come our way, although obviously in football nothing is a given, but it would be great to get back to watching some attractive and enjoyable games at Portman Road."
Meanwhile, Jonn Fox said on Facebook that the news is amazing to hear, adding: "ITFC are back."
Malcolm Roberts said he hopes this will be "a gamechanger for the club", while Steve Ward said the decision to sell the club was "long overdue".
Many fans have taken to social media to thank Evans for his time at the club.
Matty Fitch said: "Remember all this excitement when a local businessman bought the club all those years ago...look what happened. Now you’ve got people that don’t care about the club."
Paul Dennington added: "Thanks for saving us all those years ago Marcus. All the best."