Ipswich Town fans should be grateful for Marcus Evans’ continued investment, says former chairman David Sheepshanks

Former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, pictured at St George's Park

Former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, pictured at St George's Park - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town supporters should be grateful for owner Marcus Evans’ continued investment.

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans, caught on camera playing in the 2012 Sir Bobby Robson Golf Classic

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans, caught on camera playing in the 2012 Sir Bobby Robson Golf Classic in Portugal - Credit: Archant

So says former chairman David Sheepshanks, the man who oversaw the sale of the club to Evans in December 2007.

Suffolk born-and-bred, Sheepshanks was a very visible and passionate figure-head during his time with the Blues and he remains a regular at Portman Road. Evans, by contrast, remains out of the spotlight and jets in and out of the country from his business bases in Bermuda and Ireland.

The latest Sunday Times Rich List showed the latter as now worth £700 million, having added £75m to his fortune in the last year to become the nation’s 143rd richest person. He has steadily tightened the purse strings at Ipswich Town over the past two years though, with manager Mick McCarthy once again set to be limited to free transfer additions, loans and swap deals this summer.

Asked to reflect on his beloved Blues’ ninth-place finish in the Championship table, Sheepshanks said: “First of all it would be remiss of me not to thank Marcus (Evans) for his continued support of the club. There are many who probably wish he could create the same kind of budget that he created for his previous two managers (Roy Keane and Paul Jewell), but that’s the way of the world.

“There is still a very significant financial investment in the club. Championship clubs don’t easily break even so it continues to require his support. I think everybody should be grateful for that and pleased about that.”

He continued: “Clearly he and Mick McCarthy have a good rapport. Mick is very focused.

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“I’ve known Mick for many years. He’s one of my favourite managers in terms of the way he goes about things, how he creates a culture of values and a sense of discipline by saying ‘this is the way we do it around here’.

“Mick and I spoke when he was leaving Ireland and we were in the process of recruiting (2002). It just wasn’t the right time for him. I’ve known Mick since even before then though. I was just totally delighted when Marcus appointed him.

“He’s created the environment for our players to flourish at Ipswich Town. I’m excited. It is often all about money and how much you can pay for this player and that player, but I have no doubt that Mick knows the type of players that he wants and that he’ll get them.”

He added: “It’s a strange world. As many as the relegated clubs with enormous budgets and parachute payments will tell you, the psychology of coming down into the Championship is a very different experience to manage. There are not many that bounce back straight away.

“It’s interesting that the clubs who create the sense of unity and harmony, one for all and all for one – like Burnley – can succeed. That actually is the Ipswich way. It was the Bobby Robson way, it was the John Lyall way, it was the Alf Ramsey way, it was the George Burley way. And Mick McCarthy certainly fits that mould.”

– For more from Sheepshanks, on his role at St George’s Park, see today’s 48-page World Cup supplement in the EADT.

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