Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher warns promotion can’t come on the cheap

Terry Butcher

Terry Butcher - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher believes the club has hit a major crossroads.

Having achieved their first play-off place in a decade last year, the Blues have gone backwards in 2015/16 and now look set to contest a 15th successive season in the Championship.

There are big questions about owner Marcus Evans’ reluctance to spend on transfer fees, manager Mick McCarthy’s tactics and which areas of the squad will need addressing this summer.

“Last year we possibly over-reached and this year is probably a fairer reflection of where we are at,” said former England centre-back Butcher.

“Ipswich are very much at a crossroads. What does the club want to do? Does the owner really want to push on and try to get up, or are they content to sit in this division and finish eighth, ninth, 10th every year?

“It’s all about what you get for your money. You need to spend a bit to get top quality. The best players have the pick of several clubs and money talks. I know Town’s budget has increased, but it probably needs to be even more. You’ve got Aston Villa and possibly Newcastle and Sunderland coming down – all big clubs who will have huge amounts of cash.

“Spending more would be a gamble, we’ve seen how others have over-reached and gone bust, but do Ipswich Town need to take that gamble?”

Most Read

Former Inverness, Hibernian and Newport County boss Butcher is now back living in Suffolk and has been a regular at Portman Road this season.

“I can understand the Town fans’ frustrations,” he said. “When you go and watch Ipswich play it’s a test and trial of your patience. This team has promised so much at times, so when it doesn’t deliver it’s frustrating because you think ‘these lads are capable’. Key injuries at key moments has obviously not helped.

“This is a big summer for Ipswich Town and Mick McCarthy. You have to say that Mick has risen to several challenges before and I think he’s shown more than enough to deserve a chance to improve this squad.

“I think there could be a lot of players coming and going and that might not be a bad thing.

“Town need some pace and a midfield player that can spray the ball around, players that can spark and ignite the team further forwards.

“Whether Mick can afford to get top players with those qualities is another question though.”