Marcus unlikely to hand out Xmas cheer

IPSWICH Town owner Marcus Evans is unlikely to be handing out too much Christmas cheer.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town owner Marcus Evans is unlikely to be handing out too much Christmas cheer.

Indeed, the wealthy international businessman might turn into Scrooge in the New Year.

Evans may have planned to invest more into the Blues when he bought the club 12 months ago.

But with the financial recession affecting his main business interests - and the low rate of the pound - the £12million he has already put into the Blues might not be added to for some while.

And this will not be good news for the 13 Town players who are out of contract in the summer and can start speaking to other clubs from next Thursday.

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Blues manager Jim Magilton's hands are believed to be tied with the credit crunch beginning to bite.

Football is set to be in for a rather torrid time financially in 2009, with wobbling clubs like Portsmouth, West Ham and Blackburn in danger of being the most high-profile casualties.

Sponsorship is expected to drastically reduce and attendances drop as the business community and the man and woman in the street are hit where it hurts - in the pocket.

Ipswich will not be immune to what is predicted to be a stormy couple of years or so before the economy rights itself again.

And, if the team does not pick up on the field, Magilton might have to trim his squad to less than the 22 he currently plans to use in 2009/10.

A marked reduction in season ticket sales for next season and Town could be back trading in a similar rather meagre way to the way they were before Evans took over - taking a £44million debt under his jurisdiction.

Tommy Miller is one of the 13 out of contract at the end of June and his stirring performance in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Coventry will have done his chances of a new deal no harm.

And Richard Naylor made one exceptional late challenge to deny Coventry a late winner and is another who has done more than enough to catch Magilton's eye.

Alex Bruce is having to wait until the financial situation is much clearer - including likely season tickets sales - in March or April before any Town renewed contract offers will be made.

Magilton would like to keep Bruce but he will be looking around to see if he can better himself from January 1.

And, for Magilton to strengthen his squad, it might well have to be done without increasing his current player budget.

It will make it difficult again for Town to compete on an even playing field with Coca-Cola Championship clubs who are benefiting from lucrative parachute payments after relegation from the Premier League.

This season they could do it. The chances are next season they won't.

Even Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is feeling the pinch of the recession hitting all areas of business after reportedly losing £3 billion in the credit crunch.

The mega-rich tycoon is thought to be down to his last £7 billion.