Milne/Symonds: It’s time to reduce the level of debt at Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town Football Club managing directors Jonathan Symonds and Ian Milne.

Ipswich Town Football Club managing directors Jonathan Symonds and Ian Milne. - Credit: Archant

IPSWICH Town supporters shouldn’t be concerned about the rising level of debt at the club.

So says the club’s managing directors Jonathan Symonds and Ian Milne – the men who have been tasked with finding ways of limiting the Blues’ reliance on owner Marcus Evans’ money over the coming years.

The latest set of accounts published last month showed that the Suffolk club’s level of debt rose to £79.62m, following a loss of almost £16m in the 2011/12 financial period.

That debt is owed almost exclusively to companies owned by Evans though, meaning the club has plenty of time to find ways of generating new income streams in its attempt to find a break even model.

“To compete you need outside investment,” said Symonds. “Would you rather have that from a bank loan, that you will have to service at a certain rate and could be called it at any time, or do you want that from a committed owner?

“Or do you just not spend and slip down the leagues? We certainly don’t want that.

“Being lended to by the person that owns you is clearly going to be a more secure debt. It is clearly not within anyone’s interests within an organisation to call in a debt that is unpayable.”

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New Financial Fair Play rules will restrict what owners can invest next season, with punishments in place for clubs who do not show that they are working towards achieving a break even model.

“It’s now up to us to reduce that level of debt by generating income and reducing all this money that Marcus is putting in,” said Milne.

“It’s about running the club as efficiently as we can without losing the spirit of the place.

“I thought we were being particularly tough, but there are several other Championship clubs all doing the same things as we are. Football’s way of operating has to change.”

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for the first big interview with Town’s managing directors.

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