We are going through challenging times admits Simon Clegg but Ipswich Town still have ‘full support’ of Marcus Evans

IPSWICH Town chief executive Simon Clegg remained positive when outlining to shareholders the economic challenges the club is facing at last night’s PLC Annual General Meeting.

However, flanked by manager Mick McCarthy, he insisted that Marcus Evans remains as committed to the club as ever as the owner nears his five-year anniversary.

Speaking to more than 100 shareholders in the Sir Bobby Robson Suite at Portman Road, Clegg said that season ticket sales had dropped from 12,719 to 12,286 this season, while average attendances have dropped from 18,195 to 16,816.

He also emphasised how new Financial Fair Play rules – which will see Championship clubs punished for going beyond a �3million deviation of break-even next season – had to be considered.

And he also stressed how the decision to go for Category Two status under the new Elite Player Performance Plan had seen the club spend significant money on hiring new staff and upgrading facilities for a stringent audit process.

“These are challenging times, but the circumstances we face are not unique – they are the same for all our Championship rivals,” said Clegg.

“We continue to receive the full support of the owner, Marcus Evans. You will all recognise the fact that he has spent a lot of money over the near five years that he has owned this club. And he continues to be as committed today as the day he joined.

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“If you question that, you only need to look at the ongoing commitment he made to player acquisitions over the summer and indeed the appointment of Mick McCarthy as manager.

“I have absolutely no doubt that Mick will enjoy the same sort of financial support that previous managers have done.

“We need to make sure we continue to protect this football club so that it doesn’t go the way Rangers and Portsmouth have done recently (administration), but I do also genuinely belief that we can continue to be competitive with other Championship clubs.”

PLC chairman Roger Finbow said: “It’s inevitable that when new faces arrive from outside the local community, some of our supporters will say ‘things ain’t what they used to be’ – that these outsiders won’t understand the essence of this club.

“Let me assure you that Marcus Evans, Simon Clegg and Mick McCarthy are all just as proud of our reputation as you are, and they are all anxious to ensure that the aspects of the club which have made it historically unique are preserved.

“May I therefore encourage you all to give your absolute support to the management and players and encourage the nay-sayers, the cynical and the doubters to do likewise.”

Clegg and John Kerr were both re-elected to the PLC board, while Liz Edwards’ addition was confirmed.

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