Win or lose, Town will be cashing in at the Emirates
WHETHER they fulfill their dreams of reaching Wembley or have to admit second best to Arsenal at the Emirates tonight, Ipswich Town will be in the money tomorrow morning.
Having pocketed �200,000 for live televising rights for the Carling Cup semi-final first leg and a similar figure from their share of the 40,000-plus crowd returns from their FA Cup third round tie at Chelsea, Ipswich will have their coffers bolstered by another �200,000 TV fee tonight – and �25,000 prize money from the Football League if they go out.
With add-ons included that’s close to a �1 million and it there would be considerably more down the line with a Wembley visit – with Arsenal’s 19-year-old midfielder Jack Wilshere admitting that the Gunners have work to do having maybe taken Ipswich too lightly in the first leg.
Wilshere insists they will be fully focused tonight.
“I think, and the boss also said it, that maybe we weren’t expecting Ipswich to be as good at Portman Road,” said Wilshere.
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“We needed to get used to the Championship style perhaps, and we know now that these teams, be it Leeds in the FA Cup or Ipswich in the Carling Cup, will always be up for it.
“We knew they’d tackle hard and be tenacious but their quality was good as well – standards are so high in that division now.
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“Tonight we’ll have to do to Ipswich exactly what we did so well at Elland Road in the FA Cup replay – go at them, get an early goal and take it from there.”
Former Town skipper Matt Holland is forecasting a long evening for Blues defenders.
“It was the best I’ve seen Ipswich play this season in the first leg,” said Holland. “Despite only having 30 per cent of possession they played with great spirit and togetherness.
“Once they scored a ‘try’ (sorry I mean goal, Cesc Fabregas) they held on bravely.
“Arsene Wenger didn’t look too upset after the first leg, and he’ll believe his team will be good enough to win comfortably on aggregate.
“It’s difficult to argue with that but if Ipswich keep the same passion and Arsenal under-perform you never know.
“One thing I do know for sure is that it’s sure to be a long evening for Ipswich defenders.”