Ipswich Town’s 2018/19 accounts: Player sales allowed Marcus Evans to limit his losses during relegation season

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill. Photo: Steve

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans’ reduced spending during the club’s relegation season has been revealed with the release of the 2018/19 accounts.

Although the wage bill rose slightly (from £18.5m to £19m) and gate receipts dropped slightly (from £4.7m to £4.6m), the club saw a fall in pre-tax losses from £5.2m to £3.2m.

That's because the Blues made £5.4m profit on player trading during a period which saw them receive fees for Martyn Waghorn (Derby), Joe Garner (Wigan) and Ben Knight (Manchester City), as well as part of the Adam Webster sale (Bristol City). Much less was paid out for signings made by manager Paul Hurst (a clutch of lower league signings last summer) and his replacement Paul Lambert (loans and free transfers in January).

The club's debt, which is owed exclusively to Evans, rose from £95.5m to £96.3m - the smallest increase in three years.

These accounts show a continuing trend of Evans reducing his losses during the second half of 12 years in charge. In the first six full seasons of his ownership, average annual losses were £10.5m. Over the subsequent five years that figure has dropped to an average of £2.1m.

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These latest figures are for the period until June 30 this year and so therefore do not show the significant drop in revenue associated with relegation into League One.

Next year's accounts will record a drastic fall in television income, but also reflect a slashing of the wage bill - believed to be around 70%.

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Roger Finbow, chairman of the PLC (which owns a minority shareholding of 12.5%), said: "It is perhaps an understatement to say that the 2018/19 season was a challenging one for the club. But the appointment of Paul Lambert just over a year ago has proved inspirational in many ways.

"Although the Paul was unable to steer the club away from relegation - the damage had been done earlier in the season - the manner in which he has been able to uplift the club, and not just on the playing side, has been remarkable.

"As relegation became ever more inevitable we witnessed a counter-intuitive increase in support and attendances at matches so far this season have been exceptional - a measure of the renewed enthusiasm amongst supporters which Paul and his team have engendered."

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