Lambert’s plea for fans to drop ‘animosity’ at end of tense shareholders’ AGM
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert pleaded with fans to drop any animosity they feel towards the club at the end of a tense PLC AGM last night.
More than 100 shareholders were in attendance at Portman Road after the club had earlier revealed their accounts for the financial year ending June 30, 2018.
In what is a continuation of general themes during Marcus Evans’ decade-plus ownership, a pre-tax loss of £5.2m was posted and the debt – owed exclusively to 87.5% majority shareholder Evans – increased to £95.5m.
“I sense a bit of animosity towards the club, I can feel it,” said Lambert, after watching managing director Ian Milne face several angry questions regarding the club’s current position at the foot of the Championship table, level of investment from Evans and the use of gambling firm Magical Vegas as a sponsor.
“At some stage that’s got to stop. The club needs you, the working class people, together to move forwards. You’ve got a brilliant club here.”
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There was a lot of praise for Lambert throughout the Q&A session, with the Blues boss – who has signed a contract until 2020 – saying: “I’m fully committed. I’ll do what’s best for the football club, for you guys and the team, not what’s best for myself and the staff. I want to turn this ship around.
“You never get anywhere if there are fractions in a club. We need everyone together.”
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The latest set of finances showed the wage bill rose from rose from £17.8m to £18.5m, while gate receipts fell from £5.1m to £4.7m.
Season ticket sales dropped by almost 2,000 for the second year in a row (12,022 down to 10,144), though there was only a slight drop in average league attendances (16,271 compared to 16,980).
The Blues made a net profit of £2.7m on player transfers for a period which saw the signings of Emyr Huws, Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner and the sales of Kieffer Moore and Adam Webster.
The majority of the transfer business done by former boss Paul Hurst this summer will be in the accounts for the 2018/19 period.