‘There are no other revenue streams coming in... that’s a worry’ - O’Neill’s financial concerns

Lee O'Neill talks to club owner Marcus Evans at Wycombe Wanderers Picture Pagepix

Lee O'Neill talks to club owner Marcus Evans at Wycombe Wanderers Picture Pagepix

Ipswich Town general manager Lee O’Neill has admitted the club faces a worrying period given the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The Blues will again be in the third tier next season after the 2019/20 campaign was curtailed early, but it remains unclear when League One will resume. A tentative plan is for the new season to begin at the end of September, but that is by no means certain.

That would mean Ipswich will have gone six months without playing a game and would have lost millions in potential income, when taking into account potential refunds for games played behind-closed-doors, a loss of matchday revenue, a drop in season ticket sales and the loss of sponsorship and hospitality revenues.

If the new campaign does kick off in September it is likely some games would be played in empty stadiums, or at best with vastly reduced capacities, with clubs’ only method of income then being the sale of online steaming passes.

“It’s very uncertain times for us and for every other club, especially those outside the Premier League,” O’Neill told the club website.

MORE: ‘The squad is big enough and strong enough to go again’ - Lambert and Evans to discuss budgets“It’s incredibly difficult to plan for next season when we don’t know what it’s going to look like. When will the season start? When will it be safe for players to be back in training? Is the testing procedure still going to be in place to test all players and staff? When will fans be allowed back? How many fans will be allowed back? How will all that affect budgets?

“There are a lot of questions to be answered, a lot of clarity needed and until we get more information, it’s almost impossible to put concrete plans in place.

“We have had great support from fans renewing season tickets for next year but there are no other revenue streams coming in and if games are played behind closed doors next season, there won’t be. Is that a worry? Of course it is. It has to be.”

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O’Neill insisted the club’s management will continue to reflect on a disappointing campaign and plan ahead in a bid to make a push for promotion in 2020/21.

“There has been and will be a lot of reflecting on what went wrong because to finish 11th clearly isn’t good enough,” he said.

“We felt that if the season resumed, with key players coming back from injury and five home games, the top six was within reach but we only have ourselves to blame.

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“We were in a good position at the end of January but our form over the last two months wasn’t what we would have hoped for or expected and that has cost us.

“We have to look at what we can improve on and use the hurt of now to spur us on to win promotion next season.

“We are putting plans together as much as we can to cope with different scenarios but as I said, it’s very difficult because of the uncertainty.

“The challenge on the pitch will be the same, to have a squad capable of winning promotion.”