Marcus Evans’ three-point strategy outlined at Ipswich Town PLC AGM

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans - Credit: Warren Page

Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne outlined the club’s long-term strategy on behalf of owner Marcus Evans at tonight’s PLC Annual General Meeting at Portman Road.

Milne, who insisted Evans was ‘not hiding from anybody’ when faced with criticism for the multi-millionaire not speaking himself, said: “This event is for me to pass on Marcus’ thoughts.”

After outlining the ‘non-level playing field’ of the Championship regarding the ever-increasing amount of parachute payments clubs relegated from the Premier League receive, he said: “The way forwards is to have a committed level of investment every year to; a) Build a strong academy which feeds player into the first team who can develop into players capable of winning promotion; b) Purchasing players at an early stage of their career that we can develop, for example Grant Ward and Adam Webster, and; c) To maintain a competitive wage structure compared to other clubs to keep and attract players.

“The above strategy is being followed by Ipswich and, as a result, this is a season where a certain amount of re-building is taking place.

“The owner continues to commit sums in excess of £6m per annum. While recent results have been disappointing for everyone, it doesn’t mean that the long-term plan is not the right one for us.

“The alternative plan is to invest large sum, 25-30 million, like other clubs have done in an attempt for quick fixes. If it doesn’t work, and in most cases it hasn’t worked, we’ve seen owners lose patience and look to get out as quickly as possible, often leaving their club in a financial mess.

“While many fans would love to see a crazy owner with deep pockets who might have an instant impact, this is not the right strategy for the club.

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“The owner has continued to invest through the ups and downs and he will continue to do so.”

In a lively Q&A session, Blues boss Mick McCarthy received a couple of rousing messages of support, a few pulled no punches with their criticism and another admitted to ‘being on the fence’. Different sections of the crowd, numbering just over 100, applauded each moment.

McCarthy said: “I’m humbled by those who have voiced their support, but I know not everyone in this room feels the same. I don’t think I deserve to be pilloried or pushed out. I quite clearly did a good job for three-a-half-years, but we’re just finding it tough at the moment. Perhaps fans and players get a bit bored and want change? I’m a straight-forward bloke and I’m admitting myself that it’s 60% bad at the moment.

“I will try to get us entertaining you again because that’s not happening at the minute.

“Boo and jeer me after games, but turn up and support the players. I’ve got 18 months left on my contract and I’m not going anywhere.”

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