‘There will be a lot of clubs in serious trouble’ - Town legend Holland says football needs to change
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town legend Matt Holland fears a lot of clubs will be devastated financially by the coronavirus pandemic - and says that, without owner Marcus Evans, the Blues could have been facing administration.
The impact of the crisis on the sport is starting to be felt, with Wigan the first club to enter administration and reports that many others will follow.
While matches continue behind closed doors in the Premier League and Championship, the greater reliance on income from ticket sales in Leagues One and Two, and the fact that it’s not yet knowN when fans will be able to return to games, has Holland concerned for the future of sides lower down the pyramid.
He told Town’s website: “In the Premier League it’s the TV money that really counts but in the divisions below, matchday revenue is vital.
“If you can’t get fans into games for a period of time – say for much of next season – you have a real problem. There will be a lot of clubs in serious trouble. It’s the biggest threat to the football pyramid, what is happening and could happen.”
It is thought that Town could lose as much as £10m as a result of the pandemic, in the worst case scenario of next season being played entirely without fans. The Blues yesterady released options for 2019/20 season ticket refunds, with that potentially costing the club £800,000 if fans all demand their money back.
And Holland said that Town could have been in serious trouble without the backing of multi-millionaire Evans.
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“Ipswich are obviously still my club and when I look at the size of the club, the attendances, the wage bill will be at the higher end for sure, it will be one of the hardest hit in League One. Sunderland and Portsmouth the same.” he said.
“I know Marcus Evans has got his critics but if he wasn’t at Ipswich now and putting the money he does into the club, I’d hate to think what would happen. You could be looking at administration. Without his backing, I’d be worried big time.
“I think other clubs will follow Wigan and go into administration, especially if they are safe in their league with the 12 point deduction.”
Already, there is talk of salary caps in the EFL - League One looks set to be £2.5m, some way below Town’s estimated £6m wage bill – while regionalising the third and fourth tiers has also been suggested.
One thing is for sure, according to Holland - football must change.
“There is talk of salary caps in League One and Two and I can see that happening,” he added.
“Then you look at the Championship. I read that at one club 107% of turnover was being spent on player wages. I’m not a mathematician but that can’t be right.
“If you are paying out a lot more than you are getting in, sooner or later you are going to be in trouble. Clubs are gambling on getting into the Premier League. Fans want you to spend fortunes on players as well because they want to get in the Premier League but there has to be some realism. It’s got to be sustainable model and maybe football will change now. I think it needs to change.”