'Surely, after all that's gone on, Evans owes that to the supporters?' - listen as Town fans slam owner on national radio
PUBLISHED: 12:45 06 January 2019
Pagepix Ltd 07976 935738
Ipswich Town fans have been calling BBC 5 Live's '606' show over the last week to voice their anger and frustration at the club's state following damaging defeats at the start of 2019.
Following yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at League One side Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup, one of the 1,224 Blues fans who had made the long journey to Lancashire made it on air.
Forty-five years a season ticket holder at Ipswich and I think the all-time low today.
Idiots like Chris Sutton go on about ‘be careful what you wish for’ when Mick McCarthy was there, well I was one of the guys that wanted Mick McCarthy out of the door having defended him staunchly for five years.
By the end of last season I’d lost a car load of season ticket holders. The football really was atrocious and he was causing a great divisiveness between the sets of Ipswich supporters – those who wanted him to stay and those who wanted him to go.
I’ll be the first to admit you now appreciate the fact he was like a conjurer the way he was spinning the Marcus Evans budget which is basically one where he wants to get stuff from Harrods but actually go to Poundland to pay for it.
He brought Paul Hurst in, which I was fully behind, and I was hoping he would cherry pick some players from division one and division two that he maybe couldn’t afford at Shrewsbury, but with all due respect to Paul Hurst he brought 12/14 players of whom maybe 10 were from League One, League Two. It was pretty much like chucking a hand grenade into the dressing room.
As much as I was glad to see McCarthy go at the end, he left a solid squad that just needed a bit of tinkering to make the football a little bit more exciting. Hurst was completely disrespectful to how hard it is to play in the Championship.
Between that and Marcus Evans’ complete mismanagement... It’s not just Hurst coming in. Evans missed the boat when Mick McCarthy overachieved and got us in the play-offs a few years ago when we were on £110k transfer fees compared to £37m when we played Norwich in the semi-finals.
We matched them for three halves out of the four in the play-off matches and just missed out. If he had maybe put a little bit of money in then we could have really been challenging.
What’s been said in the last few days is that Evans isn’t willing to fund people like Gestede and Leadbitter from Middlesbrough who are reportedly on £20k a week.
We’ve just been up to Accrington... First of all congratulates to them, we had fantastic hospitality, a great day out, we spent a lot of time with their owner Andy Holt and Dave the managing director, but we pretty much knew at the start of an 18/19 hour day that the bit that would spoil it would be the 90 minutes of watching the football. That was atrocious.
Speaking to the guys at Accrington, you’re talking about seven and a bit television revenue dropping to £700k in League One. Before Evans even puts his hands in his pockets he’s looking at six-and-a-half million loss next season.
I’m no accountant, but 40 thousand (a week) for having a go at trying to stay up – you’re talking, what, half a million, 600 thousand, at giving it a go? Surely, after all that’s gone on, Evans owes that to the supporters?
Even more importantly he owes it to the club employees because you’re going to get redundancies for some of the poor people who work at the club.
At least if we do go down he might actually learn something, which would be the first time in 10 years for him, and he might do what Bradford or Huddersfield did and cap the season tickets at £180/200 and fill the ground out.
That’s far better than playing to empty blue seats.
Prior to that, after the 3-2 home defeat to fellow relegation-battlers Millwall on New Year’s Day, a caller spoke to former Norwich City striker Chris Sutton – someone who has repeatedly said Blues supporters should have been ‘careful what they wished for’ regarding Mick McCarthy’s exit.
Listen, Mick McCarthy did a very good job at Ipswich, but his time had come. His contract was out, he’d fallen out with the fans and it was the right time for him to move on.
No-one was moaning when Paul Hurst was taken on. The owner wanted to go for a younger coach, he’d done well at Shrewsbury and I wasn’t unhappy when he came in.
But what he did was he came in and he ripped up the team. Waghorn went, Garner went, Webster went, Celina went back to Manchester City, David McGoldrick’s contract was up... Nearly 40 goals disappeared out of the team.
He signed, I think, 10 League One, League Two players. He had a free rein doing that. I don’t know why he did it.
It must have been down to budget, surely?
Listen, the person I hold responsible is the owner. It’s lack of investment, not just now, this has been going on for... When Mick was there, I went to Brentford, Boxing Day 2014/15, and we went top of the league. That was the time. We had a great chance of going up.
Maybe one or two quality players then would have made the difference. He didn’t do it, we were lazy, I went to Blackburn the last day of that season and we were very lucky to get in the play-offs. We fell in.
Since then it’s been; Daryl Murphy was sold, Tyrone Mings was sold... None of that money has been reinvested into the team.
And I know it takes a lot of money to run a football club. He’s worth about £840million Marcus Evans. He’s not putting his money where his mouth is and now we are going to pay the price and get relegated. We have got no chance of staying up.
Should the Ipswich fans have had a little bit more respect for McCarthy?
That’s easy saying that now. It was on both sides. It was tit for tat. I went to Norwich, we’ve scored a goal and he’s basically telling us where to go.
Yeah, but he’d taken a hell of a lot of flak by then. Was that not just heat of the moment?
It’s easy to say isn’t it? It’s a passionate game and we all get carried away. Listen, I can’t say Mick McCarthy didn’t do a very good job at Ipswich because he did. He worked wonders on the budget he was on.
Now, Paul Lambert is a very good manager, but realistically he says he needs five or six players – who’s going to want to come to us now? We’re bottom of the league and 10 points adrift.
What worries me is that he won’t be there next season to bring us back.
Do you think the club needs a change of ownership?
Definitely, but who’s going to want to buy a club that’s £90million in debt? That’s the thing. I watched the Sunderland documentary and watching that is like watching my team. It’s heart breaking.
I’ve been going to the games for over 30 years. I’m going to Accrington for the FA Cup. Why? Because we love our club don’t we?
James has been in touch, Ipswich fan, he says ‘Ipswich Town relegated today, I’m delighted Paul Lambert has committed himself to staying if we go down, we need to go down and come back stronger like Noprwich did in 2009. Paul Lambert’s experience will help us rebuild.
Yeah, but has he committed to staying? He’s got a three year contract, but no-one knows if there’s a clause in there if we got relegated. Football’s changed since 2009. We’re another 10 years on. Look at the money. Even in the Champion ship now it’s so umbalanced. We haven’t invested.
As a football fan you keep looking at the games and think ‘if we win this one, if we win this one...’ but you just have to be a realist don’t you?’
Is there any hope among the Ipswich fans?
We’ve got some very good youngsters, Downes, Dozzell, Lankester, but then you think if we go down then you know the sharks will be circling. We’ll sell them, we will sell them, we won’t replace them with quality.
League One... There will be a lot of new grounds we can do but that’s the only positive!