Recent figures suggest that Ipswich Town might be in financial trouble despite the managing directors telling the fans not to worry.
Whilst it is reassuring to hear that the club won’t be going bankrupt any time soon, the effects of the debt on the club’s long-term future is also being downplayed.
Much like other Championship sides every year the club loses money, last year Ipswich lost £15 million and this year that figure was down to a loss of £9.8 million.
Right now these loses are being added to the club’s existing debt but we are being told not to worry because the money is not owed to a bank, it is currently owed to Marcus Evans. My understanding is that around half of the club’s debt was accumulated before Marcus Evans bought the club and the other half has mounted up under his control.
The directors are right in certain respects and there is no need to panic, but there is still reason to worry about the club’s long term future. As long as Marcus Evans owns the Suffolk side then yes, we don’t have to worry, but what will happen if he decides he wants to sell the club?
I can’t imagine there are many people in the world willing to blow £82 million to pay off Ipswich’s debt then buy the club for a start. Hopefully Evans will stick around for many years to come but none of the directors have addressed this issue because they know that there is no answer that can satisfy the fans.
Secondly, everyone has a false idea that if the team gain promotion to the Premier League then everything will be fine. Think about this logically, in a hypothetical situation if Ipswich, Leicester and Burnley were to be promoted this season then how much would each club look to spend to survive? How would Ipswich be capable of investing in their team as much as Leicester or Burnley, or even any other lower Premier League side if they use their promotion money to pay off their debt?
Of course promotion would be financially helpful, but my point is that it is not a complete instant fix as you need to invest a competitive sum of money into the team in order to have a productive season on the pitch.
It is also frustrating to hear that the club cannot pay local suppliers on time due to cash flow issues and some of the unpaid suppliers also suffered when the club previously went into administration. A football club like Ipswich should not be having such issues and should not be treating local companies in this way.
If Evans can afford to rack up £82 million worth of debt then surely he can roll out a bit of cash to stop the club harming these small businesses?
I don’t want to sound anti-Evans, it is important to remember that without him the club could well be non-existent. My main issue is that the current directors often play down the effect of the club’s huge debt, and the reality is that even in the best case scenario it will hinder the Tractor Boys future to a certain degree.