Marcus Evans wrote for the matchday programme on Saturday. Here is the column in full...
The penalties associated with the FFP means we face challenges to reorganise the Club to ensure that we work within the new rules.
I am committed to ensuring the Club is, from a business perspective, as efficient as it can be whilst operating within the financial constraints of FFP and reducing non-playing costs to provide the most competitive possible playing budget for our manager to develop and strengthen the team.
We have a new manager, and with that comes different player requirements. Mick will need time to mould the team in his vision and I will be supporting him, as I have every other manager, to achieve eventual promotion to the Premier League.
FFP does not necessarily change our competitive position financially relative to other clubs or prevent us ensuring that we can support the manager’s requirements and there are a number of reasons why we will continue to be as competitive as most other clubs in attempting to secure promotion to the Premiership:
1. We have an Academy stronger than many and we will be aiming to bring talent through to the first-team. Our Academy advantage over others will remain.
Securing promotion now is a harder task than it was five years ago. We currently have five clubs playing this season in the Championship with the benefit of a £48 million parachute payment which runs over four years. In 2009, the parachute payment was only £16 million over two years. However, a quick look at the top eight and bottom eight clubs in this week’s Championship table shows that parachute money is no guarantee of success.
We have all seen clubs on similar and lower budgets to that of Ipswich making a serious promotion challenge so the financial status of our Club compared to others cannot be used as any excuse for our failings of the past four seasons.
Going forwards, as we look to succeed where in the past we haven’t, the Club will continue to leave its managers free to manage without interference from the owner or the club board.
Our manager will continue to dictate football policy, he chooses the players and when new or existing players can be secured within budget, we will seek to reach agreement.
It’s worth noting that in the past, the only players we have not agreed terms with have tended to be those that did not make financial sense, either in terms of the annual wage or in the length of contractual commitments.
FFP will not change our position on this and I will continue to communicate closely with the manager as to what the Club can afford so his efforts and that of his team are not wasted on unrealistic targets.
In Mick we are fortunate enough to have a highly experienced manager and someone whose skills and experience encompass all the roles a top manager needs to undertake, ie being a manager, a coach and a director of football all wrapped up into one. We are certainly lucky to have an individual who can and wants to take on these broad responsibilities.
Moving on to some management issues on the non-football side, Simon Clegg’s departure will enable me to work more closely with our loyal and hard-working team at Portman Road and along with Ian Milne and Jonathan Symonds I will be doing everything I can to ensure that the admin team provides the necessary support to ensure the most efficient environment for our manager and playing staff. At the top of my list when making any decision is ‘ will this change enable the manager to be more focused on football matters and not drawn into other areas?’
I am also fully committed to working closely with the community and ensuring that we keep an open line of communication with our fans. The Club’s work with the community through the ITFC Charitable Trust will continue as it always has done. I will also ensure that our commitment to the Ipswich Academy remains.
I realise that Ipswich Town has a special place in the community, which differs from many other clubs and that Simon, and David [Sheepshanks] before him, were an important link with fans in receiving and taking account of their views. Whilst I will not be undertaking similar commitments myself on a day-to-day basis, I will be assessing any void that has appeared through Simon’s departure over the course of the next few months, and should it be the case that this needs to be filled, I will be addressing that over the summer. That said, our manager will always have a lot to say!
There is still a long way to go before the end of this season and despite the fact that Mick’s record since he joined the Club, if multiplied over the course of a season would put us within the Play-Off places, there is still a lot to be done to ensure that we remain in this division and build over the summer to mount a strong promotion challenge next season.
As always, I am amazed and grateful at the ongoing support from the supporters of this fantastic club and I can assure all fans that I will be doing everything I can to ensure our success in the years ahead.