In a letter from owner Marcus Evans to Town supporters today on the official website, he discusses season ticket sales, the NHS, financial constraints and more.
He begins by wishing all Ipswich Town Supporters his best wishes ‘in these difficult and unprecedented times’ and pays particular attention to the National Health Service, who he says has put themselves ahead of others to keep us safe, whilst many of us are in the safety of a lockdown environment. He also highlights the clubs’ intention to do all it can to help the community.
He then begins to focus on the financial implications of the current situation and that ‘the financial fallout caused by the pandemic is a very real threat to the entire existence of some football clubs, and has been the subject of much discussion at recent EFL meetings.’
In matters closer to home, he touches upon the suggestion by the EFL to play the remainder of the season behind closed doors – although he indicates that nothing as yet is set in stone. He states the need to look forward too and now that ‘there is the possibility of games being played behind closed doors from time to time when health measures require, our season ticket strategy needs to address this and these are the same issues now as they will be in three months time.’
He says that like all clubs in the business, COVID-19 has caused a serious loss of revenue but he has had a consultation with playing and non-playing members of staff to avoid the need for drastic restructuring when the crisis is abated. He explains that there is ‘ incredible togetherness and determination to achieve this goal.’ The Blues have placed nearly all their off-field staff on furlough and he suggests that most clubs will want this season to end – even if it means a delay to the next one.
ITFC has also been looking at practical approaches to social distancing at the stadium, once things are up and running again. Evans then talks about the four major benefits for all season ticket holders who renew by May 7th.
‘ You will receive free internet viewing of any behind closed doors home match for next season and in addition for any behind closed doors match as extra compensation you will also receive a complimentary ticket to a home cup match, so long as there are still cup matches in the season and also two free tickets for guests to join you at the next available League home game in season 20/21 as another make good for the loss of a game behind closed doors. In addition, if we play in League One next season and are promoted to the Championship for season 21/22, then all those purchases made by May 7 will have a guaranteed price freeze for season 21/22.’
Evans says that he fully understand some supporters desire to put things on hold until the picture becomes a lot clearer and that an ‘Early Bird ticket offer announced in due course.’
With regard to next season’s new football kits, plans were at an advanced stage – even before the virus set in, and the launch is now likely to take place in the summer, ‘at the usual community events, post-July.’
The suspension of football at the beginning of March has had a dramatic downturn in the clubs’ finances. Regular income from ticket sales, food and beverage, programme sales; along with club sponsorships and the corporate use of the Portman Road ground, have all felt the impact of this enforced lockdown.
Evans ends on a positive note. ‘Once again my best wishes to everyone in the Ipswich community, football and non-football fans alike. Please be sure we will do everything we can to assist our return to whatever levels of normality are open to us. There is also the small matter of coming back with a fully fit and energised squad to challenge for promotion. First and foremost though, the health of everyone is of the most importance. I wish you well.’
They say that honesty is the best policy, and certainly once again, in extracts from his letter above, he is transparent about his aims for the club and of it getting in good shape for another promotion push. The Blues ship is sailing into unprecedented waters, however, and the coastline is still not visible.
Academic and theologian Archbishop Richard Whateley said once of honesty this. ” Honesty is the best policy; but he who is governed by that maxim is not an honest man.”
Thankfully, this does not apply to our owner Marcus Evans then.