Our game is still on hold, and it could be as late as September before the new season starts. How will it all look and will football ever be the same again? Coventry City has already released eight players and they have just been promoted to the Championship and don’t even have their own ground! We can expect to see a lot of clubs in big financial trouble and Ipswich Town is not immune.
Certainly, the smaller clubs will seriously struggle to survive, and this applies to League One and League Two. The Blues will lose a few of their stand-out performers, and what is even more unpalatable is that they are players who have been here for decades. Luke Woolfenden and Flynn Downes are just two of the casualties of our failure to secure promotion at the first attempt. Downes has been with Town since he was seven, and Woolfenden since he was eleven, and although they both say they want to stay and help Ipswich rise up the leagues, every player has a price and owner Marcus Evans will forget all about his five-point plan when those enticing offers start coming in.
And the damage to lower league football will be immense. Tranmere Rovers are considering legal action after they were relegated with Bolton Wanderers who have removed Keith Hill as their manager. Rovers chairman Mark Palios said in a statement that the way things were decided was unjust. We have been very clear that we regard the vote as unfair, unjust and entirely unnecessary infliction of damage on our Club when we are already grappling with the impact of a global pandemic. Rovers were just three points off safety with a game in hand, and their sense of injustice was aggravated further because they had won their last three matches! The club expects to lose one million pounds in lost revenue and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Darragh MacAnthony, who is the owner of Peterborough United, was equally frustrated with the way the EFL decided to end the season. “We have to have the largest chip you’ve ever seen on your shoulder. We, collectively, together as a football club, have to right this injustice, we have to right this wrong.” Of course, some clubs were happy to see the season end due to the financial costs of completing it. Gillingham Chairmen Paul Scally was relieved it was all over and told BBC Radio Kent that the risks were too high to continue. ” The reality is for us to finish the season would cost between £350,000 and £500,000 for each League One and League Two club.”
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has warned that football might never be the same again. “The game needs the fans. It’s not the same game without supporters in the stadium and the longer that goes on, the more clubs less fortunate than ourselves will find themselves in real trouble.”
Even before a ball was kicked this season we lost Bury Town, and almost lost Bolton Wanderers as well. It seems inevitable that more clubs will go to the wall and it might just mean that next season League One will be an amalgamation of the two lower leagues – or the EFL might revert to a League One North and a League One South. Some big decisions will have to be made and how it will impact on Ipswich Town football club remains to be seen.