By Dave Gooderham
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
MARCUS Evans thought “throwing money” at Ipswich Town would all-but guarantee Premier League football.
But the fact the reclusive businessman bought the Blues in the first place saved them from a “big hole” five years ago.
That is the viewpoint of Town chief executive Simon Clegg, the public face of the football club with Evans having no intention of moving away from his private persona.
Both in terms of how to run a football club and how you achieve success on the pitch, Evans has been on a steep learning curve with too many managers in his five years – Jim Magilton, Roy Keane and Paul Jewell at the helm.
But the appointment of Mick McCarthy has returned the feel-good factor around Portman Road and shown off Evans’ continued ability to attract big-name bosses.
Clegg said: “I think it was the case that he thought throwing money at the team would lead to Premier League football.
“For instance, Roy said he wanted this player, this is how much it is going to cost, Marcus gets the cheque book out and writes the figures.
“But he has learnt you can’t buy success. Obviously you need good players, we have to be competitive, but success is not totally linked with the amount of money you spend.”
After buying the club in December 2007, the closest Town have got to the Premier League was, ironically, under the manager Evans inherited – Jim Magilton leading Town to 8th and 9th. Keane’s only full season at Portman Road saw them finish 15th, while Jewell achieved only 13th and 15th.
Summing up the situation, Clegg said: “I don’t think you can put your finger on what has gone wrong. If you could put your finger on it, we would have got it right with Paul – and Jim and Roy before that.
“We have never put a timeframe (on promotion) as we didn’t want to box ourselves into a corner. But I continue to believe this will be a Premier League club in years to come.”
Evans’ buy-out was confirmed almost five years after Ipswich Town entered administration – a crucial move to prevent further financial problems, according to Clegg.
He explained: “One could speculate what would have happened had Marcus Evans not come in and bought the club when he did.
“Financially, the organisation was in a big hole, let’s be very clear about that.
“He has made a significant investment and backed his managers.”