Bookies cut Town odds after cash boost

BETTING odds on Ipswich winning promotion to the Premiership this season have been slashed in the wake of news that top businessman Marcus Evans is to take control at Portman Road.

BETTING odds on Ipswich winning promotion to the Premiership this season have been slashed in the wake of news that top businessman Marcus Evans is to take control at Portman Road.

A fine start to the season combined with the prospective takeover has led to betting giants Ladbrokes offering odds of 6/1 that Town will be returning to the top flight come next season.

The price - cut from 10/1 at the start of the season - suggests Town are now nearly twice as likely to go up now than they were just three months ago.

Following Sunday's game against Norwich, Ipswich sit fourth in the Championship table just five points from an automatic promotion spot.

This combined with imminent investment including cash for players has seen Ipswich emerge as genuine promotion contenders.

Nick Weinberg, spokesman for Ladbrokes, said: “The arrival of a new owner and a cash injection will no doubt boost Ipswich's chances of returning to the top flight.

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“But there are a number of clubs, with sizeable backers, who will be competing to join the big boys.

“It's a step in the right direction but the Tractor Boys are some way off challenging for the domestic game's top honours.”

Meanwhile bookies are clearly impressed with Ipswich's new found spending power with the odds on the Blues signing a full England international within the next 12 months standing at evens.

It is understood around £12million will be made available for players once the club's existing £32million debt is paid off following a deal being struck to pay 20 pence in the pound - a total of around £6.4million - to settle the balance.

The outlook for Ipswich is significantly better than for fierce rivals Norwich who have been quoted at 6/5 to be playing their football in League One next season.

Meanwhile Ipswich are quoted at 100/1 to qualify for the Champions League in the next five years and 250/1 to win the Premier League in the same period.

The odds are significantly shorter (20/1) that the new owner will make himself known to the Ipswich faithful and appear on the centre circle at Portman Road this season.

What do you think of Ipswich's chances for promotion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Ipswich Town odds

1) Ipswich Town winning promotion to the Premier League this season = 6/1

2) Ipswich Town in the Champions League in next five seasons = 100/1

3) Ipswich Town winning the Premier League in next five seasons = 250/1

4) Ipswich Town signing a full England international in next 12 months = Evens

5) Reclusive Marcus Evans appearing on the centre circle at Portman Road this season = 20/1

6) Norwich City getting relegated = 6/5

FIGURING out the identity of Ipswich's new owner is going to become an awful lot more difficult after a new clothing line was launched picking up on the reclusive nature of Marcus Evans.

A t-shirt proclaiming “I'm Marcus Evans” - a reference to classic film Spartacus - has gone on sale at Ipswich website Those Were the Days (TWTD).

In the 1960 film, Spartacus, a gladiator slave played by Kirk Douglas, is protected from being identified by his Roman masters by fellow slaves who stood up and declared “I'm Spartacus” in a bid to throw them off the scent.

Phil Ham, who runs the TWTD website, said: “It all stems from the element of mystery about who our new prospective majority shareholder is.

“Journalists are chasing around the country to try and find out who he is.”

The t-shirt, designed by Dan Thomas, is available in blue or white for £15 from www.twtd.co.uk/shop

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