Marcus Evans is so distant: isn’t it time we got to know him now?
PUBLISHED: 16:19 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:19 05 August 2019
Liz Nice says it’s time for the Ipswich Town chairman to bring the fans into his confidence - working together has to be the way forward, surely?
I was talking to my brother at the weekend about football and I wouldn't say we are particularly cheerful.
Yes, our team, Ipswich Town, squeezed out a win at the weekend at Burton Albion, but it was touch and go and we're not entirely with the bookies at the moment, who predict a top six finish for us.
Did they watch us last season, we wondered, and what, really, has changed?
Paul Lambert does not appear to be a very happy man - those who witnessed his first press conference said they had rarely seen a more bad-tempered occasion. Lambert says he and our chairman, Marcus Evans, get along well but his frustration over the lack of transfer activity is plain.
Meanwhile, friends in the Norwich office say Lambert has been in this mood before - at Blackburn, for example, where the issues of money and having to be a spokesman for the club, were also raised. Weeks later, he was gone. No-one wants that to happen here.
Lambert has urged Marcus Evans to be transparent with the fans so hopefully he will address us in the match programme on Saturday at the very least.
I've no reason to believe that Evans hasn't given his all, both emotionally and financially - but how would I know?
As a fan, my issue with him has always been his elusiveness. He only gave his first face-to-face, on the record interview with an independent media organisation (us) in January this year - 11 years after buying the club. Most fans would say that's not enough.
Ipswich Town used to be a family club, one where everyone felt part of things and we stuck together through glory and pain.
But how can you stick together with someone you have barely seen or heard from? I would struggle to pick our chairman out in a line up. That feels wrong.
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No one expects a magic wand.
Football has changed beyond all recognition from the game I fell in love with as child.
I read of the supposed £80m deal to take Harry Maguire to Manchester United at the weekend and my heart sank.
Money really is all that matters these days, and you can't blame Maguire for going. But when the top teams can take their pick and the sums of money changing hands are so ludicrous, you know the chances of seeing another Leicester City, or even Norwich City or Ipswich Town winning the Premier League in your lifetime, are long gone.
I agree with Lambert that Evans just needs to talk to us.
'If he doesn't have the money…then fine - just tell the fans what's going on,' Lambert said.
Whatever his motivation for saying it, he's right. We can take it. We're not stupid but so often people at the top of organisations assume that is exactly what those of us at the bottom of it are; that we can't be trusted with the true picture; that we have to be protected from reality, or perhaps that we are so amoeba-like, we are not worth bothering with at all.
This is never wise.
Management is the same whether you run a football club, a newspaper, a university, a factory or a shop.
If the top man, or woman, is aloof and uncommunicative, if they seem too busy for the workers in their charge, the workers will still slog along, but they won't be working for you or with you, or thinking about the greater good. They won't relish your victories either, preferring, perversely, to see you fail.
But if you bring them in, inspire them, share the truth of what is really going on, you face the future together; and people bring their ideas and their passion and really give their all.
Ipswich Town has never needed the fans behind them more - and Evans would make a huge difference if he stood beside us right now, instead of being a blank face in a distant room.
It's the only way that the magic can ever happen, and, let's face it, if we've stopped believing in the magic of football, why bother with the game at all?
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