With Marcus Evans worth £765million – more than Sir Paul McCartney – is it time for more investment in Ipswich Town?
- Credit: Archant
Is it time for Marcus Evans to start putting more of his wealth into Ipswich Town?
The ITFC owner was not one of those on the East Anglian Rich List whose wealth increased in the last year, but he is still ranked fourth with a £765million fortune.
This also makes him the 146th richest person in the UK, ahead of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney (worth £760m).
Evans bought a controlling stake in Town in a deal finalised in December 2007.
Since then he has worked with four managers but the club has only once managed to challenge for the play-offs, last season.
While Evans backed Roy Keane and Paul Jewell financially when it came to transfer fees Mick McCarthy’s reign has been characterised by more frugal purchases despite the big-money sales of left-backs Aaron Cresswell and Tyrone Mings.
And it is the cash from those players which fans want to see reinvested in a more visible way.
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That is according to Rob Freeman, a member of the independent ITFC supporters’ fanzine Turnstile Blues.
“Fans are being asked to put their hands in their pockets for extra money for the academy and in the last few seasons there doesn’t seem to be much from Marcus Evans,” he said.
“The money we have spent on the likes of Jonas Knudsen appears to have been quite minor fees.”
Mr Freeman said fans also felt spending more money on the playing staff would solve another issue bugging the fans.
“From the last few games I have been to the style of play is also starting to wear people down as well,” he said.
“If we were able to sign players who were able to bring a better style of play that would help as well.”
Club officials have sought to counter criticism of the club’s spending policy by pointing out that the salary bill for the playing squad has increased significantly.
Evans’ wealth matches up fairly well when compared to other Championship club owners and shareholders – and also betters that of some associated with Premier League teams.
While clubs like Queens Park Rangers and Fulham have backers whose fortunes stretch into the billions, the owners or primary shareholders of Wolves (Steve Morgan), Middlesbrough (Steve Gibson), Hull City (Assem Allam), Derby County (Mel Morris) and Blackburn Rovers (Balaji and Venkatesh Rao) are all reportedly worth less than Evans.
In the top flight David Sullivan and David Gold (West Ham), Jeremy Peace (West Brom), Watford’s Gino Pozzo, Maxim Demin of Bournemouth and Steve Parish, Martin Long, Stephen Browett and Jeremy Hosking (all Crystal Palace) are reportedly less wealthy than the ITFC owner.
However the way the Rich List is calculated may not mean Evans actually has more cash to splash than these others.
Philip Beresford, a compiler for the Sunday Times Rich List, said rich businessmen like Evans are unlikely to have a lot of their money readily available to spend.
A lot of it is tied up in their business interests, he said, with someone having a £700m fortune perhaps only holding £50-100m of that themselves. The wealth attributed to someone in the Rich List could actually be the value of the company or companies they own, their investments or a variety of other assets.