Clegg assures fans finances are secure

IPSWICH Town today dismissed a review that rated the Championship club as 'insolvent'.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town today dismissed a review that rated the Championship club as 'insolvent'.

Chief executive Simon Clegg stressed: “Ipswich Town FC is most definitely not an insolvent football club.”

Half the clubs in the division are listed as insolvent including Ipswich, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol City with Middlesbrough and Blackpool both scoring a zero credit rating.

Financial woes of Premiership clubs are well recognised, but the latest research by business information provider Equifax suggests that Championship clubs are much more vulnerable than those in the top flight.

But Clegg insists that with the support of the Marcus Evans Group Ipswich are in sound financial health.

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He went on: “While there is a historical legacy of debt, nothing is now owed by Ipswich Town to a bank or other financial institution.

“Previous loans from Norwich Union, Barclays and the Bank of Scotland are now settled.

“The club benefits from the ongoing support of the Marcus Evans Group, which enables us to pay our obligations to players, staff and suppliers as they fall due.

“As previously reported to PLC shareholders it greatly benefits the club to have the holder of the debt the same person as the majority shareholder.

“This means interests of all stakeholders are aligned to one aim - that of gaining promotion as quickly as possible.”

Ipswich are the ninth most secure club in the second tier of English football.

In a fiercely competitive division with no booming television deal and skewed by the presence of relegated sides with millions of pounds worth of parachute-payments per season, clubs appear to be seriously overspending as they chase the gold of Premier League promotion.

The survey examined a number of financial indicators that included accounts data, age of accounts, trading stability, profitability, working capital, gearing and legal and court information.

Wealthy club owner Marcus Evans cushions financial concerns for Town with the club's former debt now the responsibility of the millionaire businessman.

He has made money available to improve the playing staff and the Blues are - in comparative terms - able to function normally and are in no danger of going into administration as they did in 2002.

“There's no denying that it's a challenging season for the Championship,” said Neil Munroe, external affairs director, Equifax.

“Not only is it seeking a new title sponsor after rejecting an offer from Coca-Cola to extend its deal. But sponsors at Championship level are often more local than the blue-chip companies who associate with Premier League names.”

Equifax ratings table

(score out of 100)

Plymouth Argyle 85, West Brom 83, Derby 61, Reading 54, Scunthorpe 52, Watford 42, Barnsley 39 (I), Sheffield United 30, Ipswich Town 26 (I), QPR 16, Nottingham Forest 13 (I), Newcastle 11 (I), Bristol City 10 (I), Leicester City 9 (I), Preston 8, Doncaster 8 (I), Cardiff City 4 (I), Peterborough 4 (I), Sheffield Wednesday 2 (I), Swansea City 2 (I), Crystal Palace 2 (I), Coventry 2 (I), Middlesbrough 0 (I), Blackpool 0 (I). (I) = insolvent.

Risk based upon a scale of 0 to 100; the lower the score the higher the credit risk.

100-80 = very good, 79-65 = good, 64-50 above average, 49-35 = average, 34-20 = below average, 19-0 = low.