Norwich City, Ipswich Town and an even greater divide?
Football has a nasty habit of biting you on the backside when you get carried away – but let’s be honest, it hasn’t stopped us before.
Last season the Canaries underlined the widening gap between their arch East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town with 180 minutes of domination and a 9-2 aggregate to keep every Norwich City fan warm through the threateningly cold winter of a Premier League famine.
And this week Town revealed figures that suggest the gap off the pitch could rival those 4-1 and 5-1 scorelines – yes, any excuse to bring them up.
The Tractorboys’ overall debt reached an eye-watering �66.17m in June – even though headlines proclaimed the ‘achievement’ of a �136,00 pre-tax and interest profit.
Obviously the debt figure is high, but it is also less threatening than those hanging over some clubs. No external creditors are involved – the money is all owed to mystery owner Marcus Evans.
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I assume Mr Evans isn’t joining in with Movember – given he’s very protective of his face, it would be a wasted exercise.
However, Mr Evans’ role as the sole internal creditor is hugely important. When he took over in 2007, Evans bought the club’s �32m debt owed to Norwich Union and Barclays – famous Norwich institutions – for about �7m.
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Not that he reduced how much the club owed after his takeover. That stayed at �32m – until he started spending. Now the debt figure has doubled, with last year’s �3.17m interest payment to Evans eradicating that �136,000 profit.
Plus, there is little hope of repeating the �10.85m brought in from the sales of Connor Wickham and Jonathan Walters that has helped to ease the books.
Compare all this to Norwich, who despite making losses of �1.2m and �3.94m in the past two accounting years have reduced their overall debt from �22.9m to �16.8m, kept hold of their major playing and management assets – and football ground – as well as producing one of the most successful spells on the pitch in the club’s history.
Town continue to spend money and back manager Paul Jewell in their hunt for an escape route from the Championship behind City. And there would be nothing better than a return of the East Anglian derby to the top flight.
For a man of Evans’ resources – all �200m of them – the financial situation at Ipswich may not be of overwhelming concern. One day he may be happy to either write off his hard earned notes, sell up, or welcome in the Premier League and all that comes with it.
But from here on in, more than ever, Ipswich are solely reliant on one man’s whim – mo or no mo.
• Speaking of which, visit mobro.co/michaelbailey and sponsor mine and the Evening News sportsdesk’s Movember effort – or click on the link at the top-right of this page – all in aid of raising men’s health issues. Thank you!