After a protracted set of negotiations, the takeover of Ipswich Town was finally confirmed in April, with the Tractor Boys coming under new American ownership.
Marcus Evans had been running the show at Portman Road for over 13 years, but he decided that it was time to hand over the reins to Gamechanger 20, whose directors have plenty of experience when it comes to running football clubs.
The main face of the company seems to be Brett Johnson, and he’s also invested in American side Phoenix Rising, as well as FC Tuscon and Helsingor in Denmark.
Taking charge at a former Premier League club though is a different challenge in itself, and it’s a club that needs a rebuild from top to bottom.
That has already started, with Mark O’Leary the new chairman and Bristol City’s Mark Ashton as the CEO, and a fresh new playing squad is likely to follow suit as Cook clears the decks.
Ipswich may have been lucky to get Johnson and co though, as he’s revealed in an interview with Tribal Football that he and his consortium took a look at purchasing not only their League One rivals Charlton Athletic in the past, but also a Premier League side.
Can you name the Ipswich Town player who has been carded the most in each of the last 16 seasons?
“We did spend a couple of years ago kicking the tyres like a lot of people have at potentially having a run at Newcastle United,” said Johnson.
“We had raised money to play a minority shareholding in a syndicate and for a lot of reasons these deals don’t happen – they’re fraught with complexity.
“We did a substantial amount of due diligence, we were able to bring together a bunch of financial sponsors behind our stake in that club and what ultimately that yielded was in particular a partner on Ipswich, and after that positive experience they said ‘we love the thesis, we love you guys – go out and find something else’.
“We kicked the tyres for a little while on Charlton, which didn’t come to fruition but it positioned us well after those two sort-of misses to take a step back and say ‘Let’s proactively go out and seek a club where we reach out to the buyer and try to negotiate an off-market transaction and that’s exactly what we did with Ipswich.”
Johnson may not have had the funds to be a major player at Newcastle United, but he could have definitely taken over at The Valley considering he’s managed to now get hold of Ipswich.
Charlton fans probably won’t be thinking now ‘What if?’ especially when Johnson and his team haven’t done much yet – although it is early days – but their current owner in Thomas Sandgaard seems to be finally getting them back on the straight and narrow.
Newcastle fans have been wanting new owners to take over from Mike Ashley for a number of years, so this particular revelation will probably give fans more reason to be frustrated – nevertheless it seems as though Ipswich have good owners at the helm now and ones who could push them to the next level.