Apologies after directorship fiasco

SORRY often seems to be the hardest word, according to Sir Elton John.But it is one Michael Anderson felt compelled to say repeatedly yesterday as he tried to explain why he misled Ipswich Town's board over his connections with Aldershot and Kettering Town.

SORRY often seems to be the hardest word, according to Sir Elton John.

But it is one Michael Anderson felt compelled to say repeatedly yesterday as he tried to explain why he misled Ipswich Town's board over his connections with Aldershot and Kettering Town.

While Ipswich's club chairman David Sheepshanks and chief executive David Bowden, were left fuming and humiliated, Mr Anderson gave one-on-one interviews with the media at the Holiday Inn in London Road, Ipswich.

Although showing no discomfort at throwing himself on the mercy of fans and club, time and time again, the pharmaceutical entrepreneur, who values his privacy, was far more reticent when it came to having his photograph taken.

Before entering one of the hotel's conference rooms where the scheduled ten-minute meetings were to be held, it was made clear the 52-year-old would not be posing for photographs.

Not one to shy away from a profusion of apologies, it appeared however, that he was far too shy to be pictured.

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The official reason given was that he was wearing an open-necked shirt and not suitably attired to pose for photographers, even though one journalist did make an offer to lend a tie.

When his tall, well-built, frame came in, he offered his hand to shake and sat down with his business partner Barry Green on his left for support.

Watched over by Ipswich Town's communications manager Terry Baxter, to his credit Mr Anderson never sought to justify the glaring omissions from his footballing CV, other than citing his embarrassment.

His primary messages were to reassert his love for Ipswich Town, to reaffirm his commitment to the club and, oh yes, to offer his apologies.

Mr Anderson said: “I'm a football fan. I love football. Having a chance to get in with Ipswich Town was like a dream come true.”

However, despite being very open about his mistake, it was like trying to nail jelly to the wall when it came to certain aspects of his life.

Although Mr Anderson said he lived near Ipswich when in this country, he would not divulge where. We narrowed it down to East Anglia, with an inclination towards Essex. But that was as far as we got in relation to specifics.

Likewise when it came how much he has actually invested in Ipswich, Mr Anderson again declined to go into detail. We danced figuratively-speaking for a while over whether it was a six or seven-figure sum, but he was adamant it was a private matter until such time as the club's accounts were published publicly.

Regardless of his reluctance to answer certain questions, there can be no doubting his anxiety to put the blame squarely on his own shoulders for the awkward publicity that now swirls around him and the club.

He was also keen to pledge his continued allegiance to Ipswich Town.

He said: “I live not far from Ipswich. I came to see them play Chelsea in a cup game many, many years ago and have followed their results ever since.

“I am still hoping to get on the board. We have bought a striker and the money has been used on behalf of Ipswich Town Football Club. That was the intention when I came in and still is.”

Mr Anderson said he had offered to plough his money into shares into Ipswich Town to help the club and in spite of reports to the contrary he had never been a director, saying it was at his request that his appointment be delayed because of the furore.

“It (the investment) was at my behest. I have not actually taken out a directorship and I suggested it being postponed to clear this matter up.

“It's been very embarrassing. With the benefit of hindsight it's easy. I have made a serious misjudgement and embarrassed the club, fans, board, my family and myself. The list goes on.”

Asked how he would respond to fans suspicious of his motives, Mr Anderson replied: “I think there are always suspicions at football clubs and people doing things for the right reason. I would just like to assure supporters, hand on heart, I have invested in Ipswich because I want to see the club doing well.”

He added he hope supporters did not hold his inauspicious start as a significant shareholder against him and claimed to have not been fully aware of Aldershot's travails when he joined the club.

“I love football and wanted to get in for many, many years and I though third time lucky(with Ipswich). I have made myself look an idiot”

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