Chairman glad to get back to football

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks was today getting back to the essentials – watching his team play football – after one of the most difficult weeks in his career in the Town boardroom.

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks was today getting back to the essentials – watching his team play football – after one of the most difficult weeks in his career in the Town boardroom.

As the team prepared for today's match against Millwall, the chairman told The Evening Star about the pressures facing the board.

The financial position, caused by relegation from the Premiership, had forced the club to agree to sell captain Matt Holland and star defender Hermann Hreidarrson.

Both eventually decided to stay with Town – but that has done nothing to ease the club's cash crisis.

The number of staff employed by the club has dropped.

No one has been made redundant, but there is an almost total recruitment freeze.

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"We have had three or four members of staff leave over the last few months and they haven't been replaced.

"And people who leave in the future won't be replaced either, unless it is vital that we do get someone else in.

"But you can only cut so far – you need people to bring in revenue so there is a balance to be struck," he said.

One post which was advertised recently was PA to the new chief executive.

"In an organisation like this, of course the chief executive needs a PA – but the timing of the job advertisement was unfortunate," he conceded.

The board would be looking at the option of issuing more shares, but this was something that would develop over the next few months rather than weeks.

"It's not something that we can rush into – and it's not cut and dried. There are other options like issuing bonds.

"But issuing new shares is certainly an option that has not been discounted. We accept that it's something that fans would like to be involved with – but if they do wan to help then they can come along and cheer on the team," Mr Sheepshanks added.

The next week is crucial for Ipswich – after today's match there are two home matches, against Bradford on Monday and Beggen on Thursday evening.

After the stunning victory against Leicester, Town chiefs are hoping for bumper crowds for the next two games to cheer the club to the top of the Nationwide League and into the first round proper of the UEFA Cup.

A run in Europe would be a real bonus – especially if the games attract television coverage.

This was not budgeted for when the business plan was drawn up, so success in the UEFA cup would mean a welcome boost for the club's finances.

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