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Director to put hands in pockets

PUBLISHED: 19:43 25 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:46 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Town directors are putting their hands in their pockets to help the cash-strapped football club, it emerged today.

Members of the board are planning to take out loan stock in the club – which could be converted into shares at a later date.

IPSWICH Town directors are putting their hands in their pockets to help the cash-strapped football club, it emerged today.

Members of the board are planning to take out loan stock in the club – which could be converted into shares at a later date.

The news comes just weeks after chairman David Sheepshanks told hundreds of fans there was "No Jack Walker or Jack Hayward" on the board at Portman Road.

"We're not talking about the kind of money they were dealing with," he said today.

"We are talking in terms of five or six figure sums, not eight or nine figure sums."

Mr Sheepshanks said other large investors had expressed an interest in taking out loan stock. "I have been working very hard on this over recent weeks," he said.

One potential investor he is keen to talk to is banker Peter Morris, who has emerged as a possible challenger to his position on the board.

The club has seven directors, including Mr Sheepshanks and chief executive Derek Bowden.

Although they might not have the financial clout of some footballing "sugar daddies," many do have money to spare – and combined together they could bring in several hundreds of thousands of pounds.

More important than the money itself could be the signal it sends to supporters and bankers that the board is prepared to back the club financially.

Meanwhile it emerged that Norwich City is one of its unsecured creditors.

City's name appears among the 500-strong list of creditors prepared ahead of next Friday's creditors meeting.

The list does not include each sum, but a spokesman for Norwich City told The Evening Star: "We are owed, the grand sum of … £75.

"The money was for 30 match day programmes ordered just before administration by Ipswich," he added.

Assuming Ipswich stays in the Nationwide League, the Canaries can expect a cheque for £3.75 as payment of this bill!

All types of businesses are included in the ten foolscap pages-long list alongside Norwich.

Among them are hotels, public houses, solicitors, hire companies, caterers and florists.

Many of the unsecured creditors have spoken to The Evening Star to say they are pleased to know that there has been a contender for the chairmanship.

One such creditor said she was grateful to know that someone was trying to do something about Mr Sheepshanks' style of leadership.

"Mr Sheepshanks is a good public relations man but he does not like anyone to criticise him or how he runs the club.

"Thank goodness someone is trying to oust him. I am not being vindictive but enough is enough," said the businesswoman who asked not to be named.

Jonathan King is pleased with Peter Morris' plans for getting in to Town's hot seat.

Mr King, a director at Fynn Valley Foods, said: "It is excellent news, I will support him."

But he was unconvinced by Mr Sheepshanks offer to invest more in the club.

"It is a gesture, but has come a bit late to help creditors. This is to appease the fans.

"Instead of ploughing their own money in to the club it would have been better if it was going towards paying off the money to creditors that will be written off."

Meanwhile the club is appealing to fans to book their seats at Portman Road until the end of the 2022-23 season!

The club is hoping to persuade some die-hard fans to buy 20-year debentures to watch the Blues.

And for those with very deep pockets, you could buy a seat in the directors' box for the next 20 seasons – for a cool £40,000.

The club unveiled its new season ticket prices today – and promised another price freeze at the end of next season for fans who renew by the end of May this year.

That will mean season ticket prices will have been frozen for four years – and the price will remain the same whether the club is promoted to the Premiership or not.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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