I'm not quitting, says blues chief

IPSWICH TOWN chairman David Sheepshanks today vowed to ride out the storm and fight for a better future for his club.After a series of protests added to the gloom at Portman Road during Town's 2-1 defeat by West Ham, Sheepshanks today said: "I've got a job to do for the club.

IPSWICH TOWN chairman David Sheepshanks today vowed to ride out the storm and fight for a better future for his club.

After a series of protests added to the gloom at Portman Road during Town's 2-1 defeat by West Ham, Sheepshanks today said: "I've got a job to do for the club.

"Right now the success of the club is most important and we are all committed to achieving that."

The protests came regularly during both the first and second half and then a 'Sheepshanks Out' banner was unfurled in the top tier of the North Stand.

Then, after the match had ended, disgruntled fans refused to budge from their seats and called for the board to be sacked during a hostile protest.

During the game, a small section of the North Stand chanted obscenities in the second half and cries of 'sack the board'; 'where's the money gone' and 'David Sheepshanks, you're not fit to run the club' could be heard.

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But when a small section in the lower tier tried to fire up an anti-Royle chant, they were drowned out by boos from the rest of the stand. However, the anti-Sheepshanks and board songs were not challenged.

About 50 supporters vented their spleen at the Blues supremo, who admitted he was hurt by the remarks, but instead of shying away from the issue, invited two of the angry fans to his office for a chat.

Mr Sheepshanks said today he was oblivious of the after match protest until the club's safety officer informed him about the sit-in.

He said: "I heard the chants in the second half but was unaware to the 50 or so fans who had stayed behind after the whistle.

"I offered to see a couple of them in my office and we had an open and frank discussion. They expressed their frustration in a reasonable manner and we listened to each other's points of view for about an hour.

"The meeting was equally as good for me as it was for them. They told me the chants were not personal and that they didn't mean it to be taken that way. They were just venting their frustration.

"At the end of the day I am not too different from them. I am a dedicated fan of the club and what will make us all feel better will be results on the pitch."

The chairman recalls having met the two supporters on previous occasions and one even brought him a drink in Helsingborgs.

After the meeting Mr Sheepshanks offered to meet with more of the unhappy supporters at a later date but was told it wouldn't be necessary.

"I believe they left we a much clearer understanding of the clubs position. We are not drifting. We are working to a plan, it may not be a visible, but at a time when the future of the club was threatened, the club is now is a much better position," he said.

"Finances are still tight but the most important point is that the club is increasingly secure. The final piece in the jigsaw is to have a successful share issue which is scheduled for October/November.

"The more successful the share issue is, the stronger the club will be financially and the more ability we will have to support Joe Royle in loan signing and hopefully permanent team building.

"The drive of any football club is success on the pitch. We simply can't invest today with money

we don't have."

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

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