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Ipswich's creditors still hurting

PUBLISHED: 20:30 03 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 March 2010

THEY went to the meeting with the outcome already decided but that has not stopped creditors of Ipswich Town Football Club feeling hurt.

For some the agony will continue as they adjust their business plans to counteract the shortfall between what they were owed and what they will receive.

THEY went to the meeting with the outcome already decided but that has not stopped creditors of Ipswich Town Football Club feeling hurt.

For some the agony will continue as they adjust their business plans to counteract the shortfall between what they were owed and what they will receive.

For some of the smaller unsecured creditors of the financially-struggling club it did not even require them to raise a hand and vote at yesterday's meeting – the outcome was in the bag with those owed larger sums having given the OK to the proposal.

The proposal was made by Nick Dargan the administrator who had been given the job of working through a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) for Ipswich Town.

He and his team have already spent 12 weeks sorting through the Portman Road books. Now the proposal, which has resulted in the club being relieved of the majority of its estimated £60 million debt and given unsecured creditors a mere five per cent of the money they were owed, has been given 28 days to become final.

Mr Dargan has been in effect running the business side of ITFC and on his instruction, David Sheepshanks was asked to stay away from the creditors meeting and not arrive for the shareholders meeting until the vote.

Next month Mr Dargan and his fellow accountants from London-based Deloitte & Touche will hand back control of the club to directors.

His role for the next four years will be as a guardian of the CVA, making sure the club continues within the framework laid down and voted for at yesterday's creditors' meeting.

One of those attending the meeting, intending to vote on behalf of Ipswich Borough Council, was its head of finance Peter Matthews.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, the council was owed £37,000 for ground clearance work its employees did after matches.

Mr Matthews said he had the opportunity of putting forward the council's concerns for the small businesses in the community but did not need to vote.

"I had been instructed to vote for the proposal, even though it meant creditors would only get five per cent of their money but my vote wasn't necessary. "There had already been a majority in favour of acceptance by the larger creditors. That was that.

"Five per cent was not much but the alternative would have been Ipswich Town going into liquidation and creditors getting nothing.

Rodger Oatley was another creditor who did not have to vote. He was owed around £14,000 and will lose 95 per cent.

He said: "It was a done job. There were only about 100 creditors there but there was no real need for everyone anyway, the vote was carried without our involvement."

Mr Oatley, who runs Caterhire and has been a long-time supporter of Ipswich Town said he feels the club is on "dodgy ground" in the future.

"Things don't look too good and despite Deloitte & Touche having set out models for the next four seasons to cover staying in the first division and going up in to the Premiership, they have no plan for relegation.

"Four seasons is a long time in football and there is a strong possibility they may go down. What happens then? This was not explained at the meeting," he added.

Mr Oatley remains concerned that during the ten-day period leading up to the club going in to administration he was incurred extra debt for catering services.

The club had already approached Deloitte & Touche knowing it would be applying to the High Court for its CVA yet it asked him to do more work knowing he would not be paid.

"This issue was raised at the meeting yesterday by another company but Mr Dargan would not be drawn on it," Mr Oatley said.

Jonathan King, director of Fynn Valley Foods did not go to the creditors' meeting but e-mailed a question for inclusion.

"I asked Ipswich Town directors why, in the week leading up to the administration, how they could justify further exposure to creditors when they already knew the administrators were coming in.

"Some of the purchases were not vital to the running of the company and so it is not acceptable that they were doing it for the good of their company," Mr King said.

Nick Dargan and Deloitte & Touche have been steadfast in refusing to discuss any part of the CVA at Ipswich Town during the last 12 weeks. They also refused to answer any questions resulting from the creditors' meeting.

Weblink:

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce website has a link to debt recovery experts Legal Recoveries & Collections Limited. Advice is available for businesses worried about reclaiming money from ITFC.

www.suffolkchamber.co.uk

www.onlinerecoveries.com


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