Jobs axed at Portman Road

IPSWICH Town is slashing jobs to keep the club out of financial hell.Portman Road's stark position was summed up by chief executive Derek Bowden, who said: "When you've gone to hell, you don't want to go back.

IPSWICH Town is slashing jobs to keep the club out of financial hell.

Portman Road's stark position was summed up by chief executive Derek Bowden, who said: "When you've gone to hell, you don't want to go back."

Town's multi-millionaire playing staff will not be affected by the cuts.

But 18 of the club's 100-plus, off-field workers face the axe in a bid to save £500,000 a year.


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Ipswich Town's financial freefall after relegation was revealed in The Evening Star last month. This latest blow was publicised on our 24-hour news website yesterday.

Mr Bowden admitted the unlucky workers would pay the price for the failure of others at the club.

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He said: "It's harsh that we have to make redundancies off-field to compensate for the performance on the field, but it's the nature of football.

"It's the contractual nature of the game. We have to reduce off-field costs in line with levels of income generated."

The axed staff have yet to be identified, but Mr Bowden estimated their average wage would be around £30,000 a year – less than a month's income for some of the players.

But he said the idea of cutting back on-field was a non-starter because of the nature of players' contracts.

He said: "We're now entering the transfer window, and we shouldn't rule out playing changes.

"There's not a lot of activity at the moment, but we will have to wait and see what happens at the end of January."

Mr Bowden, who joined the club in July, admitted the situation was worse than he expected.

Falling attendances and lower commercial income have all taken their toll – despite the recent improvement in form.

But Mr Bowden believes the staff cuts and other cost-cutting measures have stabilised the situation.

He said: "It's very regrettable and it's a sad day for the club, but it's the sensible thing to do at this time. Emotions can rule the head in football. This is the pragmatic decision, rather than the emotional one."

Mr Bowden said the cuts were likely to affect all areas of off-field staff, but said customer satisfaction would not suffer.

Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks said: "It is very sad to have to part with valued members of staff.

"The off-field business of the club has, for the most part, been a major success story and the staff have been unsung heroes.

"However, we all know that the success or otherwise of a football club is dictated by what happens on the field of play and we are now facing the consequences of recent disappointments in that area."

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