Let's move on from frustrating 12 months

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks said the decision had been made to sack George Burley in order to "draw a line under a frustrating 12 months".Sheepshanks said: "It is with great sadness that the board of directors have taken the difficult decision to relieve George Burley from his position as manager.

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks said the decision had been made to sack George Burley in order to "draw a line under a frustrating 12 months".

Sheepshanks said: "It is with great sadness that the board of directors have taken the difficult decision to relieve George Burley from his position as manager.

"I would like to place on record our immense thanks to George for his outstanding service and many tremendous achievements throughout his tenure.

"Wembley 2000, finishing fifth in our first season in the Premiership and competing in the UEFA Cup are highlights in our history of which George can be justly proud. He is a man of honour and integrity and his many skills will no doubt lead to further opportunities and successes in his managerial career.

"We wish him the very best and every success in the future."

Sheepshanks, speaking into a microphone in front of a mass media gathering, at Portman Road today, went on: "However, after the heady successes of our first year back in the Premiership, last season was a year of bitter disappointments, which culminated in losing Premiership status.

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"This was despite a huge investment in additional players for combined transfer fees of approaching £15 million. The board still took the view that George was the right man to lead us back into the Premiership, but this season, even though retaining a Premiership squad, performances have not improved.

"Given our single minded ambition to gain promotion this season, the directors have decided that it is time to draw a line under a frustrating 12 months. As custodians of Ipswich Town Football Club the board have acted now in order to give new management the best possible chance of achieving our goal.

"We have given Tony Mowbray the responsibility of managing first team affairs in a caretaker role. The board will interview candidates for manager in the coming days and weeks amongst whom, Tony Mowbray will be considered."

Sheepshanks, a board member when Burley was appointed eight years ago during the chairmanship of John Kerr, added: "Looking forward, there is a long way to go with 36 matches to play, starting with an important match against Sheffield Wednesday at home tomorrow. Our supporters have again been superb this season and I ask everyone to rally round Tony Mowbray and the players to give them all the encouragement they need."

Former Blues centre half Mowbray has requested that Bryan Klug, the academy director, should assist him during his time in the caretaker role.

Sheepshanks stressed that no one has been approached so far about the vacant managerial position. But he said: "We know the sort of qualities we are looking for and will be drawing up our short list."

He continued: "We feel this is one of the best managerial jobs around."

The Ipswich board had a meeting yesterday afternoon and Burley was told of their unanimous decision by the chairman early evening.

Burley has over two years of his contract to run. Sheepshanks said this would be honoured. But he added that there would be no lump sum payment

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