Town looks to generous fans

IPSWICH Town is hoping fans will put their loyalty to the club before any dream of financial reward by buying shares in the cash-strapped side.

IPSWICH Town is hoping fans will put their loyalty to the club before any dream of financial reward by buying shares in the cash-strapped side.

Town needs to raise £1.25 million working capital to see it through the next 12 months, which it thinks it will do if die-hard fans spend a minimum of £200 each buying into the share issue.

Under Town's Own A Bit of IT(FC) promotion, prospective investors are given the not too glowing financial report which shows a total operating loss of £15.04 million which reduced to £7.75m after player sales and other receipts during the year ending June 30, 2003.

Ipswich Town plc, as it became in order to launch the share issue, needs this to be a success to not only strengthen the balance sheet but to make sure the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) works.

It is all very much early days in the CVA. The club, like many others, got into serious financial difficulties and became subject of an administration order on February 10 this year.

When this was discharged on May 30 Town regained its membership of the Football League but for the next four seasons will be monitored under the CVA.

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A good share take-up will also help return the club to the Premiership by capitalising on its existing management, coaching expertise, player strength and the Academy.

In the combined prospectus and balance sheet, Town chairman David Sheepshanks writes to fans saying he is delighted to launch the long awaited public offer of shares and says the club's strength has been with its devotees.

"The club must draw on this strength and therefore this letter is a call to arms for everyone who loves Ipswich Town to support the offer.

"This is your opportunity to demonstrate your support and encouragement in a very tangible way. By subscribing now to own an interest in your football club you will be helping support one of the most important institutions in our community."

Mr Sheepshanks also writes of the club's vulnerable financial situation and in a plea from the heart urges supporters to invest to safeguard its future and return to the top of English football.

There is no suggestion of financial reward through share investment however but all those who take up the offer will receive souvenir share certificates and a knowledge they have bought in to their club.

And depending on the amount invested each will have anything from level one to seven benefits – from having their name printed on match-day programmes to priority cup tickets and beyond.

The minimum subscription for each individual investor is £200 which will buy them ten ordinary shares. Business investors can buy 250 ordinary shares at a cost of £5,000.

Benefits for business investors include the right to have Investor in Ipswich Town logo on stationery and membership of the ITFC Business Club.

Subscribers who apply for a minimum of 1,250 offer shares costing them £25,000 become level six or level seven investors can also go for new loan notes

Investors may also apply for any number of ordinary shares at £20 each.

The latest time for acceptance and payment for shares is 5pm on January 19, 2004.

Season ticket holders have already received a prospectus but the share issue is open to anyone who wishes to take part.

If you would like to Own A bit of IT(FC), either telephone a dedicated hotline on 01473 400595, e-mail ownabit@itfc.co.uk visit the Planet Blue stores in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds or the reception office at Portman Road.

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