Bowden: We have not gone backwards

DESPITE Ipswich Town being 14 places lower in the Championship than they were at the stage last season, chief executive Derek Bowden has insisted they have not taken a backward step.

Derek Davis

DESPITE Ipswich Town being 14 places lower in the Championship than they were at the stage last season, chief executive Derek Bowden has insisted they have not taken a backward step.

Bowden said: “I don't think it is a decline, it is a very tight league. We are not far off a play-off position, equally we are not far off a bottom three place too.

“There has been a steady improvement in the past few games and Jim is busily honing down his optimum squad of 16 and starting XI.

“We have more choice this year whereas last year the team almost picked itself with senior pros and a few youngsters coming through. Having more choices brings its own problems and I know because I speak to Jim about it every day that he is honing down his favoured XI.”

Bowden accepted that patience is wearing thin among supporters but insisted an upturn was imminent.

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He said: “I don't think it is going to take that much longer but clearly we would ask supporters to be patient. We have seen improvement and I feel there will be continued improvement but it is still work in progress.”

Bowden admits he has not thought about when the right time would be to sack any manager.

He said: “We are not at that point so I don't know when it is the right time to change a manager.

“We are happy with the set up we have got.”

Bowden revealed to the EADT back in early September that Magilton was under no time constraint to get Town promoted this season that his job was safe for the rest of the season, and beyond.

When asked whether that still stood despite the poor opening quarter Bowden said: “It is still the case. Marcus is still very supportive and we are working towards improving performances on the field of play and I feel they have improved steadily over the 12 games and nothing has changed since we spoke in September.”

Bowden also insisted the club were far better off for Evans' investment, although he conceded the club were still paying interest on the £32m debt only now it was to the Marcus Evans Group.

He said: “Clearly we have an improved financial condition. If we had not had that investment then we would have been a selling club last summer and that would have left us in a much weaker position in terms of performance on the field of play.

“The investment from Marcus was well-timed and extremely well appreciated in order for us to be able to invest in players rather than divest.

“In terms of business off field it is holding up well considering we are on the verge of recession if you believe what the media or the Bank of England tell us. Attendances have held up well despite inconsistent performances at home and we are averaging 20,000.

“Non-match day business at the club and the use of the stadium is performing well.”

Bowden also denied any suggestin the club was becoming distanced from its supporters.

He said: “There is still a strong community ethos in the club. The work the Community Trust remains undiminished and has done even more work than last year.

“The trustees include directors of the club, including myself and the Trust is as active as we have always been

“The difference we have is that in the past we had a chairman who is very vocal and very local and a public figure but he is not the owner. The owner is a more private individual and some people interpret that as being distant where as I interpret it as just being private.

“So I don't feel we are distant from our supporters, we just have a change of spokesperson and David has taken more of back seat, I have taken more of a front seat and the owner is a private individual.”

Bowden met with representatives from the three charities chosen to benefit from a partnership with the club.

The Suffolk Punch Trust, The Suffolk Foundation and South East Suffolk Crossroads - caring for carers, will share the £5,000 given to the club as part of the Community Shield hand out and benefit in kind from the Blues.