Chairman's personal crusade bears fruit

DAVID Sheepshanks has had his critics over the last six years since Ipswich Town finished fifth in the Premier League.The Blues chairman has become a vilified figure in many quarters, and held responsible for the club going into administration.

By Elvin King

DAVID Sheepshanks has had his critics over the last six years since Ipswich Town finished fifth in the Premier League.

The Blues chairman has become a vilified figure in many quarters, and held responsible for the club going into administration.

He has taken it onboard to mount a personal crusade to get Ipswich back on to an even keel.

And it is fitting that a club respected throughout the world will remain for intents and purposes a family-run club.

Sheepshanks will stay as chairman and the board members will also retain their places.

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The result of months of behind-the-scenes work looks on the face of it to have worked out perfectly - with no major upheaval, no shady foreign mogul taking control with unproven intentions and no diminishing of the good name of Ipswich Town.

Whatever faults he might possess, Sheepshanks had a passion for Ipswich Town that is unrivalled among his contemporaries.

Ten minutes in his company will prove this point to even the biggest doubter.

And he has used this desire to put his beloved club back on the right road to success.

Along with chief executive Derek Bowden, Sheepshanks has been working on reducing the debt and bringing in new investment.

On the face of it he appears to have done a good job, with Ipswich now for all intents and purposes looking as powerful as they were when finishing fifth in the Premiership in 2001.

Marcus Evans, the new investor, appears to have no intention of meddling unduly in the running affairs of Ipswich Town.

Sheepshanks' future intentions are unclear.

He has said many times over the last few years that he would stand down if a right replacement came along.

He may look back and say that his work has been done now that he has arranged for the Blues to be effectively back in the black.

On the other hand he may carry on doing what he does best - lead from the front.

But whatever happens, Ipswich Town fans should be looking at him in more glowing terms today.

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