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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Matt reveals heartbreak at Town exit

PUBLISHED: 20:00 16 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

DEPARTED skipper Matt Holland today spoke of his heartache at finally quitting Ipswich.

The Republic of Ireland international completed a cut-price £750,000 move to Charlton Athletic, signalling the end of an era at Portman Road.

DEPARTED skipper Matt Holland today spoke of his heartache at finally quitting Ipswich.

The Republic of Ireland international completed a cut-price £750,000 move to Charlton Athletic, signalling the end of an era at Portman Road.

He told the club's official website, www.itfc.premiumtv.co.uk: "Scoring in the final minute of the last game of the season at Derby, and winning the Player of the Year, perhaps it was meant to happen that it would be my last year at Ipswich.

"But it didn't make it any easier to leave Ipswich Town. It was a big decision for me to make.

"I'm sad to leave the club that has felt like home since I first walked through the doors six years ago.

"I love the place to be honest and felt like part of the furniture. It's certainly going to feel funny turning right down the A12 and heading for London, rather than towards Ipswich.

"I have so many great memories of the place. Becoming skipper was a great honour for me, winning the play-offs at Wembley, finishing fifth in the Premiership, playing in Europe, the San Siro, special times.

"I have also been lucky enough to have enjoyed a great relationship with the fans and the two Player of the Year awards I have received from the supporters mean so much to me.

"No club could wish for more loyal supporters. They have always backed the team, even through the disappointing times."

Holland was twice voted Player of the Year by the supporters, in his first and last seasons at the club, and most were bitterly opposed to his sale.

But there was no way Ipswich could continue to pay him £20,000 a week for the remainder of his contract, due to expire in 2005, as chairman David Sheepshanks admitted today.

By selling Holland and coming to a pay-off agreement with Nigerian flop Finidi George, the club have trimmed their annual wage bill by £2 million.

Holland, who left on a family holiday to Mauritius on Sunday, has agreed a four-year deal at The Valley and will retain his Essex base.

Ipswich will pocket a further £50,000 in each of the next three seasons, so long as Charlton preserve their Premiership status in that time.

Meanwhile, Holland will be cheering as loudly as the Blue Army if Town return to the Premiership at the end of next season.

"My ideal scenario is to return to Portman Road with Charlton and play Premiership football as soon as possible," he added.

"I will get to some of the Ipswich games next season and will be cheering the lads on. I'm confident that Joe Royle can steer the club back to the Premiership.

"The club has a good crop of young players coming through on a conveyor belt of talent from the Academy and in Joe, Ipswich have the man to take the club back up."

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