New director quits Town

NEW Ipswich Town director Michael Anderson has stepped down - just three days after his appointment to the Portman Road board.Embarrassed chairman David Sheepshanks was forced to issue a statement today after revelations that Anderson had been in charge of both Aldershot and Kettering when they ran into troubled financial waters.

By Mel Henderson

NEW Ipswich Town director Michael Anderson has stepped down - just three days after his appointment to the Portman Road board.

Embarrassed chairman David Sheepshanks was forced to issue a statement today after revelations that Anderson had been in charge of both Aldershot and Kettering when they ran into troubled financial waters.

The Football League are also set to launch a probe, with top official Andy Williamson promising: “We will be examining the new Ipswich director's credentials.”

Anderson has now agreed not to take up his position as a director pending an investigation into his past involvement in the game.

News of 52-year-old Anderson's appointment was made public on Tuesday and the cash he invested enabled Town to complete the £100,000 signing of Cardiff striker Alan Lee.

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Sheepshanks refused to reveal full details of Anderson's stake in the club but confirmed it represented the maximum 15 per cent value of the company, which was estimated to be in the region of £1 million.

The Town chairman was forced to confront Anderson over his past involvement in the game, of which he was totally unaware as he negotiated with him to buy a substantial chunk of the hard-up Blues.

A former Southend market trader, Anderson recently returned to live in Essex with his wife and two daughters after being based in Tampa, Florida, for three years.

He was described at a Portman Road press conference as Group President of Flairford, a company that supplies pharmacy products to health organisations and institutions across the States.

Sheepshanks announced: “Michael is an experienced businessman who has built a success organisation in the US.”

But news of Anderson's chequered past has rocked the club and heaped embarrassment on them after the new man signed the rigorous fit and proper directors' declaration.

Sheepshanks initially reacted with shock to the revelations, claiming: “I'm gobsmacked. I'm 99 per cent certain this isn't the case and he's been vetted as right and proper to invest in Ipswich.”

But he was later forced to backtrack and issued a statement on behalf of the club.

It read: “Michael Anderson has informed us of his brief involvement in two football clubs in the early 90s (Aldershot and Kettering Town) and the fact that he was encouraged to invest on the basis of false information.

“In fact, he advises us that it was he who called the police to investigate the irregularities that he discovered at Aldershot.

“He has assured us that there has been no wrong-doing on his part at any time and regrets that he did not reveal this information during the extensive interview process that we undertook.

“Before being accepted as a director we took references and checks both through lawyers and accountants, which gave him a clean bill of health.

“He has also signed the new 'Fit and Proper Person' certificate as required both by the Football League and ourselves. After satisfying these checks we accepted Michael's substantial investment in the club in return for a 15 per cent equity stake and offered him a seat on the board.”

Sheepshanks later added: “Although very disappointed that we were not made aware of Michael's previous involvement in football, despite our extensive interview process, we have actually seen no proof of any wrong-doing on his part. Indeed he claims the opposite.

“He has made a substantial and irrevocable investment in the club in the hope that he can fulfil his ambition to be involved in professional football at this level. However, in order to minimise embarrassment, Michael has quite properly offered not take up his directorship that had yet to be ratified and we have accepted this until the matter is cleared up as I hope it quickly will be. His investment remains in the club.

“This is a very unfortunate turn of events but must not detract from the good news of the week regarding the club's improving financial position and our investment in the playing squad. All attentions are very much focussed on the match tomorrow.”

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