Town reveal administration escape route

HARD-UP Ipswich remain adamant they can come out of administration in the shortest time possible.Chief executive Derek Bowden sought to allay fans' fears with an up-beat address in which he confirmed a share issue will take place later this year.

By Mel Henderson

HARD-UP Ipswich remain adamant they can come out of administration in the shortest time

possible.

Chief executive Derek Bowden sought to allay fans' fears with an up-beat address in which he confirmed a share issue will take place later this year.

Supporters of all ages listened intently at a packed Trimley Sports and Social Club last night as Bowden outlined the club's battle plans.

Town, whose latest accounts revealed a net debt of £31.4million, were plunged into administration this week when an application to the High Court was granted.

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Bowden insisted Ipswich's position could not be compared with that of Leicester, one of another five Football League clubs currently in administration, Leicester are due to come out of administration in the next few weeks and have a new board of directors waiting in the wings, ready to seize control of the club.

He said: "Their situation was a lot more serious than ours and they were looking for new buyers. That is not the position at Portman Road."

Bowden said the club was seeking a company voluntary arrangement with the club's creditors and that the current board was bidding to remain as custodians of the club.

But the over-riding theme of the chief executive's address was that Ipswich were confident of beating administration within a period of eight weeks.

Bowden, who said the services of administrators Deloitte & Touche would cost between £150,000 to £200,000, confirmed a share issue would go ahead as soon as plans currently being discussed were finalised.

He said: "Norwich City had a share issue and attracted corporate investors as well as a number of supporters who put money in and will receive very little in return, apart from a certificate.

"We don't want to go down that road. We want a share issue to be beneficial to ourselves and you, the fans. Norwich were looking to raise £10million and raised £2.4million. It satisfied their needs."

Bowden also promised anxious season ticket holders that they would honour their pledge to allow those fans to rebook their seats for next season at the same price.

But the outlook for many of the club's creditors was far gloomier as he outlined a three-tier system of debts.

He said banks, players and other members of staff were top of the list, followed by the Crown, meaning unpaid income tax and VAT bills.

The club would hope to come to an arrangement with other creditors owed money, but it was unlikely that they would be paid in full.

One supporter put Bowden on the spot when he asked which category ex-boss George Burley came in. Bowden side-stepped the issue by saying it would not be fair to comment.

Bowden also revealed that neither of the club's on-loan players, goalkeeper Matteo Sereni and winger Ulrich Le Pen, were still on the Town pay list.

"Their wages are being paid by their current clubs," he said. "As things stand we do not expect either to return to Portman Road although their contracts extend beyond next season."

Bowden stressed that the current situation will not affect what happens on the pitch, but that the strength of the playing staff would have to be reviewed if promotion was not obtained.

But he gave assurances that a wholesale departure of players was something the club would do all they could to avoid.

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