New Blues director has premier ambition

IPSWICH Town's newest director has spoken of her ambition to see the Blues return to the Premier League – and she wants to help them get there.Holly Bellingham, the club's first-ever female director, was officially unveiled in her new post during a press conference at the club yesterday.

IPSWICH Town's newest director has spoken of her ambition to see the Blues return to the Premier League – and she wants to help them get there.

Holly Bellingham, the club's first-ever female director, was officially unveiled in her new post during a press conference at the club yesterday.

The 44-year-old, a mother of two, is chairman of Marketform, a leading Lloyd's liability indemnity group and has been on the company's board since 1989.

Mrs Bellingham, who lives in Lavenham, is also a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, a member of both the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Worshipful Company of Insurers, and a trustee of the Youth Charter for Sport, Culture and the Arts.

She said: "I'm extremely proud and delighted to accept this appointment.

"I hope that, by using my business experience and skills, I will be able to assist the club by building on the work undertaken by the current board members as we all work to guide Ipswich Town back into football's top flight.

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"The one analogy between this business and my business is that they are both people businesses – one cannot negate the value of the players, the fans and the community.

"I very much hope, with the experience that I've had, that I can help the club go forward."

When asked if she had a favourite player, Mrs Bellingham named ex-town hero Matt Holland, but refused to be drawn about the current side.

"We've got a great team now," she added. "I think we all want to see them play as a team and it would be unfair to single any one player out."

Of her supporting past, she said: "Like many women, I was put off by all that I had heard about the negative side of football.

"However, I'm a fairly recent convert and only started coming to matches about four or five years ago."

Introducing Mrs Bellingham to the media, Chairman David Sheepshanks said he was "absolutely delighted" to have her at the club.

He added: "Holly has been recruited for her own particular business skills and acumen and for what she can add to the board.

"Combined with the fact that she is the first-ever lady director of Ipswich Town, she will bring an important new voice and approach that I'm sure will benefit the club going forward.

"I feel, as do my fellow directors, that future appointments to the board must firstly add value in terms of skills around the table, and secondly, having filled that key criterion, any new recruit should, as far as possible, be representative of our supporter base.

"Being a club with one of the highest ratios of female support – in the order of 25% - I hope that Holly's appointment will be widely welcomed."

Mr Sheepshanks added that Mrs Bellingham and her partner, Simon Turner, had invested "considerable amounts" in the club through last summer's loan note issue and the more recent share issue.

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