Town chief to face the fans

UNDER-FIRE Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks will meet critics and supporters in a clear the air public meeting this week.In a bid to placate and inform angry and confused supporters, the Blues supremo will answer questions put to him in an open forum at the Ipswich Corn Exchange on Thursday night.

By Derek Davis

UNDER-FIRE Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks will meet critics and supporters in a clear the air public meeting this week.

In a bid to placate and inform angry and confused supporters, the Blues supremo will answer questions put to him in an open forum at the Ipswich Corn Exchange on Thursday night.

Mr Sheepshanks called the meeting in an attempt to clarify the club's position due to its current administration, dispel a number of myths which have circulated and outline what the future holds.


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He said last night: "So much has been said and written about our position we feel it is important to set the record straight in certain areas both in respect to the past and, more importantly in regard to the future."

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting on a first come first enter system, and a separate meeting to discuss setting up a supporters' trust will follow after a brief interval.

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Mr Sheepshanks intends to give an appraisal of events so far and what follows next but mainly he will be there to give as much information to supporters as possible.

He added: "I will endeavour to answer any question put to me within reasonable bounds and the meeting is open to anyone with genuine love for the club."

Mr Sheepshanks, who has been chairman at Ipswich Town since 1995 after joining the board in 1987, steered the club into the Premiership and into Europe while modernising the Portman Road stadium to a 30,000 all-seater stadium which is due to host a full England international in August.

But since relegation last season, and going into administration in February, with total debts believed to be around £62m, Mr Sheepshanks accepts the bouquets will be replaced by brickbats.

By being brave enough to put his head above the parapet and speak openly, the Town chairman hopes supporters will concentrate on going forward in a positive way.

It is clear Mr Sheepshanks will receive a mixed reception from the audience in the arena which can hold 996 people, but club officials are hoping courtesy and respect will be shown and he is allowed to give open and frank answers in a civilised debate.

There will also be an opportunity for Ipswich Town shareholders to attend a briefing at the Galleria in Portman Road at 5.30pm and they are also welcome to the public meeting at the Corn Exchange, starting at 7.30pm.

While administrators Deloitte & Touche have been formulating a company voluntary agreement, which is expected to be presented to creditors soon, sales of Darren Ambrose and Hermann Hreidrasson have further angered supporters.

Meanwhile, the team have lost just twice in the league in their last 20 matches, have risen from fourth bottom of Division One to seventh top under Joe Royle, and are currently challenging for a play-off place. With seven games remaining they are two points away from sixth-placed Wolves and meet fifth place Nottingham Forest at Portman Road on Saturday.

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