David Sheepshanks – I’m as excited as any Ipswich Town fan, but let’s keep our feet on the floor
- Credit: PA
Former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks is excited as any other Blues fan right now, but he’s urged long-suffering supporters not to get too carried away.
Mick McCarthy’s men moved up to second in the table following last Saturday’s last-gasp 1-0 win at Charlton, a result which made this the club’s best 19-game start to a Championship season in a decade.
Could 13 – the number of consecutive seasons Ipswich have spent in the second tier – be the Suffolk club’s lucky number?
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in this sort of position with this much optimism,” said Sheepshanks, the man who oversaw the sale of the club to Marcus Evans in 2007 and is now leading the St George’s Park National Football Centre.
“Like everyone else who loves and supports Ipswich Town, I’m delighted that a wise and experienced manager has developed – and is still developing – a team that we can all be proud of.
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“I’m as excited as any fan, and there’s reason to be excited, but I’m just keeping my feet on the ground. Let’s just temper our expectations.
“Mick knows this is a very competitive league and that clubs will continue to take points off of each other all the way down. Anybody can beat anybody; we know that.
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“It’s the clubs that hold their nerve and maintain consistency who come out on top at the end. Let’s hope that can be us.”
Town host Leeds United at Portman Road tomorrow, a team who beat league-leaders Derby 2-0 last weekend only to see their owner Massimo Cellino fail the Football League’s ‘fit and proper person’ test two days’ later
“It’s hard for me to comment on Leeds United,” said Sheepshanks. “All I will say is that successful clubs start with stability from the top down. Stability and continuity throughout the club is key and we have that at Ipswich Town from owner Marcus Evans to manager Mick McCarthy down to Bryan Klug in the academy.
“On and off the field you can see the club is a much happier place these days. And those two are always linked, from my experience.”
He added: “What I love about this Ipswich Town squad is that there’s a tremendous team ethos; it’s not about individuals. I can see growing evidence that the players are all taking ownership and responsibility. We have a team of players all leading by example. We have got this tight family feel about us at the moment and that can be a potent force.
“I’m sure Mick will urge caution though. He won’t want any praise now, he’ll want the praise at the end of the season. I think my summary would be ‘so far, so good’.”