Fans invited to share in the future

TO help finance the vision Ipswich Town aims to become a plc in the autumn by offering shares to all its supporters, something David Sheepshanks hopes fans will embrace fully, writes Derek Davis.

TO help finance the vision Ipswich Town aims to become a plc in the autumn by offering shares to all its supporters, something David Sheepshanks hopes fans will embrace fully, writes Derek Davis.

He said: "It is absolutely crucial going forward that the supporters of the club should have the opportunity to invest and become shareholders, so Ipswich Town genuinely becomes the jewel of the community, because it is owned by the community at large.

"This club is such a rarity and is so important to so many people, be it on a personal basis or to the local economy, that it is fundamental that an awful lot of people share in the ownership.

"Those shareholders will then have the opportunity to elect their board.


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"We invite as many people as possible to take a stake in the club, present investors who want to continue to support the club or people looking to have a share for the first time.

"While we want to create a club that is widely owned, we need to retain an incentive so large investors can come in, so we need to find the right mix of ordinary shares and loan stock which will have a coupon attached to it.

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"I want to see a broad base of ownership, and you won't find a more committed group of supporters than the Ipswich fans.

"I also want to see the club properly capitalised and arguably the club has been undercapitalised for many years. It has never had a lot of meat on the bone and while we have always tried to have a winning team we have never had access to resources for a rainy day."

The CVA plan is to raise £1m, while Norwich City brought in £2.2m, a figure which would not displease Sheepshanks.

He admitted: "I would hope we could raise similar if not more to the Norwich City issue but I'm a little cautious at the moment."

And manager Joe Royle would be given funds to further improve the squad, Sheepshanks said: "It will go to strengthen the club's capital base.

"If we have money in the bank it will improve our ability to perform on the pitch. It won't be a case of Joe going out spending a million here, million there but it will allow Joe to take advantage of the bargains and deals that are out there. We will be able to be fleet of foot and capitalise on the opportunities that come our way."

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