Bowden: The quiet achiever

A QUIET man who was happy to slip into the background, Derek Bowden played a big part in safely steering Ipswich Town through some fairly choppy waters.

Elvin King

A QUIET man who was happy to slip into the background, Derek Bowden played a big part in safely steering Ipswich Town through some fairly choppy waters.

He departed his position as Blues chief executive today after over six years at Portman Road.

In the last 10 months he has been the man pulling the strings at the club for owner Marcus Evans and along with manager Jim Magilton has been Evans' main source of contact.

Soon after Bowden arrived the Blues went into administration following relegation from the Premiership and he re-organised debts to keep the club's head above water financially until Evans came in at the back end of 2007 to take over the debt and give Town a chance to succeed again.

When chairman David Sheepshanks was given a non-executive role by Evans midway through last year, it was Bowden who moved up to effectively run the club.

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Bowden joined the Ipswich Town FC board in December 2002 and joined the club's plc board six months later.

He made himself a name in the city working with advertising and PR giants Saatchi and Saatchi for 19 years from 1982, and brought his experience to bear on the way modern-day Ipswich Town needed to be run.

His departure will see a move into a more global world for the Blues if as expected former British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg takes over day to day running of Town at Portman Road for Evans.

Clegg and Evans have worked together on Olympic associated matters, and Evans reportedly sees Clegg as the man he needs to ensure affairs at ITFC are run as effectively and efficiently as he wants.

He will be seeking a grander front man, someone who can take over from Sheepshanks in that respect.

Bowden was more reserved, and happy to remain mainly in the background while having his finger on the pulse.

He kept the emphasis on local issues as much as possible in a changing world of football that has seen it become big business.

His departure may sever these aims to an extent with Clegg's brief likely to be to make Ipswich Town a force in the country again - and then Europe, and then make it a global brand.

This will be mainly good news for Blues supporters as they deserve to see the best at Portman Road and like nothing more than a jaunt or two into Europe - and time will tell whether this will materialise.

Now also on the board of Ipswich Building Society, Bowden has upset very few connected with Ipswich Town along the way, but a more charismatic figure is seen as appropriate to front the club.

He has done his job with diligence and pride, and answered every question with a smile if not always able to give as full account of how the club was thinking as fans would have liked.

A good man and an honest one, and he can look back on his work with Ipswich Town with pride and satisfaction.

- WHEN Ipswich Town were 18th in the Coca-Cola Championship last autumn Derek Bowden backed the ownership of Marcus Evans saying: “This club is immeasurably better off following its purchase by the Marcus Evans Group.

“For one thing we would have been a selling club last summer, and for another we would have found this season tough and one where we could have struggled to maintain our Championship status.

“The purchase of the club was critical and was ideally timed.

“Looking back Marcus Evans was the right man to bring in, and he has done all that he said he would do in investing in the team.”