Cobbold Stand could be re-named

IPSWICH Town are considering dropping the famous Cobbold name and rebuilding the east stand at Portman Road.

Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town are considering dropping the famous Cobbold name and rebuilding the east stand at Portman Road.

Blues chief executive Simon Clegg revealed new owner Marcus Evans has looked at the possibility of increasing capacity at the 30,000 all-seater ground if interest in out-grows the current stadium.

The Blues finished eight in the Championship capacity table with an average attendance of 20.873 but season ticket sales have already exceeded last year's total of 15,350 by more than 1,000.

Clegg said: “When you look at Portman Road in terms of spectator capacity we are right up there.

“We have one very historic stand and we will just have to see how the club develops but it is a natural long term plan at some stage.

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“If we are filling this stadium week in and week out and we need extra capacity then there is only one place it can come from and that is the Cobbold Stand.

“If we had a fundamental shortfall in capacity then we would expand even if it meant doing so when we are still in the Championship.”

Clegg also admitted the club would consider selling the name of the newly built stand but would not give up the Cobbold name lightly.

He said: “What we would have to do is balance between driving revenue and appreciating tradition.

“The values and traditions are very important to me and to this club. I hope we will be seen as a club fit for the 21st century while recognising what has been achieved and the values and traditions of where this club has come from.

“I know how important the past and heritage is to the supporters of this club and that needs to be recognised and not let go easily.”

As main sponsor Marcus Evans' has heavily branded all four corners of the ground and has his name on the players' shirts meaning bringing in any significant investment from commercial sources would have to come from re-naming a stand, unless the owner gave up the rights.

Clegg said: “That is very unlikely because Marcus has made it very clear that not only with his purchase of the club but the sponsorship in terms of the shirts and around the boundary

“There are ways to accommodate additional sponsors and partners of this team without in any way jeopardising the objective Marcus has in investing in the club from a promotional point of view.”

One of the five pillars on which Clegg has been charged with taking the club forward is to make the Blues financially strong and his experience in finding funds while with the British Olympic Association and he has already started going round wealthy business contacts.

Clegg said: “We are constantly strive to attract additional financial support to this club and there is large focus on maximising income, existing and generating new income

“We have to operate in an effective and efficient way and every pound going out has to be a pound well spent.

“I have spoken with some of my old Olympic contacts and asked if they want an involvement in our long term objectives but it has gone no further than that just yet.”