Sheepshanks: I was a complaining fan

IT may be slightly ironic now but David Sheepshanks was once a fan who was moved to write letters of complaint to the club about issues he was not happy with - not least the sale of top players such as Paul Mariner and Terry Butcher.

Derek Davis

IT may be slightly ironic now but David Sheepshanks was once a fan who was moved to write letters of complaint to the club about issues he was not happy with - not least the sale of top players such as Paul Mariner and Terry Butcher.

It was after meeting with members of the board as an invited guest that Sheepshanks was asked to first become a director and eight years later he took over from John Kerr as chairman.

Sheepshanks said: “Those eight years as a director were really important because they were my apprenticeship. Not as a fan as I had been since I was 12, 45 years now, but as an understanding about the workings and culture of the club in a way that you can never understand totally until you are inside.

“That taught me a lot about how to be a chairman of a football club so it was an important grounding”

Sheepshanks remembers the humiliation of the 9-0 thumping by Manchester United in 1995 with a young Roy Keane scoring from midfield, and when Town went down the chorus of national pundits saying good riddance.

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He said: “That was insulting to all of us who loved the club and understood our values but we had gone off the rails quite badly.

“The club needed a massive rebuild and I was fortunate my predecessor John Kerr agreed to stay on the board and the late John Kerridge, who was a great mentor, wanted me to be chairman and I brought in a few other good people.”

The board then also consisted of Philip Hope-Cobbold, Richard Moore, Roger Finbow and Richard Ryder.