Takeover endorsed by former chairman
MARCUS Evans' takeover of Ipswich Town was today given an official endorsement by former Blues chairman John Kerr MBE.Wealthy entrepreneur Evans is expected to be confirmed owner of Ipswich Town with 87.
By Elvin King
MARCUS Evans' takeover of Ipswich Town was today given an official endorsement by former Blues chairman John Kerr MBE.
Wealthy entrepreneur Evans is expected to be confirmed owner of Ipswich Town with 87.5% of the club's shares at Monday's shareholders' emergency general meeting at Ipswich Corn Exchange.
Evans is taking over the club's £32million debt and has also pledged to put £12million into club funds in time for the opening of the transfer window next month.
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Kerr took over as Town chairman following Patrick Cobbold's decision to stand down in 1991, and he has been a board member since 1984 when his father William stepped down.
The Suffolk landowner and farmer, who was replaced as chairman by David Sheepshanks in 1995, agrees that his role - like most of the Ipswich Town plc board will now become 'muted.'
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But he sees only good coming out of the Evans takeover.
“It is the start of a new era,” said Kerr before watching the Blues take on Scunthorpe in the Coca-Cola Championship at Portman Road this afternoon.
“We are all behind Mr Evans, and it is right that he runs the club as he sees fit. We will be playing a more mooted role.”
A new football board is being formed that will include current chairman David Sheepshanks, chief executive Derek Bowden, board member Kevin Beeston and three representatives from the Evans group.
They will run the club - with Sheepshanks confirming that members of the plc board will have more ambassadorial roles.
“We must move on,” added Kerr. “When I started watching Ipswich Town we all shopped at Ridleys, Edwards', Grimwades and Croydons.
“Now we shop at major stores and supermarkets.
“Football has moved on the same as the high street.
“I wish Marcus every success, and hope it proves to be the deal of the century.
“It is a very good move for the club, and very good news that he is taking over Ipswich Town.
“Having met Marcus and read his comments I am happy that he will retain the club's traditions.
“He is a wise man, and will want to preserve the best bits.
“It has been very hard to bring success to this club over the last few years, and we must now draw a line in the sand and move on.”
Along with the rest of the board, Kerr agreed the building of new stands at either end of Portman Road in 2001 that effectively produced the £32million debt.
“We have a state of the art ground, and when - and I mean when - we get promoted to the Premier League we will not have to spend £25million on improving the stadium,” said Kerr.
“It is already fit for the new era.”
Kerr praised the work done by Sheepshanks and Bowden in righting a listing ship and bringing it back after a period of administration that started in 2003.
“We are not making excuses for the financial position we found ourselves in after relegation from the Premiership in 2002,” said Kerr.
“But a lot of credit must go to David and Derek for what they have achieved over the last four years or so. I know they have lost a great deal of sleep.
“And we also owe a big debt of gratitude to all our supporters who have helped the club - both with large or small amounts - by supporting share issues and taking out loan notes.
“This has helped keep the show on the road.
“Now we can more forward.”