Thorough investigation going on at club

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks last night confirmed that new owner Marcus Evans was carrying out a root and branch investigation into the football club.

Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks last night confirmed that new owner Marcus Evans was carrying out a root and branch investigation into the football club.

Speaking at the PLC board's AGM at Portman Road, Sheepshanks told the shareholders who own 12.5% of the club, how Evans' representative Martin Pitcher was carrying out the audit, as revealed earlier this month.

Sheepshanks said: “We have been doing our own version of the FA root and branch assessment. This is looking at the whole operation, not necessarily critically but to appraise and evaluate the effectiveness of everything we do as a business. It is all too easy to be defensive in this situation, however it has been important for us not to be, as it is an entirely constructive and thought-provoking process enabling us to search for improvement in whatever areas are needed.”

Sheepshanks also reiterated that Evans fully backed Jim Magilton's attempts to strengthen the squad and will back him even if they don't come to fruition.

He said: “Our guiding principle has been to get the right players, with no rush or impatience.

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“Marcus has made it clear that Jim is under no pressure to buy players for the sake of it and he would rather we take our time - as indeed we are.

“Marcus backs our philosophy of building deliberately and wisely. He cares about continued improvement in every area.

“This is an ethos on which I have expounded in the past and it is entirely consistent with the way we have tried to operate this club in the past.

“Now we have the tools to deliver and make the right decisions.”

New director Pitcher said: “I'm here to align the PLC board and the football board so there will not be any disagreements.”

Finance director Anna Hughes confirmed that the £32m debt that was owed to Norwich Union and Barclays was now due to Marcus Evans Investments but the interest would be paid only when the football club could afford it.

Sheepshanks was unanimously re-elected onto the PLC board, along with Kevin Beeston and Richard Moore, who were backed by overwhelming majorities.