Town deny they will be playing Scrooge

IPSWICH Town have denied they are going to be playing Scrooge this Christmas.

Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town have denied they are going to be playing Scrooge this Christmas.

A national newspaper reported the club was scrapping its traditional Christmas party and would be sending electronic goodwill messages instead of Christmas cards.

But the Blues insist they will be holding a Christmas party for staff, only it will now be held in the summer.

Director of communications Terry Baxter also insisted that while senior managers did discuss the possibility of using e-mail to send out seasonal greetings to friends and customers of the club, it was decided they would stick with the old-fashioned means of conveying good wishes.

Baxter said: “Contrary to reports, the club, as has been the tradition for many years, will be sending out Christmas cards as normal.

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“The decision to combine the summer staff party and the Christmas party was taken so all members of staff, including conferencing and banqueting staff who are usually busy at this time, will benefit.”

These latest suggestions of money-saving measures come in the wake of a raft of cost cutting at Ipswich Town, which was once famed as a family club known for its hospitality.

At the beginning of the season, former players, club guests and visiting scouts in the Champions Lounge were asked to pay for hot drinks and food before the match - but the club later agreed that was a mistake.

While guests still pay for food, they are no longer asked to pay for tea and coffee.

The East Anglian Daily Times recently revealed staff at Portman Road had been

subject to a pay freeze.

Also a series of redundancies, now thought to have reached more than a dozen, has been implemented, while the finance director Anna Hughes left in the summer and chairman David Sheepshanks was stripped of his salary and made a non-executive director.

Discussions are ongoing about making cuts at the academy, with the club also exploring the possibility of selling land at the training ground.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Ipswich Town paid just £391,000 of the £5million owed to HM Revenue and Customs when the club went into administration.

Ipswich is one of 18 clubs that have gone into administration in the past eight years, with unpaid bills that have ended up cost the taxpayer £28m.

Leicester City collapsed owing £7m and repaid just 10%, while Leeds United paid £680,000 of a £6.8m bill.

A BBC investigation was also told by a tax expert that between 50 and 60 clubs owed money to HMRC, amounting to a conservative estimate of about £50m.