Town's value reduced to just �4m

THE value of Ipswich Town has been reduced to just �4m.

Derek Davis

THE value of Ipswich Town has been reduced to just �4m.

The startling figure was revealed by Blues chairman David Sheepshanks at last night's AGM for the PLC board that represents the 12.5% shareholding not owned by Marcus Evans.

Sheepshanks told a gathering of around 200 shareholders that the value of shares has been impaired and therefore the 12.5% holding has been reduced in value from �3.75m to �500,000.

That would make the total shareholdings worth �4m, although it could be argued that Marcus Evans's 87.5% carries more value because it is a controlling share.

Sheepshanks said: “There is no formula for the amount. It is simply a matter of judgement. Should the club be successful in future periods in attaining promotion to the Premier League or other significant factors occur, then the directors will consider the impact that this has in the carrying value on the investment at the time and adjust their valuation accordingly.”

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Director Martin Pitcher revealed that the Marcus Evans Group (MEG) had not been paid any interest from the club on the �33m debt it bought at a knocked-down price.

He said: “Not a single penny of interest has been paid, nothing taken out of the club. We took debt on for tax planning reasons. The interest of debt is tax deductible when in the Premier League.”

In his speech Sheepshanks accepted that performances and results had not lived up to expectations but hoped that recent results were a sign of good times to come.

He said: “As so often is the case in football, the increased expenditure on the playing squad has not yielded an immediate return in terms of improved results on the field, although there are encouraging signs of late.

“The fact that several new players arrived last January and then last summer, perhaps understandably led supporters to hold higher expectations for the current season.

“As we all know, football is not so predictable, and while Jim (Magilton) and his players have delivered some excellent performances, notably against Reading and Bristol City at home, and at Crystal Palace, Burnley, and Plymouth on our travels, it hasn't always been the case. Sadly, we have been annoyingly inconsistent with some less impressive results mixed amongst the good ones.

“I think some supporters may have overlooked a run of only one defeat in 12 league games from September to November and, since the end of the year, our results have shown a marked improvement, taking 10 points out of the last 12, with nine of them being away from home. After last night's excellent win and some other results going for us, we now sit just three points off the play-offs with 17 matches left to play.

"An average of two points a game, or even just under, for the remainder of the season would most likely see us in the play-offs. We all understand the frustrations that have existed, but I hope that everyone will get behind Jim Magilton and his players in their efforts to achieve this.”

During questions it was revealed that details for season ticket renewal would be sent out within three weeks and Sheepshanks hoped for a good uptake.

He said: "I hope also that our performances between now and May will encourage all those who may be questioning their renewal of season tickets to stay and support the team.

“Clearly, we can all empathise with the effects of the credit crunch and the different ways that it impacts our lives.”

Chief executive Derek Bowden hinted that a price freeze was possible and the introduction of 12-monthly instalments was under consideration.

Sheepshanks added: “Marcus Evans is determined that one day soon we will be a Premier League club. I think this provides every incentive for supporters to stay with it and hopefully increasingly enjoy the ride

“We all recognise that this is now a new era for Ipswich Town Football Club.

"Quite a number of supporters have recently made remarks to me about how things have changed and my answer is 'Yes, of course they have - Marcus Evans has bought control of the club and has every right to exercise that control in the best ways he sees fit'.

“He has been true to his word with regard to his investment in players, and I passionately hope that he, Jim and everyone at the club will be successful.”