Way forward for Sheepshanks

AFTER being edged into the background at Ipswich Town, Blues chairman David Sheepshanks is paving the way to further his career with the Football Association, which could mean him leaving the Portman Road club altogether.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

AFTER taking more of a back seat at Ipswich Town, Blues chairman David Sheepshanks could be set for a key role at Football Association.

Sheepshanks is being tipped to lead the FA's bid for the 2018 World Cup and insiders have suggested he is a candidate to take over the newly created chief operating executive's role at Soho Square.

Of the two jobs, many in the inner orbit of the FA see Sheepshanks as being more suited to the role of chief executive for the World Cup bid.

His name was first mooted when the Government said they would support the FA's bid last November and at the time Sheepshanks told the EADT he was flattered to be linked and it was something he would love to be involved in.

Most Read

Since then head hunters have given the FA a shortlist of candidates with Sheepshanks' name understood to be prominent.

Despite losing his place on the England team's charter flight to Trinidad last week, along with fellow FA representatives Peter Coates and Terry Robinson, in favour of Fabio Capello's backroom staff, Sheepshanks is understood to have been at his charismatic and diplomatic best on the trip.

His charm offensive went down well with the national press pack and even got on well with controversial CONCACAF president Jack Warner.

If he were given the role Sheepshanks would have to leave his seat on the FA committee and could even step down as Town chairman altogether.

Now he has lost his salary at Ipswich Town after owner Marcus Evans made him a non-executive director and is seen as a figurehead for the club even though he has been kept on as an unpaid chairman, Sheepshanks is able to seek other employment elsewhere.

He is currently a director at football consultancy Alexander Ross but after losing nearly £100,000 from Ipswich Town the package of around £400,000 working for the FA on a full-time basis as the World Cup bid's chief executive would be attractive.

Other candidates are understood to include Lord Triesman, Gary Lineker and Richard Scudamore.

Prince William and David Beckham have been chosen as ambassadors, while former sports minister Richard Caborn is the government's envoy.

The COE role would basically be the person running Wembley answering to the FA as they absorb the chief executive role from the company which was a subsidiary of the association.

Alex Horne is seen as the front runner for that role after standing in for Michael Cunnah who left the post to become chief operating officer at Aston Villa but has recently been sacked from the £400,000 a year post by owner Randy Lerner.

The Sheepshanks legacy - see pages 46-47