Sheepshanks dismisses reports

BLUES chairman David Sheepshanks has dismissed reports that Birmingham City owner David Sullivan is interested in buying Ipswich Town.Sullivan, who lives in Essex and deals in adult publicationsincluding the Daily and Sunday Sport, is currently in negotiations with Hong Kong-based businessman Carson Yeung over the sale of Premiership Birmingham.

By Elvin King

BLUES chairman David Sheepshanks has dismissed reports that Birmingham City owner David Sullivan is interested in buying Ipswich Town.

Sullivan, who lives in Essex and deals in adult publications

including the Daily and Sunday Sport, is currently in negotiations with Hong Kong-based businessman Carson Yeung over the sale of Premiership Birmingham.

Sullivan has been reported to have shown interest in Ipswich before - to save him travelling from East Anglia to the midlands to keep his football interest alive.

But Sheepshanks said last night: “To my knowledge the story linking David Sullivan to Ipswich Town has no foundation.

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“By coincidence I met David and his fellow Birmingham director David Gold at Royal Ascot last Thursday where we had all been invited as guests.

“I have known both for several years through our football dealings and we had a general chat. But nothing more.”

Speculation that Sullivan was to invest £5million to buy Town is a much lower figure than the Blues' valuation of any deal.

Of their reported £36million debts, £28million is owed on a bond Town took out with Norwich Union to build two new stands in 2001.

They are working hard behind the scenes to write-down this figure - when they will become a much better prospect for investors.

Sheepshanks would not comment on reports that Ipswich have made a third increased bid to Blackburn Rovers for ex-England striker Francis Jeffers.

But a deal could move closer this week with heightened speculation that Darren Bent is about to be transferred from Charlton Athletic to Tottenham for £16million.

If so, the sell-on clause invoked when front man Bent left Portman Road for the Valley two years ago would add around £2.5million to Ipswich coffers.

This would then release cash for the Jeffers deal to be completed - and also allow Blues manager Jim Magilton to start work in earnest in bringing a number of new faces to Portman Road as well.

Bent looked on the verge of signing for West Ham for £17million ten days ago, but he pulled out of signing at the 11th hour. No such dramas are expected this time.

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