Sheepshanks hope over Royle's future

DAVID Sheepshanks last night spoke of the special relationship he has with manager Joe Royle and how he hopes it will continue for some time to come, writes Derek Davis.

DAVID Sheepshanks last night spoke of the special relationship he has with manager Joe Royle and how he hopes it will continue for some time to come, writes Derek Davis.

Royle has 12 months left on his Ipswich Town contract which will automatically be extended for a further year should the Blues win promotion this season.

Although no date has been set to discuss any new contract with Royle, Sheepshanks made it clear he is enjoying working with the former Everton, Manchester City and Oldham boss.

He said: “The working relationship between chairman and manager is pivotal in any football club and the one Joe and I enjoy is first class.


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“It is very constructive and we work together closely to find solutions and, while Joe carries out the management of the team, when it relates to the business side of the club we have an excellent rapport and one we both hope will continue to bear fruit for the benefit of the club.”

Although Royle has narrowly missed out on taking Town back to the Premiership his success can be measured in another way - he has managed to reduce the club's wage bill from £23m to less than £5m in under two years but has still kept a squad capable of mounting a promotion challenge.

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Sheepshanks said: “We have not reviewed Joe's contract as yet and all I can say is that he is doing an excellent job.

“I speak for all of the board when I talk about my admiration for the work he is doing. Of course, we all want to be promoted but, short of that, he has done exactly what he was asked to do.

“That was to stabilise the ship in the face of the horrors of relegation and, furthermore, maintain us as contenders.

“It is remarkable that he has done that by using all his experience to keep us at a level and playing in a fashion that is entertaining.

“We may not have always got the results we want but we have remained challengers.”

Royle, who told the EADT last month that he had no intention of retiring in the foreseeable future, has blended a team of experience and youth.

He has signed Kelvin Davis, Drissa Diallo, Kevin Horlock and Jason De Vos and seen youngsters such as Dean Bowditch, Ian Westlake, Darren Bent and Matt Richards flourish, while the rebuilding continues, with 10 players coming off the wage bill during the summer.

Sheepshanks said: “He is doing a first class job and I don't want to see it any other way.

“We have been through the tempest, now we need to advance and that is going to be through using our resources in the most astute and advantageous way.

“The whole club is in this together and I see no further than Joe managing this club. His tenure will be reviewed at an appropriate time but no limit has been set on that.”

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