Sheepshanks lays out financial needs

DAVID Sheepshanks, the Ipswich Town chairman, last night revealed why the Blues are so determined to attract new investment.“Next season four Championship teams will have £10million more to spend on player budgets than us,” said Sheepshanks.

By Elvin King

DAVID Sheepshanks, the Ipswich Town chairman, last night revealed why the Blues are so determined to attract new investment.

“Next season four Championship teams will have £10million more to spend on player budgets than us,” said Sheepshanks.

“This is why we are working so hard to improve our financial position and attract new investment.


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“With the progress made by manager Jim Magilton last season - with 23 points out of the final 36 - and the additions he will be making to his squad I am sure we will be competitive and be in the top part of the table

“But the fairytale gets harder. It becomes more difficult to become a strong force in the Championship with the increase in revenue received by Premiership and ex-Premiership clubs.”

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The three relegated clubs - plus West Brom, who came down 12 months earlier and did not go straight back up - will all be in receipt of parachute payments of £11million for 2007/08.

Town's income from television and associated deals for next season will come to around £1million, giving them a distinct disadvantage to the four favoured clubs.

“I and the board believe we must pursue new investment and this continues apace,” confirmed Sheepshanks.

Ipswich, who are reported to be £36million in debt, are confident of a successful conclusion to their efforts to improve their financial position.

They are working in partnership with Riverhill Partners Limited an independent corporate finance firm specialising in advice and negotiation support on debt related matters.

But it could well take longer than the club would like and nothing is likely to happen in the short term.

While Sheepshanks and his off-field team continue to look at ways of helping Magilton assemble a promotion-winning side the players returned to the club to start pre-season training yesterday (TUES).

They will initially work three days a week having returned a fortnight earlier than previous years - with a week's break and also a week of specialist fitness work at Loughborough University starting on July 9.

Alex Bruce, Danny Haynes, Jaime Peters, Lewis Price and Chris Casement have been given an extra two weeks off because of international commitments over the last few weeks.

“We have come back early to break the players in gently,” said Magilton. “It was a relaxed start stretching limbs and doing some jogging. We got the balls out in the afternoon.

“We also had a chat to reinforce our resolve to build on the feel-good factor we enjoyed at the end of last season.”

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