Sheepshanks mans the hotline

"Good morning, Ipswich Town ticket office, this is David speaking. How can I help you?"Caller Terry Crick from Sudbury found himself talking to the chairman when he phoned to enquire about buying a North Stand season ticket for next season, writes David Vincent.

"Good morning, Ipswich Town ticket office, this is David speaking. How can I help you?"

Caller Terry Crick from Sudbury found himself talking to the chairman when he phoned to enquire about buying a North Stand season ticket for next season, writes David Vincent.

Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks and chief executive Derek Bowden were helping out in the ticket office yesterday with the deluge of season ticket renewals and phone calls.

Sheepshanks, with the help of training by Chris Bush, soon logged in and took his first call and persuaded the Sudbury-based fan they would try to find him a seat near his friends.


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He explained the direct debit system for season tickets to be paid in four instalments from June to September and thanked the caller for his support.

Then, with the promise of a signed photo of club captain Matt Holland as an extra incentive, the call was closed.

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The chairman said: "Thanks for your call, persuade your friends to do the same.

"We need all the support we can get."

And the chairman went outside to meet season-ticket holders queueing to renew their tickets in person and thanked them for their support.

Seventy-one year-old Harry Clay has been a season-ticket holder for eight years and a supporter much longer.

He said: "I am sure there are going to be a few changes, and we are going to lose one or two top players.

"But Joe Royle knows what he is doing and we have got some good youngsters coming through and I am sure he will get them going.

"This is a lovely little place and club."

The ticket office is dealing with 350 to 400 postal applications a day, some containing more than one form, plus personal callers and telephone enquires.

Ticket office manager John Ford said already 26% of renewals were going for the new standing order option, credit card renewals were down and payments by cheque also up.

"The genuine feeling is that people can't wait for next season to start again.

"Standing orders are proving very popular.

"We are dealing with the straightforward renewals first and won't move on to moving people around until we know where the spaces are.

"People seem to want to help the club in every way they can and the number of people renewing with their credit cards is down."

Fans have until the end of the month to renew their season tickets and the quantity of forms is expected to rise daily.

The club is sending out 500 to 600 reply cards per day confirming applications have been received.

Around 4,000 renewals have already been fully processed.

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