Town fans support is beginning to tell

THE support shown by Blues fans in buying season tickets and debentures has gone a long way in convincing the Football League that Ipswich Town is a viable business and will be able to fulfil their fixtures next season.

THE support shown by Blues fans in buying season tickets and debentures has gone a long way in convincing the Football League that Ipswich Town is a viable business and will be able to fulfil their fixtures next season, writes Derek Davis.

The club is optimistic that they will today hear that the final hurdle to coming out of administration and being allowed to trade in the transfer market has been overcome following a meeting with the executive and full board earlier this week.

Administrators Deloitte & Touche will leave the club next Friday as the club officially comes out of administration, although the CVA will still be supervised by Nick Dargan over the next four years.

The Football League will then formally give Town back its share on June 4 and the shackles will be removed.


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Ipswich Town chief executive Derek Bowden is confident manager Joe Royle will then begin to wheel and deal, although he confirmed players would still have to go to make way for more to be brought in.

Birmingham keeper Ian Bennett is a confirmed target, while Royle is also monitoring another two keepers and has a shortlist of central defenders.

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Bowden met with the executive committee at the Football League in London on Wednesday with the Town chairman David Sheepshanks. A full League board meeting was held yesterday to discuss a number of items but Sheepshanks had to excuse himself when Town's presentation was discussed otherwise it would have meant a conflict of interest.

Bowden said: "It was a good meeting where we took them through events of the past four weeks and showed what we have achieved so far in accordance to the business plan for the CVA.

"More importantly we were able to show them what next season would look like for us because they were focusing on whether we will be able to fulfil our fixtures next season and we took them through our plans for not just next season but the next four years.

"They were positively received by the league board and they told us they thought a lot of progress had been made.

"We are now waiting for their formal comments and to hear when we will be allowed our share back, and I'm confident we will be."

Ipswich announced they are releasing a further 75 seats for debentures after an overwhelming response to the 10- and 20-year deal. A final figure on sales will remain confidential after an agreement with bond-holder Norwich Union.

Bowden has been pleasantly surprised by the interest in debentures, the first time Ipswich have gone down this route to raise capital.

Town supporters have taken to the idea, with one fan alone investing heavily and buying four debentures.

He said: "It was an experiment which has been a success. The 10-year ones have been incredibly popular, the 20-year less so but that is no real surprise.

"It has been a fantastic response which has exceeded our expectations and it has been important for the league to show the business plan is achievable and important for us to know the plan we have can deliver."

Town ticket staff have already processed nearly 8,000 season ticket renewals and fresh applications, which is an increase on the same figure processed this time last year.

Ipswich eventually sold 19,000 season tickets then and while the target is not as high as that, there is cautious optimism they could reach that figure by the start of the season on August 9.

The club are also on target to make £1m in loan stock judging by commitments to buy already, but won't know a final figure until mid-June.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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