Friday, 2 March 2007

Football and politics

Sheepshanks - time to go?

I was going to try and leave football off this blog, it is my great love but I wanted this blog to be about politics and the concerns of Ipswich and in particular - Rushmere residents.
But the last few results and our proximity to the drop zone, make it impossible not to mention Ipswich Town FC.
I have a ten year season ticket- (army pension- not spent that wisely!) so I am in for the long term and I am sure we will survive but Football and politics can come together.
I have been involved and a member of the Football Supporters Federation from it's start after the events at Hillsborough in 1989 and I also helped start the Ipswich Town Independent Supporters Trust and one of the reasons why I am involved in both is the lack of supporter involvement in the running of the game. It is hard to get fans to unite as if your team is doing well you can easily forget about the others but though it is hard you can get fans to share a common purpose as seen with the recent outcry about ticket prices. the trouble is as Premier teams think and in some cases actually cut prices, here at Ipswich we are about to see ticket prices go up!
The Trust had a good working relationship with the Club but after we were critical of Mr Sheepshanks and his bonus at the Club AGM, it seems we are no longer in the "in crowd", despite raising large amounts of money that have been used for the benefit of the Academy.
The Club seem to be happy to take our money- but only as long as we toe the party line.
Ipswich need a number of new investors but as long as Mr Sheepshanks is there, that will probably not happen. You can see they are desperate and last season got involved with a dodgy fellow, who seemed to have charmed Sheepy and the board, until the Trust pointed out that this new investor had a pretty poor track record when it came to running a football club.
Sheepy and his East Suffolk mafia were very vocal at the AGM in defence of each other and the large bonus, a number of Directors were still very critical of the Trust in the reception afterwards. But tellingly when a Club Director (who is a Chairman of a large company) was asked if he would expect to still be the Chair of his company if it was under a CVA, he answered he would not expect to be a Chair a week after going into administration let alone two years!
How come then when we say that football is not like any other business they argue with us that it is a business and has to be run as so. But then in hard times they expect to be treated differently and not like a business.
The only good thing that may come out of our recent slump in form is that more supporters may realise it is time for a change at the top of the board of Ipswich Town.

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