Who next for Town hot seat?

PUBLISHED: 16:21 18 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:37 06 July 2010

IPSWICH Town's forgotten man - Super Blues' chairman David Sheepshanks - is pondering his club position this weekend, wracked by a series of competing emotions.

IPSWICH Town's forgotten man - Super Blues' chairman David Sheepshanks - is pondering his club position this weekend, wracked by a series of competing emotions.

Chairman in name only - and reduced to the position of match-day glad-hander and wine host - Sheepshanks is working out his exit-strategy from the club he has loved through a few highs - and many lows.

There's no position for him in Marcus Evans' new world - in truth there hasn't been one for him for many moons.

He wasn't even kept abreast of the departure of Jim Magilton and the arrival of manager Roy Keane in Town's recent week of tumult.

So FA board member Sheepshanks is holding in a personal cocktail all of his own - anger, concern, residue-passion and loyalty all mixed into one.

Powerless in Suffolk and multi-powerful in national football circles, the chairman who took Ipswich Town in to and out of administration - and the man who helped find new owner Marcus Evans - will not let himself be a toothless adornment to goings-on at Portman Road for long.

So, within days, he will consider his non-executive chairman's position at the club. And he needs to consider that his FA board position will come to an end… in tandem with his “end of an era” decision at Portman Road.

For the FA position, as a Championship representative, is only viable if a club position is held.

Club owner Evans, who Sheepshanks brought to the club in December 2007 to take responsibility for the reported £44million debt, has made his millions dealing in the cut and thrust world of big business.

He does not appear to have time for the Suffolk gentry within his club, and with his power diminished to a mere ambassadorial role Sheepshanks sees his role with Ipswich as complete.

But how will Town fans react if he is replaced by a non-local business executive?

Many were at loggerheads with Sheepshanks during the dark days of administration and the stagnant years that followed relegation in 2002.

But he was brought up a supporter of the Blues and had first-hand knowledge of the area and the culture. Many would now mourn his loss. Evans is unlikely to make himself chairman because of the problems of showing his face at annual general meetings etc.

He could do it, and keep his reclusive nature be appointing a vice-chairman to take meetings.

And Blues fans would accept this as they can see with the appointments of Roy Keane and Simon Clegg that Evans is leading the Blues in the right direction - with optimism high for a return to the Premier League in the near future.

Chief executive Clegg is effectively running the club these days with the full backing of Evans to make his own decisions, and he could be the one to take over as chairman.

But unlike, Ian Milne, Martin Pitcher and Jonathan Symonds who are executives within the Evans group, he is not on the Town main board.

Milne, Pitcher and Symonds are the only current Ipswich Town FC directors with former main club directors like Kevin Beeston, Holly Bellingham, Roger Finbow, John Kerr, Richard Moore and Lord Ryder now vice presidents.

For a club that has always had a member of the Suffolk gentry as chairman and been recognised worldwide for their gentlemanly way of going about their business it is likely to be a culture shock when Sheepshanks looks elsewhere to make his mark.

Eton-educated Sheepshanks took over as chairman from Kerr in 1995 having joined the Town board in 1987. He employed a hands-on approach to the day-to-day running of the club and oversaw with manager George Burley a fifth-place Premiership finish and European qualification in 2001.

After relegation in 2002 administration followed, and a search for new investment ended with the takeover by Evans 18 months ago.

In July 2008 Sheepshanks became a unpaid non-executive on the PLC board. He was Football League chairman from 1997 to 1999, and has served the Football Association in various capacities with possibilities that he may take a more prominent role in the years ahead.

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