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Saturday, July 31

Season ticket sales pass the 17,000 mark

A smog free FPR earlier

Town manager Joe Royle has praised fans for their tremendous show of faith in the team ahead of the Blue's opening league game with Gillingham at FPR next Saturday. With season ticket sales having passed the 17,000 mark in the past few days, BFJ says: "It is terrific news that we will have the backing of so many regular fans - it really is a massive show of faith in the players."

Defender Georges Santos completed his move to QPR yesterday signing a two year deal with the London club. The moved stalled earlier this week due to contractual difficulties but those have now been ironed out and the Frenchman goes straight into the Rangers side for their friendly with Palace today.

The reserves beat Histon 5-0 at Playford Road on Thursday night. Goalscorers where Billy Clarke, Stuart Boardley, triallist Cameron Wilson, Scott Mitchell and the aforementioned Georges Santos.

BFJ believes that Chris Makin has scored an own goal by signing up for a one-year stint at Leicester City. Makin, who started his career under Royle at Oldham, would have won a two-year deal with Town had he proved that he had overcome the hip problem that saw him miss most of last season.

Town's final pre-season friendly this Monday evening, against Spanish La Liga side Osasuna, will give BFJ his final opportunity to see the side in action before the season starts for real at the weekend.

"It's our last match before the serious stuff starts and we have certainly taken some positive things out of the two recent friendlies at Portman Road and we will be looking for further improvements on Monday," BFJ told the official site. "I have got the framework of the team in my mind and the 90 minutes against Osasuna provides me with another opportunity to take a look at a few things."

Lastly, anyone planning on visiting Suffolk's County Town over the weekend, or for the game on Monday night for that matter, take heed of the smog warning in the ever cuddly Evening Star.

Friday, July 30

Santos move still up in the air

Santos delay

Georges Santos' move to QPR is still up in the air despite him having passed a medical on Monday. "I have spoken to QPR manager Ian Holloway and there is no doubt that they want Georges," Joe Royle told the official site. "But there are a few little holds-ups that need to be sorted out, mainly at QPR's end I believe, so we will have to wait and see how things go."

Reserve defender Chris Hogg is on standby for an England U-20's training camp to be held in Leicestershire from August 14-17th. Despite the interest at international level the young defender is still available on a free transfer.

New signing Kevin Horlock believes he is on course to achieve promotion to the Premiership for the fourth time in his career. Having achieved it once with Swindon, and twice with Manchester City, the midfielder believes Town have it in them to go up this year: "Ipswich were the best passing side we (West Ham) played against last season and that bodes well. It makes me feel very confident."

Andrew Goulborn has joined Town as Sales and Marketing Director from Rise Communications.

Chris Makin has signed a one-year deal with Leicester City.

Cheryl Roberts, wife of Dale, says that she and her family were overwhelmed by the level of support shown by officials and fans at Wednesday night's testimonial. "Our family can't thank both the Town and Newcastle fans and the players from both clubs enough for providing a wonderful occasion. We were completely overwhelmed by the level of support shown by everyone on the night and it was great tribute to Dale."

Manager Joe Royle was delighted with Town's performance on the night and particularly that of 'keeper Kelvin Davis. "He made three terrific close range saves, two in the first half from Alan Shearer and one in the second half," he told BBC radio Suffolk. "I'm delighted to win and I'm delighted with the sum of our football."

The evening was not all sweetness and light as Sir Bobby Robson launched an attack on Town fans who booed Newcastle's Craig Bellamy throughout the game for his former Canary connections. "Craig got the usual reception he seems to get at away grounds, but it's sad that I bring a team to my former club Ipswich and they boo one of my players."

And lastly, Wednesday's attendance of 24,644 for the Dale Roberts Testimonial was a Portman Road record for such a game beating the previous highest (Bobby Robson's testimonial 25 years ago) by 1,360. The top five attendances up until this week:

13/11/1979 England XI Bobby Robson 23,284
8/5/1978 All Star XI Mick Lambert 16,847
29/4/1969 Wolves Ray Crawford 16,474
6/4/1970 West Ham Billy Baxter 15,957
3/11/1981 Celtic Allan Hunter 15,269

Thursday, July 29

Some of the 24,644 fan's at last nights Testimonial

Town beat Sir Bobby Robson's Newcastle United 2-1 at Portman Road in the Dale Roberts Testimonial. An entertaining game was a fitting tribute to the late Dale Roberts and local cancer charities and the Roberts family will benefit from the bumper crowd of over 24,000 that turned out last night. The Blue's took the lead through Shefki Kuqi after seven minutes, Laurent Robert equalised five minutes before the interval and Pablo Counago won it for Town with a twice deflected shot after 72.

"Ipswich were very good and they passed us off the pitch at times. You can tell they have had a few more games than us but if they carry that on into the season I can see them doing really well," former Town midfielder Darren Ambrose told EADT after the game. "They have beaten a top European side who were up for this game and one the manager wanted to win."

Sir Bobby is being linked with a possible return to the England manager's job. According to The Sun he and Sir Trevor Brooking will take joint custody of the national side for the game against the Ukraine on August 18th if Sven-Goran Eriksson gets the boot.

And Eriksson's destiny in the current "crisis" at Soho Square is partly in the hands of Town Chairman David Sheepshanks. Sheepshanks is a member of the Football Association's 12-man board that will convene next Thursday to pass judgement on the Swede's latest bedroom hijinks.

Jason De Vos has been named in Canada's squad for their World Cup qualifyier against Guatemala in Vancouver on August 18th. Town's central defender will be back in the UK in time for Town's home game with Cardiff on August 21st.

And lastly, Town's reserves take on Histon at Playford Road tonight at 6:45pm.

Wednesday, July 28

Dale Roberts Testimonial tonight

Arsenal's young defender Justin Hoyte has been revealed as Joe Royle's target for a season-long loan. Town's manager hopes to conclude the deal in time for the England U-21 international to face Spanish La Liga side Osasuna on Monday night. First team opportunities are likely to be limited for Hoyte, despite being held in high regard at Highbury, so a season long loan with Town would offer a ideal opportunity for him to gain first team experience.

Ian Westlake is the only doubt for the Dale Roberts testimonial game tonight against Sir Bobby Robson's Newcastle United. The young midfielder has missed training due to problems with a wisdom tooth. "We'll see how he is, but otherwise it's the same squad of 17 from Saturday, plus Scott Mitchell, who is available again." BFJ told the official site.

A crowd of around 20,000 is expected at Portman Road to pay tribute to Town's former assistant manager. Robert's parents are travelling down from the North East to attend the game and his two sons and widow will also be present.

Town squad: Scott Barron, Darren Bent, Dean Bowditch, Pablo Counago, Kelvin Davis, Jason De Vos, Drissa Diallo, Shefki Kuqi, Kevin Horlock, Jim Magilton, Tommy Miller, Scott Mitchell, Antonio Murray, Richard Naylor, Lewis Price, Matt Richards, Ian Westlake and Fabian Wilnis.

And lastly, season ticket packages should be dropping through letters boxes across the country this week according to the official site. Given that around 18,000 season tickets have been sold for the coming season the mailing operation will take a few days.

Tuesday, July 27

AaB Aalborg's Stadium

Joe Royle says, on the official site, that he is confident that the Premiership defender he hopes to bring to FPR on a season long loan will get the OK to do so from his current club.

The identity of the player in question was originally thought to be Southampton's Chris Baird. However, the Saints player has turned down the chance to go out on loan at Ipswich and several other clubs. His agent confirmed that Town had asked about him but told the EADT that his client did not want to go out on loan anywhere, was buying a house on the south coast and that his fiancee is pregnant.

As well as a defender BFJ is also on the look out for a loan striker but has ruled out Liverpool's Anthony Le Tallec. French striker Nicolas Gousse from Guingkamp is training with Town at the moment, having joined on a trial basis. Gousse is unlikely to play in tomorrows Dale Roberts Testimonial.

Georges Santos's move to QPR has hit a number of contractual snags which is delaying his move to Loftus Road. He told the EADT: "The deal is a little bit dead at the moment. There are one or two things to be sorted out between QPR, Ipswich and my agent and that will take a couple of days. But I expect I will join QPR by the end of the week."

Lastly, many thanks to the Rougham contingent on the Gemini Travel trip to Denmark a fortnight ago, and Smiffy in particular, for the pictures from the games at Randers FC and AaB Aalborg.

Monday, July 26

Former Town manager George Burley was amongst the crowd of around 300 at a sunny Barkingside yesterday to see Redbridge defeat Town Reserves by a goal-to-nil. Defender Chris Perkins scored the winner in the second half of a match that saw Jerome Sobers and Ben Patten return to their old stomping ground.

Pics from Redbridge FC ...
More pictures can be found here.

Joe Royle has dismissed rumours linking Southampton full-back Chris Baird with a year long loan move to FPR. Town's manager revealed after Saturday's friendly with Palace that he was close to securing the services of a young Premiership defender. Chelsea's Robert Huth and Glen Johnson and Arsenal's Gael Clichy are also being linked with a move.

However, Town have taken 28-year-old French striker Nicolas Gousse on trial. Gousse currently plays for French First Division side EA Guingamp.

Chris Makin appears to have done enough during his two-weeks with Leicester City to have earned a permament contract. "We hope to sign him" said Micky Adams after the Foxes friendly with St Johnstone on Saturday. "Both the director of football Dave Bassett and chief executive Tim Davies are away but we hope to tie up a deal for Chris in the not-too-distant future."

Patrick Kluivert could make his debut for Newcastle in the Dale Roberts Testimonial on Wednesday. "He may play but I don't know his general fitness and I couldn't say until Tuesday." Sir Bobby told BBC Radio Suffolk "I don't want to risk him by playing him in a match when he is not fit."

And lastly, despite winning their group, Town's U-14's finished fourth overall in the Rey Cup in Iceland this weekend. Town's youngsters won the tournament this time last year

Sunday, July 25

Town beat Premiership new boys Crystal Palace 2-1 at a sun soaked FPR yesterday afternoon. Rob Chandler was able to give "Tom Hark" an early airing as Drissa Diallo put the Blue's ahead after just three minutes. The visitors equalised after forty when the quick thinking Shaun Derry curled a free-kick inside Kelvin Davis's right-hand post while the Town 'keeper was still organising his defensive wall. Town, however, deservedly regained the lead just before the break when Dean Bowditch slotted home from close range.

Pics from the Palace game ...
More pictures can be found here.

The reserves take on Redbridge (formely Ford United) at The Oakside Stadium, Barkingside today kick-off 12:30pm. This friendly fixture was arranged as part of the deal that brought youngsters Ben Patten and Jerome Sobers to Portman Road earlier this year.

Joe Royle expects to bring in a Premiership defender on a season long loan this week. Town's manager is also hopeful of adding another loanee to his squad before the league campaign kicks-off against Gillingham on August 7th.

Darren Bent says that Town have the potential to be "unstoppable" this season so long as they start well. "We certainly need to start better than last year. The first six games hampered us and it was a long climb back up from the bottom but a good start would have made all the difference" he told the Evening Star.

Chris Bart-Williams is expected to sign for Leeds United this coming week. Bart-Williams, joined Town in September last year, initially on-loan, and made 28 appearances. The former Wednesday, Forest and Charlton midfielder was released by Town in May.

Former Town striker Richard Logan will miss the start of Peterborough United's league campaign after breaking his jaw in an accident at Posh's London Road ground.

Academy youngsters Michael Synott, Cathal Lordan and Billy Clarke featured for the Republic of Ireland U-18's again as they drew 2-2 with Sweden in the last of their three games in the Falkenberg Tournament. Synott had the misfortune of conceding a second half own goal.

Town's U-14's have won their group in the Rey Cup tournament in Iceland. Town's youngsters, coached by Tony Humes, Ken Goody and Paul Bartlett, are on target to reclaim the trophy they won last year on their tournament debut.

And lastly, Sir Bobby Robson has reiterated his admiration for the late Dale Roberts ahead of Wednesday's testimonial against Newcastle United. "Dale was a terrific competitor as a player. He gave excellent service to Ipswich and Hull and did himself great credit as a coach and assistant manager also." Although Robson will be bringing a strong squad down for the game it is unlikely to contain new signing Patrick Kluivert.

Saturday, July 24


Defender George Santos has agreed a two year deal with Queens Park Rangers. Santos will undergo a medical on Monday before completing the move to Loftus Road. The Frenchmen, who joined Town in July of last year, made 36 appearances overall for the Blue's and scored once.

Canadian international Jason De Vos is looking forward to playing on the "fantastic" playing surface at FPR for the first time as a Town player. The former Wigan man lines up against Crystal Palace today at noon. Town from:

Scott Barron, Darren Bent, Dean Bowditch, Pablo Counago, Kelvin Davis, Jason De Vos, Drissa Diallo, Shefki Kuqi, Kevin Horlock, Jim Magilton, Tommy Miller, Antonio Murray, Richard Naylor, Lewis Price, Matt Richards, Ian Westlake and Fabian Wilnis.

Michael Synott, Cathal Lordan and Billy Clarke should all feature for the Republic of Ireland U-18's as they take on their Swedish counterparts this afternoon at 3:00pm. This is the Republic's final game in the Falkenberg tournament having drawn 1-1 with Slovakia last Tuesday and defeated Norway 2-1 on Thursday.

"Ipswich only have themselves to blame for not making it into at least the play-off final last season. Had they held on to what they had during any number of games last season the chances are that they might now be looking with relish at the Premier League fixture list not with the envy" says Football writer Brian Beard over on the PFA's wesbite.

Lastly, can someone please explain to me the pricing strategy for our two pre-season home fixtures. For today's fixture against Premiership relegation fodder Crystal Palace tickets are priced as follows: Adults 15.00, Concessions 10.00 and Juniors 1.00. Yet for much superior opposition, and a very worthy cause, the game with Newcastle next Wednesday is priced thus: Adults 12.00, Concessions 8.00 and Juniors 3.00. So unless you are under-16 its cheaper to watch superstars Kluivert, Shearer, and, er, Titus Bramble than it is to watch cloggers Neil Shipperley, Dougie Freedman and Kit Symons!

Friday, July 23

Kluivert in Town next week

Reaching the Play-Offs again is Joe Royle's initial target for the coming campaign but he admits that clubs with money to spend money will be the favourites for promotion. Talking to official site he said: "This division is very ordinary, I have no doubt about that. It's quite simple, any club that can spend a million or two will have a great chance of going up. For that reason alone, I would make Wigan one of the favourites to win promotion, certainly on what I saw last season."

Kevin Horlock has recovered from his rib injury and is included in the squad of 17 for Saturday's friendly against Crystal Palace at Portman Road: Scott Barron, Darren Bent, Dean Bowditch, Pablo Counago, Kelvin Davis, Jason De Vos, Drissa Diallo, Shefki Kuqi, Kevin Horlock, Jim Magilton, Tommy Miller, Antonio Murray, Richard Naylor, Lewis Price, Matt Richards, Ian Westlake and Fabian Wilnis.

Joe Royle is convinced that Jason de Vos will be an instant hit with Blues fans. The towering Canadian, who makes his home debut in the Palace game, has impressed at the back during his run of pre-season games. "Jason has done very well and I'm sure he will prove popular with the supporters. He and Richard Naylor looked good together at Oxford, although they were a bit slow for the goal, and Jason has fitted in very well."

Pablo Counago's sudden return to form has given BFJ second thoughts about bringing in another striker: "The way Pablo has played at times this past week would make those needs change. He has shown more often what we know he can do and if he can keep that up and take it on we may not have to bring someone else in. That said, we have contingency plans and if a player leaves that gives us more room to manouvre."

Drissa Diallo says that Town fans will see the real him this season. After starting the first nine games last year Diallo suffered a bad knee injury in a collision with Georges Santos, and the Guinea international admits he did not perform to his best when he eventually made it back into the senior side.

The Republic of Ireland U-18's defeated Norway 2-1 in the Falkenberg Tournament in Sweden yesterday, thanks to a brace from Academy striker Billy Clarke.

The home game with Wolves on Bank Holiday Monday has reverted to a 3pm kick-off. The game had been rescheduled for a 7.45pm kick-off but Town now think the original time will attract a larger crowd.

Former Town, Rangers and England captain Terry Butcher has signed an extension to his managerial contact with Motherwell that will keep him at the SPL side for a further two seasons.

And lastly, Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert has signed for Sir Bobby's Newcastle United and, along with a pretty much full strength side, should be on show at FPR next Wednesday for Dale Roberts' Testomonial game.

Thursday, July 22

Town's reserves lost 2-1 to Barnet at Underhill last night. Shefki Kuqi put the Blue's ahead with a volleyed strike after 12 minutes but the Conference struck back through Giuliano Grazioli and Liam Hatch.

Georges Santos suffered a nose injury prior to Kuqi's goal and after lengthy treatment was forced out of the action.

Earlier QPR manager Ian Holloway had spoken of his desire to sign the Frenchman. "He's just the sort of player we need in the sort of situation we have at the back". Newly promoted Rangers have a mini-defensive crisis with only three fit centre-half's in the squad.

Joe Royle has challenged midfielder Ian Westlake to force his way into the England Under-21 team this season. Talking to the Evening Star he said: "The challenge for him is to go on and take what he did and say 'I want to be in the England U-21s'. If he carries on playing regular football and maintains his progress, then I am sure Peter Taylor will get to know about him. We are delighted with his progress but do not want to put too much pressure on him."

And lastly, Mark Rivers, on trial at Town last week, has rejoined Crewe on a free transfer.

Wednesday, July 21

What a very nice man!

Despite falling behind to an early goal from Oxford's Steve Basham Town ran out 5-1 victors in last nights friendly at the Hassam Stadium. Tommy Miller grabbed a brace and Darren Bent and Pablo Counago each scored one apiece before former United man Jim Magilton finished off the scoring in second half injury time.

Joe Royle was understandably happy with the performance of the Town front line last night: "We played three upfront and they were terrific for us against Oxford, plenty of movement and the goals came as well so we are delighted with that."

He is, however, still looking to bring in some new faces before the start of the season but the shackles of the CVA will continue to limit his dealings to free transfers and loan signings. "After administration at this club we had to get the wage bill down from GBP17million to GBP5million and it is not an easy task to bring in players you want while having to adhere to these guidelines. But this is a great club and its survival comes first. I just have to do the best I can in the circumstances."

A group of sixteen Academy youngsters is heading for Reykjavik today to take part in the Rey Cup. The 14 and 15 year-olds, coached by Tony Humes, Ken Goody and Paul Bartlett, will be defending the trophy they won on their debut in the tournament last year. The trip is being sponsored by two Town season ticket holders and former Blue Hermann Hreidarsson.

Three Academy players were in action yesterday afternoon. Michael Synott, Cathal Lordan and Billy Clarke where all in the starting line-up for the Republic of Ireland U-18's in their 1-1 draw with Slovakia, the opening fixture of the Falkenberg tournament held in Sweden.

And lastly, the reserves travel to Barnet tonight for their second pre-season friendly. Kick-off is 19:45.

Tuesday, July 20

New signing Kevin Horlock has bruised ribs and will not take part in the friendly at Oxford United tonight. Kelvin Davis, however, is over the back-strain he picked up in Denmark and is likely to start. Jim Magilton, who made over 170 appearances for Oxford in the early 1990's, will also feature. Town from: Kelvin Davis, Lewis Price, Scott Mitchell, Scott Barron, Matt Richards, Fabian Wilnis, Drissa Diallo, Richard Naylor, Jason De Vos, Georges Santos, Antonio Murray, Jim Magilton, Tommy Miller, Ian Westlake, Pablo Counago, Darren Bent, Shefki Kuqi and Dean Bowditch.

Elsewhere, defender Georges Santos looks certain to join newly promoted QPR after his agent Mick Mills held talks with the Loftus Road outfit yesterday, Alun Armstrong is on trial with Bristol City and is set to play for them in a friendly against Kidderminster Harriers tomorrow, and Chris Makin will play for Leicester again today as they take on the MK Dons. And, speaking of the MK Dons, their new website can be found here.

Monday, July 19

Former Canaries winger Mark Rivers will not be offered a contract by Joe Royle after failing to impress sufficiently during his seven-day trial. The former Crewe and Norwich player had 45-minute spells in each of Town's opening friendlies, but did not do enough during the games with Peterborough, Randers and Aalborg to convince BFJ to award him a longer term deal.

Town captain Jim Magilton has told the EADT that he will know when the time is right for him to step aside, however, the 35-year-old midfielder has no intentions of giving up his first-team place without a fight. "Ipswich is a breeding ground for good footballers and you can see Antonio [Murray], Westy [Ian Westlake] and Scott Mitchell are good players and here on merit so deserve the chance. If the manager feels they can do a better job then me then I will be more than happy to stand aside and help bring them through as best I can. But until that point I will be breathing down their necks and keeping them on their toes. I'm not giving up my place easily."

Pablo Counago, who has yet to impress during pre-season, will have a further chance to show Joe Royle that he means business when Town take on Oxford United tomorrow night. "My contract ends next summer and it will hard for me to get another one if Ipswich are not in the Premiership" the Spaniard told the Evening Star "I want to play my part in the club gaining promotion."

Georges Santos says that a move to QPR would be of more interest to him than one to Burnley as he considers approaches from both clubs: "Queens Park Rangers is nearer to Ipswich and perhaps that would work out best. I am leaving it up to my agent, and have no wish to leave Ipswich as I enjoy it very much."

Monday, July 12

Gone to Denmark for the pre-season tour. No more updates until next week.

Sunday, July 11

Peterborough v Town, 10/07/2004 Peterborough v Town, 10/07/2004 Peterborough v Town, 10/07/2004
Peterborough v Town, 10/07/2004 Peterborough v Town, 10/07/2004 Peterborough v Town, 10/07/2004

London Road yesterday

Town got off to a winning start in their pre-season fixtures with a 2-1 win against Peterborough United. All three goals came in the first half with Town taking the lead as early as the third minute when Pablo Counago's shot took a deflection off a defender. The Blue's went further ahead after quarter-of-an-hour when good build up play by Shefki Kuqi and Pablo Counago set up Ian Westlake. The Posh pulled a goal back a couple of minutes later when the unmarked Calum Willock headed home from six-yards.

Joe Royle was happy with the performances given by new boys Kevin Horlock and Jason de Vos: "I thought the new players were both terrific. Kevin and Jason did exceptionally well for us in their first game," he told the official site "the game was all about fitness for us and it was a good exercise".

Saturday, July 10


Town have signed midfielder Kevin Horlock on a free transfer from First Division rivals West Ham. The 31-year-old negotiated a release from his contract at Upton Park and has signed a two-year deal at Portman Road. The Northern Ireland international is well known to manager Joe Royle having played under him at Manchester City.

Joe Royle hopes that Mark Rivers will not be subjected to an Andy Marshall-esque barracking from the Portman Road boo-boys. Rivers was released from his contract at Norwich on Thursday afternoon and joined Town, initially on a trial basis to prove his fitness. "Andy Marshall always had a difficult time here but if he had done well then the supporters would not have cared if he had come from Norwich or from Mars. It is the same for Mark" said BFJ.

New Hibs manager Tony Mowbray has signed former Academy striker Sam Morrow on a three-year deal. Morrow, who was already on a one-month contract with the SPL side, has impressed enough to earn a more permanent deal.

New signings Kevin Horlock and Jason De Vos and triallist Mark Rivers are all included in the squad for today's friendly with Peterborough United. Full squad: Scott Barron, Darren Bent, Dean Bowditch, Pablo Counago, Kelvin Davis, Jason De Vos, Drissa Diallo, Kevin Horlock, Shefki Kuqi, Jim Magilton, Antonio Murray, Richard Naylor, Lewis Price, Matt Richards, Mark Rivers, Georges Santos, Ian Westlake and Fabian Wilnis.

Tommy Miller will miss the trip to London Road while he recovers from dental surgery, but will travel with the first-team squad to Denmark for next week's games with Randers FC and AaB Aalborg.

The league visit to Coventry City, originally scheduled for Saturday October 2nd, will now be shown live on Sky Sports on Sunday October 3rd at 1:00pm.

Elsewhere, over 5,500 tickets have so far been sold for the Dale Roberts Testimonial game against Newcastle United on Wednesday July 28th, Leicester City manager Mick Adam has confirmed that mystery man Chris Makin is on trial with the Foxes, and Andy Marshall has signed a two-year deal with Millwall.

Friday, July 9

The Football League Agents Fees Report

The Football League's report into payments to players' agents has been labelled as "nonsense" and "hogwash" by leading agent Jon Smith. Smith, the chief executive of First Artist Corporation, told The Press Association "you can make figures sing and dance any way you want this is a nonsense report." Figures in the report show a varying level of expenditure on fee's: Derby County, who already have huge debts, spent some GBP279,000 on player transactions, while Town coughed up GBP37,125 and Colchester United absolutely nothing.

Town, apparently, only started paying for agent's services during their two-year spell in the Premiership, and are prudent in their dealings. No agency fees are paid when (a) youngsters sign their first contract, (b) contracts are renewed or (c) loan deals are struck.

Manchester City have confirmed that they will be appealing against the compensatory award of GBP422,000 to Joe Royle.

Former Coventry, Tottenham and Town midfielder Steve Sedgley has been charged with assault and racial abuse on the Caribbean Island of Barbados.

Town have been drawn against Division Two side Brentford in the First Round of the Carling Cup. The home tie will be played during the week commencing Monday 23rd August. Town where winners home and away in a 4-0 aggregate win in the same competition in August, 1999.

Jason De Vos has confirmed that he will be available for the away game at Derby County on August 14th. Earlier reports had suggested that the Canadian Soccer Association would be asking all their players to report for training on August 13th in preparation for their World Cup Qualifier against Guatemala five days later.

Portuguese side Beira Mar are thought to be interested in the out-of-contract Alun Armstrong. Former Colchester boss Mick Wadsworth was appointed coach of the Superliga side in May.

Tommy Miller will be missing from the 17-man squad that travels to Peterborough United this Saturday. The midfielder has recently undergone dental surgery and needs an extra week without physical contact to fully recover.

And last, but not least, Norwich winger Mark Rivers has joined Town on trial and will feature in this weekend's game with Posh. "We've never really had a player like Mark at the club since I've been here," Joe Royle told the official site "There is no time limit on his stay with us at present, we are taking a look at him and will then decide what to do. But he will provide us with some different options."

Thursday, July 8

Incompetent? Royle led Man City to two consecutive promotions

Joe Royle has launched a verbal assault on his former Manchester City employers, claiming that they 'lack class' and refuting claims of a drink culture during his reign at Maine Road: "It is sad to say, but I am afraid the only class at City is on the terraces."

The Football League has for the first time published the spending by its member clubs on agents' fees. The Football League Agents Fees Report (January to June 2004) shows that agents were used by clubs in 12% of the 963 player transactions registered during that period, paying GBP1.4m to them in the process. The report shows that Town paid out GBP37,125 over a total of 11 transactions.

Town are in talks with an unnamed midfielder manager Joe Royle has admitted: "I have spoken to a player's agent, as well as his club, but that's all I am prepared to say at this stage. There is a possibility that he will be able to join us on the tour to Denmark next week, but I would have to say it is unlikely. Things can change in a phone call, in fact in a split second, so you never know, but we have put forward some proposals and are waiting to hear."

And BFJ still hasn't heard a word from Chris Makin: "We have heard nothing and don't expect to. If he were to get in touch we would take it from there." Makin turned down a new two-year deal with Town a week ago and since then both Bolton and Leicester have been linked with the defender but no move has been confirmed by either him or his agent.

Head Groundsman Alan Ferguson has fought of competition from his counterparts in the Nationwide League to win the Nationwide Groundsman of the Year award for 2003/04. This is the fourth such award that Ferguson and his ground staff have won in recent years.

The home league fixture with Millwall has been put back 24 hours for the benefit of Sky TV's camera's. The game will now kick-off at 1:00pm on Sunday September 12th. And another fixture alteration sees the kick-off time for the home game with Wolves on Bank Holiday Monday, August 30th, moved from 3:00pm to 7:45pm.

New goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes says he had no hesitation at all in taking the job with Town made vacant when Malcolm Webster moved to Derby. "It's a wonderful opportunity for me, especially linking up with Joe and Willie Donachie again from my Oldham days," he told the official site. The 39-year-old played for Barnsley, Oldham (under Joe Royle), Dunfermline and St. Johnstone.

Wimbledon, or rather the MK Dons as they now liked to be called, have appointed former Town defender Steve Palmer as player-coach. The 36-year-old was recently released by QPR and moves to Milton Keynes on a two-year deal.

Lastly, Town are second seeds in the southern section of the Carling Cup first round draw which is to be made today at 9:15am.

Wednesday, July 7


Joe Royle has won his legal battle against former employee's Manchester City for a "massive" payout. A High Court judge ruled yesterday that he should have been given a "Premiership-style golden handshake" when he was sacked by City in May, 2001. When costs are taken into consideration he is due a payment in the region of GBP600,000.

The ruling adds to City's woes. Having invested heavily in new players and their new home at City of Manchester Stadium the club are thought to be over GBP50.0M in debt. And, not unsurprisingly, City plan to contest the ruling.

BFJ admits that Town would have to listen to any sensible bids coming in for Pablo Counago. The Spaniard, with the recent departures of Martijn Reuser and Marcus Bent, remains the only player at FPR on a Premiership salary. "We have trimmed down in other areas and Pablo's wage is not crippling us the way it could have done. But we are trying to go forward and there is no disguising the fact that we would have to listen to offers for Pablo - and he knows that. Equally, though, if he is here for the start of the season he will be a massive asset to us. He has come back looking leaner and is definitely fitter than he was at this stage last year."

Despite playing for Millwall in the FA Cup Final, former 'keeper Andy Marshall's stay at the Den could be coming to an end. He has turned down an offer from Lion's manager Denis Wise who is close to securing a deal with Arsenal for glovesman Graham Stack.

Tuesday, July 6

Finidi Back

Finidi George will be back at Portman Road with Real Mallorca on Monday, August 2nd. The Spanish La Liga side will be Town's final pre-season opponents.

Manager Joe Royle has admitted that he failed in a bid to land midfielder Alan Mahon. The 26-year-old Republic of Ireland international had a successful spell with Town last season while on loan from Blackburn Rovers.

"I had a word with Wigan manager Paul Jewell at the start of the summer, just to see what the situation was with Alan" he told the Evening Star. "As it is, Paul said he isn't interested in doing anything. Wigan paid good money for him and while it would have been nice to have been able to get Alan, it isn't going to happen and we move on."

Jason De Vos is now training in earnest with the rest of the squad. Town's new defender had been excused training last week to allow him to recover from his World Cup qualifying exploits with Canada. The Canuck talks about his career in a interview with The London Free Press (a couple of weeks old but still an interesting read).

Teenager's Gerard Nash and Antonio Murray, who both underwent surgery last season, have been working hard in pre-season training as they press for a first team place. Central defender Nash underwent a cruciate ligament operation back in December, and midfielder Murray missed most of last season with a shin injury.

Lastly, Town are just four days away from the first game of their pre-season programme game. They take on Peterborough United this Saturday at London Road, a game that will feature former Town striker Richard Logan.

Monday, July 5

Mahon Return?

Midfielder Alan Mahon is being linked with a return to Portman Road. Mahon, who spent eight games on loan with Town last season, joined Wigan Athletic in the January transfer window from Blackburn Rovers for GBP250,000.

Leicester City, and not Bolton, appear to be the favourites to sign Chris Makin after he turned down a fresh contract offer from Town last week. Makin, apparently, has been training with the Foxes in order to prove his fitness. A hip injury forced him to miss the majority of last season.

Tony Mowbray was in the Hibs dugout for the first time as the Edinburgh side drew 1-1 with Lithuanian's Vetra in the second-round of the Intertoto Cup.

Sunday, July 4

Town may have lost defender Chris Makin but manager Joe Royle is keen to play down talk of a mass exodus. With a move to Bolton looking set to take place next week, Makin becomes the seventh senior player to leave Portman Road in the close season, behind Marcus Bent, Jermaine Wright, John McGreal, Martijn Reuser, Alun Armstrong and Chris Bart-Williams. But Royle said: "It is not an exodus. I wanted to keep John and Jermaine, and I was disappointed that they both decided to move on."

Dutch First Division side Willem II have completed the signing of Martijn Reuser. Reuser agreed a contract settlement with Town on Friday paving the way for the 29-year-old to the Netherlands.

Jim Magilton is confident that Town will be promotion contenders during the coming season and that the Club's younger players will play a key role in making that happen. Magilton, who signed a new one year contract last week, is entering his sixth year with the Blue's.

Lastly, Joe Royle and David Sheepshanks enjoyed a day out at Wimbledon last week. BFJ, who had just returned from working with the BBC team covering Euro 2004 in Portugal, met up with David Sheepshanks, to watch Tim Henman tamely bow out of the men's championship. The pair then retired to a hospitality tent to discuss next season's promotion bid.

Saturday, July 3

Random Images of FPR

Chris Makin looks set for a return to the Premiership with Bolton Wanderers. The former Marseille and Sunderland defender rejected Town's offer of a new short-term deal . "Chris didn't report for training - not that he needed to because his contract with us expired on Wednesday - and we have been unable to contact him since then" said Joe Royle. "What does that tell us? We can only assume he is moving elsewhere and no longer wants to be at Ipswich. I am disappointed from an ethical point of view, if you like, because the club supported him all last season when he only managed to play half a dozen games."

Fabian Wilnis was the first of three players to agree to new deals with Town when he signed off on a one year contract yesterday: "This will be my sixth year at the Club and hopefully I can play my part in helping Ipswich get back in the Premiership" he told the official site.

Jim Magilton and Richard Naylor followed close behind, signing off on deals that will keep them at Portman Road until next summer. Magilton will also retain the captains armband for next season. The former Northern Ireland international took over captain's role from Matt Holland at the beginning of last season.

Martijn Reuser is set to complete his move from Town to Willem II. The midfielder has agreed a three-year deal with the Dutch side: "I was very happy with the club and its fans but as a sportsman I want to play every week. I no longer had the chance to do that at Ipswich Town."

Former Town loanee 'keeper Paul Gerrard has joined Nottingham Forest on a permanent basis. The 31-year-old has signed a two-year deal at the City Ground after being released by Everton and, reportedly, turning down offers from Leeds and Ipswich.

Friday, July 2

Chris Makin has turned down the offer of a new deal at Town and looks likely to move back to the Premiership. The former Marseille and Sunderland defender is believed to be holding talks with a top-flight side (Bolton, Portsmouth or West Brom all possibilities) and is expected to sign for them today.

It is 99 per cent certain that midfielder Martijn Reuser will be joining Willem II. Town and the Dutch First Division side have been having talks throughout the week and the move is now virtually complete.

On the inbound side Joe Royle expects to have a new midfielder at Portman Road in the next fortnight. With Jermaine Wright joining Leeds United earlier this week and Martijn Reuser almost back in the Netherlands BFJ has obviously targeted that position for strengthening

Iwan Roberts joined Gillingham yesterday, sparking security concerns when the Kent side visit Portman Road in the first game of the season. Hundreds of Norwich City fans are thought to be planning to be at the game when their former hero makes his Gills debut. While many Canaries fans have already tried to buy tickets in the away section, Town officials are concerned many more will infiltrate the home areas of the ground.

Norwich manager Nigel Worthington is playing down a rumoured GBP3m bid for Nottingham Forest striker David Johnson. Reports suggest that the Canaries have already made the offer to Forest for the former Town goal hero.

New Hibs manager Tony Mowbray has signed former Academy striker Sam Morrow. The 19-year-old made a solitary first team appearance for Town in last seasons Carling Cup exit at Notts County.

Lastly, Sky TV have chosen their opening five live games of the Championship (Formerly Division One and back in the distant past Division Two) coverage and Town are not included, and Town's reserve team friendly at Northampton planned for August 2nd has been cancelled.

Thursday, July 1

Baptism of Fire?

Manager Joe Royle is not surprised that Jermaine Wright has joined Leeds United despite interest from Premiership sides. "Everton and Leeds both spoke to Jamma but I don't think Everton took it much further so I'm not surprised he has joined Leeds" he told the official site "I am sorry to see the lad go. We offered him a new deal but he is a free agent and given our financial restrictions, I always felt it would be difficult for us to keep him."

Norwich City have been linked with a move for former Town hitman David Johnson. According to reports a fee of GBP3million has been discussed by Norwich manager Nigel Worthington, although Nottingham Forest boss Joe Kinnear is reluctant to sell, even at that price.

Former Norwich striker Iwan Roberts will sign a two-year deal with Gillingham tomorrow and will most probably make his debut in the season opener at Portman Road on August 7th. Roberts, recently released by the Canaries after seven years at Carrow Road, agreed terms with the Priestfield outfit yesterday and will be joining them in a player-coach role.

Martijn Reuser is negotiating a pay-off from Town before completing a move to Willem II. The midfielder is holding talks with the Dutch First Division side but is reluctant to walk away from his current contract at Town, which has twelve months to run and is worth around GBP600,000. Reuser was given a free transfer over a year ago by the Blue's who are likely to pay him GBP300,000 in compensation to help him on his way.

Out of contract Crewe captain Dave Brammer is holding off on signing a new deal with the Railwaymen in case Town step up their interest in the 29-year-old midfielder. Stoke and Coventry are also report to be interested in the Merseysider. Joe Royle has admitted having as interest in Brammer but has made no firm move as yet.

Town and Wigan Athletic are leading the chase for Manchester City's former Dutch defender Gerard Wiekens, according to Manchester Online. The 31-year-old was released on a Bosman at the end of last season after nearly 200 league and cup starts for City.

And lastly, Chris Makin is due to have talks with BFJ about his Town future today (Thursday).


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