Town exec explains exodus
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Ipswich Town chief executive Derek Bowden has explained the mass exodus at Portman Road.
The Suffolk side, denied promotion in the play-offs after finishing third in the Championship table, have agreed to sell Darren Bent to Charlton in a deal that could be worth £3 million.
Star keeper Kelvin Davis is in talks with Sunderland over a move to the Premiership new boys and he could be joined on Wearside by out-of-contract Tommy Miller.
However, Bowden insists Town remain hopeful of keeping Miller and three other free agents - Shefki Kuqi, Fabian Wilnis and Jim Magilton.
"It is a situation of out before in," he told Sky Sports News. "The fans find it hard to stomach sometimes but, when you're running a business, it has to be out before in.
"Joe [Royle] knows who he wants to bring in and we know what we can afford if certain transactions are made.
"Fortunately, these things are happening very quickly in the transfer window and that's good for us.
"The deal [for Bent] is £2.5 million, rising to £3 million, and we believe it is good value and, in today's market, maximum value for the player.
"It's very sad. Football is a harsh place as Darren's been with the club since he was a kid and would have stayed if we'd have been successful in getting promotion but we failed at the last hurdle sadly.
"There are four out-of-contract players. As you know Drissa Diallo and Pablo Counago have not been offered new contracts but we're hopeful the four who have been offered new contracts - Wilnis, Magilton, Kuqi and Miller - will all sign up again.
"We want them to sign up again. We've offered them what we believe is good and fair money and, hopefully, they'll sign. They are free agents and they will look around and we'll see in a few weeks' time."
Miller has had talks with Sunderland and Leeds United and the former Hartlepool man is known to be tempted by a return to the North East to link up with Mick McCarthy.
"Sunderland and maybe Leeds as well [are in for Miller]," added Bowden. "I saw Tommy a couple of days ago and he was non-committal.
"He's taking his time to make his mind up. He's got an offer from us, I know he believes it to be a good offer for The Championship and he's going to take his time to decide whether his future is with us or up north.
"Hopefully, it will be with us as we'd love him to stay.
"Kelvin Davis is currently in Sunderland, I believe. We've accepted an offer from Sunderland for Kelvin. He's probably with Mick McCarthy now.
"If he can agree personal terms and likes what he sees up there, then I guess he will move on but it's very much in his court.
"We believe it's a fair offer for the player, particularly as he came in on a free transfer."