Clubs In Crisis
Nobody wins unless everybody wins... 09 April 2009 - 20:18

Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town's new owners back fans group SFU


Mansfield Town FC Mansfield Town FC Mansfield Town FC Click on thumbnail to view image Click on thumbnail to view image Click on thumbnail to view image Click on thumbnail to view image « Previous « Previous Next » Next » View Gallery ADVERTISEMENT THE new owners of Mansfield Town FC have come out and publicly backed fans group Stags Fans United (SFU).


The recently formed SFU - a merger of the club's four main supporters groups the SSA, TM, SFFC and OSSC - aims to raise upto £250,000 to invest in the Stags, in return for a say in the running of the club.

It would like a seat on the board of directors and the chance to buy further shares in the club.

In a statement issued on Tuesday lunchtime the club said:

"We fully support the fundraising activities of Stags Fans United (SFU) and recognise they have raised over £40,000 so far, which we would welcome to be invested in the club.

"In return for this committment and as a sign of good faith we intend to work with, engage with and embrace the involvement of all supporters of Mansfield Town Football Club.

"It is our intention to appoint a supporter-director very soon.

"We also intend to speak with SFU with regards to purchasing additional shares in Mansfield Town Football Club.

"We encourage those supporters who have held back from supporting the SFU to now consider donating to the Trust so that the SFU can further invest in Mansfield Town Football Club."

See also: How to donate money to the SFU Supporters Trust

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Stags Sold to Consortium of Local Businessmen


MANSFIELD Town Football Club has been sold today (Thursday) - and the protracted takeover had a major twist at the end of the sale saga.


For Chad can reveal that the new owners of the Stags are a group of local businessmen and NOT Glapwell FC owner, dentist Dr Colin Hancock, as had been expected.

Former club sponsors Andy Perry and Andy Saunders, together with Steve Middleton, have taken control at Field Mill after a takeover was announced on Thursday evening.

The sale follows the collapse of several previous takeovers by the Derry consortium last season.

Saunders is a high profile figure in supporters groups Stags Supporters Association (SSA) and the recently formed Stags Fans United (SFU) - positions he will now, no doubt, have to relinquish.

Middleton (49) is a new name to Stags fans, but has been a Mansfield fan since 1969. He is from Mansfield and has an electrical business in Newark.

It is expected that all three will take a hands-on role in the day-to-day running of the club.

All three - Andy Perry is from former shirt sponsors Perry Electrical and Andrew Saunders from ASIS, Andrews Saunders Insurance Services, which sponsored the Quarry Lane end stand at the 'new' Field Mill - are expected to attend a press conference at Field Mill at 2pm on Friday and have said they will not comment further until then.

However, Saunders did tell Chad on Thursday evening: "I am delighted that the sale has gone through."

A statement was released by solicitors on Thursday evening saying said that a legally binding agreement had been entered into between the trio and Mansfield Town FC owner Keith Haslam for the sale of the club.

The statement from John Wilford, of Elliot Mather Solicitors, said: "We are pleased to announce that we have been advising a consortium of local businessmen in respect of the purchase of Mansfield Town FC.

"We can confirm that we have entered into a legally binding agreement to purchase the club."

The news finally ends Haslam's controversial 15-year tenure of the Stags and he confirmed the news to 103.2's Tony Delahunty on Thursday evening.

The new owners - who have bought the football club and will rent Field Mill over a 10-year lease (thought to include a get-out clause at some point) - have been in direct negotiations with Mr Haslam in recent weeks.

It is unlikely that financial details of the deal will be released. However, it is thought the consortium will have bought Haslam's majority shareholding for £1 and it is known that the rent will be substantially less than the £175,000 figure first quoted when the Derry consortium failed to achieve a takeover earlier this year.

The group's hopes of a takeover appeared to have been scuppered 10 days ago when it was announced that Dr Hancock and the club had agreed a deal.

He had been in takeover talks for several weeks, backed by Stags chief executive Stephen Booth - brought to Field Mill before Christmas to broker a sale - and chairman mayor Tony Egginton.

That deal would have seen Keith Haslam sell both the club and Field Mill - though on Thursday evening Egginton revealed that the option to purchase the ground would only have come after three years.

The lengthy sale negotiations have hampered the club“s plans to fight back from last season“s first ever relegation from the Football League, with manager Paul Holland still unsure of his position and with just a handful of players signed on for the Blue Square Premier campaign ahead.

The takeover cannot be confirmed until the shareholders formally back the sale of MTFC. But as Keith Haslam's company Stags Ltd owns the majority shareholding in the football club, the annual meeting - or even an Extraordinary General Meeting - is just a formality.

The news must mean the end for chief executive Stephen Booth - brought to the club to broker a sale but who has played no role in this deal.

Non executive chairman Tony Egginton, Mansfield's mayor who took over the figurehead role to enable the club to complete its end of season fixtures when safety certificate holder James Derry left, is also expected to step down.

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Stags Fans United


Following discussions between fans groups SFFC, TM, SSA and OSSC all parties are absolutely united in the belief that nothing will change for the better at Mansfield Town whilst the current owner remains at Field Mill. With this in mind we would like to announce the uniting of the focus of the four main fans' organisations under the banner of Stags Fans United to help ensure the future of our club and the fortune of businesses in the Mansfield district.

From Stags Fans For Change:

After yet another season of minimal investment and lack of strategic planning by Mr Haslam there has been complete failure on the pitch and the totally unacceptable relegation to non-league football. Under the ownership of Mr Haslam we are now unable to even compete in the Football League. The fans and the town have been fed reports of aborted takeovers for far too long and the one common factor in all reported takeover attempts is the involvement of Keith Haslam.

Stags Fans United questions whether during negotiations Mr Haslam is acting in the best interests of himself or the Football Club. From what has been reported in the press it appears that a deal may only be completed if the club effectively loses the land bought in Skegby for the academy training centre and also if Field Mill stadium is separated from that of the club.

How can the above actions serve, in any way, the best long term interests of the club? Stags Fans United have come together to urge all fans of MTFC and people who care about the district of Mansfield to unite and urgently consider the following key actions:

1) As fans provide the majority of Keith Haslam's income we have the power to use that money as a key lever. Stags Fans United ask all fans to consider whether if they buy another season ticket whilst the current owner remains in place are they certain their up front money will be used to benefit Mansfield Town Football Club or the owner? We are asking all fans to refuse to purchase season tickets until the arrival of a new owner who has the best interests of the club at heart. It is vital to note that it is reported in the press that the club will be sold with a zero bank balance and as such any monies arriving before its sale will not in our opinion benefit the much needed rebuilding of the team or regeneration of the club.

2) Stags Fans United are acutely aware of the potential damage that is predicted to impact on the revenue of businesses in the district of Mansfield as a result of relegation. Conservative estimates place this figure in excess of £2 million. We call upon current and former club sponsors and all local companies to agree to withhold all investment in the club until better governance is guaranteed by the departure of Keith Haslam. We all need to be united to restore Mansfield to the status of a football league town. Stags Fans United has already received the excellent support of Andy Sutton Pipelines Limited, CHAD, Radio Mansfield 103.2, Fiducia Comprehensive financial planning Ltd, NDM Building Contractors, Pheonix Plumbing, Andrew Saunders Insurance Services, East Midlands Plastering and Opsis Consulting who have declared that their businesses are supporting the business community of Mansfield by withholding all sponsorship and funding from Mansfield Town Football Club. If your business would like to join in this initiative please contact SFU.

3) We will be calling a public meeting in the next few weeks for all fans, where details will be given of how they can contribute money or support to a fund which could give the fans a say in the future running of their club. The money could be used to support any suitable buyout or to support any future owners who have the best interests of the club at heart.

4) The fans of Mansfield Town will have noted with interest comments made by Mr Meale M.P. on Radio Mansfield 103.2 when he called for a new start at the club. He has finally recognised the need for the supporters and the local business community to be involved with the regeneration of Mansfield Town Football Club. This new found support is a welcome sea change and begs the questions whether he can put his words into action by bringing the various business leaders and supporters together. We expect urgent clarification of what he intends doing over the next four weeks to facilitate this.

Remember Mansfield Town Football Club is at the heart of your town and it is time for the fans and the town to unite to firstly restore it to acceptable and good governance. Long term we all need the club back into the Football League, under ownership that will allow our treasured club the opportunity to thrive, grow and reach our potential.

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TEAM Mansfield Statement


TEAM Mansfield cannot support any attempt by John Batchelor to purchase Mansfield Town Football Club. We consider that Mr Batchelor is not a fit or proper person to own a football club and that the long term future of Mansfield Town will be put at risk if Keith Haslam sells the club to him.

From Stagsnet:

Mr Batchelor has already been responsible for taking York City into administration and has admitted that he made £120,000 from his short period of ownership of that football club. He has also admitted asset stripping companies and being involved with fifteen other companies which have ended up in receivership, administration or liquidation. Former employees of these companies have contacted the CHAD website as well as TEAM Mansfield and warned Mansfield Town not to have any dealings with Mr Batchelor. Our concerns about Mr Batchelor plans have also been shared by persons at the Football League and Supporters Direct.

Mr Batchelor has to date shown nothing but contempt for the supporters of football clubs. He has in the last week described supporters' organisations as "web warriors", "all mouth and no trousers", "mouthy fans" and "armchair critics". He has admitted that he will be buying the football club to mainly make money for himself and his immediate family and that he is not interested in discussing the running of the football club with the fans. He has compared Stags supporters to customers of a supermarket who can just stay away or go elsewhere if they do not agree with his management of the football club. In fact, he claims to have budgeted for no fans turning up at Field Mill at all!

Mr Batchelor has also dismissed supporters groups because "they do all the complaining without taking any risk by investing". We would point out to Mr Batchelor that the average Mansfield fan invests a large amount of time, energy and money in following the club without wanting any financial return. Mansfield fans probably invest on average over £30,000 per home game when they pay their hard earned money to watch the Stags at Field Mill.

The recent ludicrous proposal by Mr Batchelor to rename Mansfield Town as "Harchester United" clearly shows that Mr Batchelor has no concept of "belonging" to a football club with over 100 years of history. It also shows that he has no respect for the town or people of Mansfield.

Keith Haslam has said on numerous occasions that he wants the future of the football club to be secure when he sells it. This is the reason he has put forward for insisting that any purchasers have at least £500,000 of working capital. If Keith Haslam sells the football club to Mr Batchelor then he will be putting the future of the football club at serious risk in order to maximise his own personal financial return. It is our view that the football club would find itself in severe financial difficulties very quickly. The club could also cease to exist if it goes into liquidation as happened recently at Scarborough.

TEAM Mansfield would prefer a local consortium to buy Mansfield Town with the support of the fans. We are also still waiting for Keith Haslam and Stephen Booth to explain how Field Mill and its surrounding land will be transferred out of the football club and how Stags Limited will repay the outstanding loan of around £584,000.

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Ex-Owner of York Wants to Buy Stags


Colourful businessman John Batchelor has been axed from the Derry consortium trying to buy Mansfield Town - but wants to become the new sole owner of the club this week.


It has emerged that Mr Batchelor, who had told the Derry group he wanted to join the consortium, held 'secret' takeover talks with Stags owner Keith Haslam and chief executive Stephen Booth at Field Mill on Wednesday afternoon.

Chad understands that the flamboyant businessman now hopes to secure a deal for the football club very quickly, after another dramatic few hours in the takeover saga at Field Mill.

He wants to take over at the Stags while there is still time to avoid relegation from the Football League and is believed to have a management team - including a former England international - ready to join him.

So Thursday could be yet another D-Day for the protracted sale of the club - with both the Derry consortium, which it is thought may try to renegotiate an already agreed a takeover deal, and Mr Batchelor due to meet Mr Haslam.

Chad exclusively revealed earlier today that Mr Batchelor, the owner of York City when it went into administration five years ago, was prepared to launch his own buyout bid if the Derry takeover failed.

But this afternoon his 'secret' meeting angered the Derry consortium - Stags non-executive chairman James Derry and Mansfield businessmen Steve Hymas and Andy Sutton - which has an agreed deal with Mr Haslam.

Afterwards Mr Hymas, who would be chief executive in the short-term if the Derry bid is successful, confronted Mr Batchelor at Field Mill and told him that he was no longer welcome in the consortium.

"We don't need people like him at the club and in our consortium. He did not tell us about this meeting, he has acted in an underhand way and I have told him," Hr Hymas told Chad.

"He has gone behind our backs to meet Keith (Haslam) and Stephen (Booth). We are not prepared to have him in our consortium.

"I have nothing against Keith and Stephen in this, but he didn't have the courtesy to let us know he was going it alone in trying to buy the club.

"We welcomed him to join our deal, showed him our deal, and then welcomed him to the ground on Saturday.

"This is how he repays us. There is no chance that he will be part of our group if we take over."

Mr Hymas added that the consortium was still interested in buying the Stags and will be meeting Mr Haslam on Thursday.

The group had invited Mr Batchelor to the Stags' last two matches after he said he wanted to buy into their takeover plan and was prepared to match their individual £100,000+ investment.

The consortium planned to use Mr Batchelor, well known nationally for his 'wacky' fundraising ideas, on the commercial side of the club, bringing in extra revenue from national sources.

And last Thursday Mr Booth announced that the consortium was 'effectively in control' at Field Mill, after takeover talks earlier that day.

However, on Tuesday Mr Derry added that the group's lawyers had yet to see the takeover paperwork which they received only on Saturday.

When asked on Tuesday about his solo interest, Mr Batchelor would only tell Chad: "If other individuals investing in the consortium felt the risk too big to commit to before the end of the season, then I would be prepared to take that risk myself.

"Why would I do it? Because it is a lot easier to try to build the club when it is in Division Two and the Football League, than from the Conference.

"If we act now there is still time to save the club from relegation."

If Mr Batchelor takes over, he says he has a three-strong management team ready to step in to try to save the Stags from relegation. One is a former England international and another could also be used as a player.

And Chad understands that with Thursday being the deadline day for loan signings for the rest of the season, that, too, could play a part in his plans.

The agreed takeover with the Derry consortium would see the group buy Mr Haslam's majority shares in Mansfield Town FC Ltd for £1, pay an annual rent for using Field Mill and have an option to buy the ground in the future.

It has not been made clear if Mr Haslam would repay his outstanding £500,000 loan to the club or what would happen to the minority shareholders in the football club.

But it would appear, given the urgency of Mr Batchelor's plans, that it is this deal which he would want to use as the basis for his takeover.

On Wednesday evening Mr Booth declined to comment when asked by Chad about this afternoon's meeting.

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Club To Be Sold For £1


Would-be Stags owner James Derry has now taken effective control of the club - although his consortium has yet to officially sign a deal to complete the buyout from Keith Haslam.


The announcement was made to cheering supporters during a special fans forum at Field Mill on Thursday night by Stags chief executive Stephen Booth.

When asked by one supporter if the club had been sold, Mr Booth replied: "Yes, but a qualified yes . . . but James Derry and his consortium are now effectively in control . . . in essence the deal is done."

The surprise announcement came after a day of negotiations between the Derry consortium, Stephen Booth - brought into the club to broker a sale - and Keith Haslam.

The deal has still to be ratified by the lawyers, but Mr Booth told the forum - organised by the Stags Supporters Association - that he expected the paperwork to be completed by the end of next week.

However, Mr Booth will remain in charge until then, though he told Chad on Friday he would 'obviously consult' with the consortium about any major decisions.

And when asked by Chad on Thursday evening if there was any way that the deal would not go ahead, he replied: "No. The deal has been done.

"The deal is basically the one that Keith had already agreed to, but a few of the legals have been made simpler in terms of the minority shareholders.

"But because of the Easter holidays and the involvement of lawyers, I cannot see that we will complete before the end of next at the earliest."

So, unlike the protracted and ultimately flawed takeover last autumn, this time the deal will go ahead - with the consortium buying the football club and renting the Field Mill ground from Mr Haslam, with a hope that they can buy the stadium in the future.

Mr Derry told the supporters: "We have thrashed out a workable deal. To all intents and purposes Keith Haslam has disappeared from this football club.

"This is a new dawn, a new era."

And he immediately reaffirmed the news released earlier in the meeting that the first home match under his leadership - Wrexham on 1st April - would be just £10 admission - £5 for those producing a voucher from this Saturday's match against Grimsby.

The £5 match pledge - confirmed by current chief executive Stephen Booth - was something the chairman had always promised once he took charge.

The consortium also called on fans to return to Field Mill now that controversial owner Keith Haslam is on his way out after almost 15 years in charge of the Stags.

And it was stressed that any money now coming into the club would go straight to the new owners - who would reinvest it in the team and the club.

Mr Derry said: "I am hoping for a bumper gate now at the next two matches.

"We obviously need to improve the income levels at the club. It is no secret that rhe club is losing £250,000 a year - the commercial activity at the club is down to ridicuolous levels.

"We are making just £100,000 at the moment - Lincoln does £600,000. So we will improve this.

"I know a lot of people are sceptical about me, but there are two Mansfield Town fans through and through now in the consortium. If they are not sceptical then you must not be."

Earlier in the meeting shirt sponsor Andy Sutton was unveiled as the latest local businessman to join Mr Derry's consortium.

Mr Sutton - who owns Mansfield firm A. Sutton Pipelines Ltd (ASPL) - joins James Derry and another Mansfield businessman, Steve Hymas, in the bid team.

Mr Hymas, from Hymas Homes, said in a passionate speech: "We want to bring in as many people as possible. We are not greedy, we are not in this to make money or take money out of the club at all.

"We want to make Field Mill a place where people can enjoy themselves.

"But we are ambitious. If we can stay up, we don't want to be satisfied with 17th or 18th place, we want to push the club forward."

Mr Hymas, who said that the group had pushed for money to be made available now for new players (two players were signed on Thursday) added: "Any money coming in will go on improving the team and the club. We want people to be proud to support Mansfield."

The news comes just a week after the consortium appealed for urgent financial backing of around £250,000 to complete the buyout - which has collapsed twice in recent weeks due to backers pulling out at the last minute.

But with Mr Sutton joining the consortium following that appeal - and a possible fourth partner in discussions - the Derry group now has the finances in place to complete the takeover. And the group has not ruled out further backers joining them.

The consortium also hope that fans groups may invest money into the running of the club, in return for a place on the board of directors.

The consortium has invested around £0.5m working capital into the club, a condition demanded by Mr Haslam before he would agree to a sale.

They will form a new company, probably to be called Stags 2008, to buy Mr Haslam's majority shareholding in Mansfield Town Football Club Ltd for just £1 - as Mr Haslam did back in 1993.

But there the similiarity with that deal ends.

The new owners will be taking over the club with a zero bank balance -no debts, but 'no cash in the bank' or major assets other than the players.

And Field Mill will be owned by Mr Haslam, probably through his company Stags Ltd, which will charge an annual rent over a 10-year lease (reduced if the club is relegated) - offering an option to buy the stadium at an agreed price.

Financial details of the sale have not been made public, but it is thought that the former training area at Field Mill will not be part of the rental agreement.

It is also expected that Mr Haslam will retain the land at Beck Lane in Skegby - bought for a yet to be built training academy by Stags Ltd with a £500,000 plus loan from the football club. No details of whether the loan has been repaid or written-off have been given.

Fans will be concerned that the football club and stadium have been separated for the first time.

And they will want assurances that the lease cannot be substantially altered or withdrawn, leaving the Stags without a home.

After the meeting Mr Derry did assure Chad that minority shareholders in MTFC Ltd would be treated fairly and recompensed at a full true value following an independent valuation of Field Mill.

TEAM Mansfield, one of those shareholders, has asked for James Derry and Stephen Booth to satisfy its board about the nature of the deal and be open and transparent.

If their questions are answered satisfactorily, an open meeting could be held in Mansfield for all fans when they will be asked to donate money to the trust - leading to supporters buying shares and being given a seat on the board of directors, as confirmed by Mr Derry on Thursday.

TM has also asked for further meetings with Mr Derry and Mr Booth next week to clarify outstanding issues.

The club will be run by a properly constituted board of directors - and it is thought that Mr Derry will now be executive chairman. It has not been disclosed who will replace Stephen Booth as chief executive to take charge of the
day-to-day running of the club once the sale is completed.

But Mr Hymas, a member of the Derry consortium since last summer, stressed at the fans forum that the directors of the football club would not be taking any money out of the Stags.

And he urged the fans to return straight away - pledging that all money going into the football club from now would not be going to Keith Haslam.

Protest group Stags Fans For Change (SFFC) has long campaigned for the removal of Mr Haslam from the club, but some of its members may end their boycotts and return on Saturday following the news.

An official statement from the SFFC will not be made until after the deal is finally completed.

One member said on Thursday night: "It is down to personal choice. Some will now go back, and I will particularly given our League position.

"The team needs all the support it can get at the moment."

See also: Batchelor wants to join Derry's Stags consortium

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End of road for Stags buyout fans group


THE new supporters' group set up to try to buy the Stags, Mansfield Town Fans Together (MTFT), has folded.

From, by Tim Morriss:

MTFT - launched last month - had planned to launch a possible takeover bid of Mansfield Town FC and give fans a say in the running of the troubled club.

Supporters, who would have been asked to buy £1,000 shares in the group to fund a buyout, were asked to register an interest in MTFT's plans.

But this week the group admitted defeat in its bid to try to end the long-running takeover saga at Field Mill.

A statement released on Tuesday said it was closing down the website and attempt to raise money to buy the club through fans, local people and businesses.

A spokesman said: "We believed that there would be sufficient momentum to have gathered more interest than we have, given the problems at the club and the lack of a bid that appears to be going anywhere.

"Additionally, we were disappointed but not surprised not to have received support from any of the other fans groups. We understand their positions, but still feel that they could have got behind this proposal more positively."

E-mails have been sent to those people who registered on the website, thanking them for their interest and for taking the trouble to register.

The spokesman added: "It also seems unlikely that we will see a united fans grouping attempting to buy the club as the agendas of the different groups are clearly and understandably different."

"We have at least tried to do something positive to deal with the issue as we see it and wo
uld finally like to thank all those who helped and supported us over the last month or more."

MTFT had been set up following frustrations at the year-long takeover saga at Field Mill, where controversial owner Keith Haslam recently rejected a £3m plus offer from the James Derry consortium.

The new group said at the time it was formed: "We believe a football club owned and run by the people who care about it most is the best way to secure the club's future. Mansfield Town is in a desperate position, bottom of the Football League, struggling financially and with supporters staying away in numbers and calling for Keith Haslam to sell the club.

"We urge our fellow supporters and supporters groups to unite, to work with MTFT and to help bring enough support to this idea to ensure Mansfield Town has a future, a future where the club is run by the people who care about it most."

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Aussies in new Stags takeover bid


AUSTRALIAN businessmen are back in the race to buy Mansfield Town - and Chad can reveal that at least three different parties are considering new bids for the football club.

From, by Tim Morriss:

Sydney-based Steve Dolheguy and Gary Wall have teamed up with a group of local businessmen currently bidding for the Stags to create a joint venture.

The new partners have been in deep discussion over a takeover bid throughout the Christmas period.

Now the Australians hope to fly to England early in the New Year for further talks with the group as they try to put together a new takeover package for the Stags.

The Australians were originally rebuffed in their initial efforts to buy the club in the summer after winning major support from the fans.

But they have always kept in contact with the takeover saga at Field Mill. They remained interested in concluding a deal before the James Derry consortium seemed to have clinched a buyout - and now they have made contact with a group of local businessmen to try to form this new joint venture.

However, they face competition from a rival Mansfield-based bid - known to Chad and whose members have asked to remain anonymous for now - which has emerged over recent days and is believed to have already tabled an offer. There has also been a tentative enquiry from a third local organisation, while rumours persist of another interest from outside the area.

The sale of the Stags is being handled by new chief executive Stephen Booth, appointed when owner Keith Haslam rejected a £3m-plus offer from the James Derry consortium late last year.

Mr Derry has remained at Field Mill as chairman and made it clear that he still hopes to gain control at the Stags in the future while working with Mr Booth to secure the troubled club's future.

Mr Booth, brought in to stablilise the day-to-day running of the Stags and find a buyer, declined to comment other than to tell Chad: "Discussions are taking place. It is vitally important that we end up with a situation that is best not only for Mansfield Town Football Club, but also for Mansfield itself."

The Australians' plans for the Stags in the summer included creating a strong football academy, re-invigorating the marketing side of the business and, aside from wages, taking no money out of the club for three years.

At the time Mr Dolheguy, whose bid won major backing from supporters on, told Chad: "This was an opportunity to develop a club into something more than it may currently be."

When Mr Haslam, who insists that he wants to sell the Stags and will not return to the club, rejected the Derry consortium offer he then installed Mr Booth as chief executive - ending his day-to-day involvement at Field Mill.

Mr Booth has said recently that one of his major roles is to find a buyer quickly and that the door was open to any 'serious offers - offers that can prove they have the funds to buy and inject working capital into the club'.

News of the latest bidders comes just a few weeks after a new fans group was formed, Mansfield Town Fans Together, with the intention of launching its own buyout bid.

As first revealed in Chad, MTFT wants fans to buy shares at £1,000 to fund a takeover package and then have a say in the running of the club.

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Fans launch new group to buy Stags


A NEW Stags supporters organisation is being created to try to buy Mansfield Town - and give the fans a say in the running of the football club.

Mansfield Town Fans Together (MTFT) plan to sell shares in their new group to finance a takeover at Field Mill, where controversial owner Keith Haslam recently rejected a £3m plus offer from the James Derry consortium.

Mr Haslam has indicated for more than a year that he wants to sell the struggling Stags - and after rejecting bids earlier this year from an Australian interest and then a group of businessmen headed by chairman Mr Derry, he recently appointed business troubleshooter Stephen Booth to stabilise and sell the club.

Now a group of lifelong fans, who wish to remain anonymous for now but are known to Chad, have set up MTFT to try to take over the Stags.

The club is reported to be on course to lose £500,000 this year and remains rock bottom of the Football League.

Yesterday a spokesman for MTFT said: "The supporters are the lifeblood of a football club.

"With fans staying away from Field Mill in large numbers and the club reportedly making weekly losses, we believe it's time the fan base came together to buy back Mansfield Town Football Club.

"Mansfield Town fans have endured much heartache recently with failed takeover bids, we assure supporters we have the very best interests of the club at heart and, as long-term supporters ourselves, want to see a successful and well supported Mansfield Town.

"We believe a supporter-owned and run Mansfield Town would give the club its best opportunity for success on and off the pitch. We want to bring back the pride into our club, hopefully we can do that with the help, support and backing of Mansfield Town fans and local businesses.

"We believe a new approach is required to secure the future of Mansfield Town. We plan to unite fans, businesses and people with local interest, to purchase the name and operating rights to Mansfield Town FC, with a secondary target being to buy back Field Mill."

Shares in MTFT, which if successful would take over the ownership of the Stags, would be sold at a £1,000 each - with fans offered the chance through a local financial institution to borrow money at a competitive rate and over an extended term.

A spokesman told Chad: "This could make the cost of buying a share as little as £20 per month."

If there is enough interest in the shares offer, the fans group would then launch takeover talks at Field Mill

Shares would be limited to a maximum of 50 per person and at this stage there is no limit or target number of shares to be issued. The spokesman added: "The aim is to raise enough to buy the club and Field Mill. Any money left over after the purchase of the club would be put to the shareholders vote, either to be spent on improving the team or put towards a fund set up to raise money to buy Field Mill."

Holding a share in MTFT, if it went on to buy Mansfield Town FC, would make the fans a shareholder in the football club and entitled to a vote at the club's AGM and in deciding the club's chairman, who would run the Stags on a day to day basis.

The board of directors at the club would include at least two shareholders from MTFT. The SSA (Stags Supporters Association) would also be invited to place a representative on the board to help ensure transparency and appeal to the broader fan base.

Major decisions such as the sale of a player might also be put to the vote of the shareholders, but the manager - working with the chairman - would be responsible for buying players; and the manager would have sole responsibility over team selection.

The MTFT spokesman added: "We would also hope to give each shareholder a discount on season tickets at Field Mill; this would depend on the financial state of the club when MTFT takes control. Other benefits for shareholders would be discussed at a future date."

Initially MTFT is asking supporters to give their feedback to the plan and to indicate whether they would be interested in buying a share in the football club. Later, a full application form will be sent to interested parties who have registered their interest in buying shares.

To register an interest go the MTFT website at and click on Feedback or email For those who don't have internet access, ring 07892872251

If a takeover bid is launched, all monies would then be held in a bank account controlled and monitored by a pre-announced legal firm. If the takeover fails after interest has been gained on the fans' money, this would be divided and repaid to shareholders along with their initial payment.

See also: Mansfield Town Fans Together (MTFT)

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Fans Group Urge Boycott


Following our meeting with Mr Booth, Stags Fans For Change (SFFC) announced that we were not changing our stance unless Mr Booth brought a radical change to the club.

From Stags Fans For Change:

Some fans and possibly Mr Haslam appear to have taken that as a softening of SFFC's approach to what has recently happened at our club.

SFFC wish to make it clear that they are still urging fans to boycott games, not buy programmes, souvenirs and drinks in the X Bar and that the Accrington game (on Saturday 29th December) will be the one dsignated for a demonstration on the banking (opposite the West Stand).

We are fully aware that our club is losing money on a week by week basis.

SFFC believes there is a relatively simple answer to the problem, certainly in the medium term - and that is for those responsible for running the football club to require the repayment of the loan made to Stags Ltd, owned by Mr Haslam, which amounts to £585,000.

That £585,000 and money from the FA Cup run would put this club on a stronger footing than almost any other in the lower division.

It would enable us to build for the future and a future without Keith Haslam.

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Mansfield Town needs you


NEW Stags chief executive Stephen Booth has made an impassioned plea for supporters and sponsors to return to Field Mill . . . before it is too late.

From, by Tim Morris:

He said: "I would ask the wider general public and community: 'Do you want Mansfield to have a football club?'

"If the answer is 'yes', then you need to come back now. We would be delighted to see you. They have to make that decision!"

Already several parties have expressed an interest in buying the Stags since the James Derry consortium was rejected at the end of November - and Mr Booth insists that finding a buyer before the end of the season is 'totally realistic' and one of his two major goals.

The other is trying to persuade fans and local businesses to come back to Field Mill and halt the slide in attendances and commercial activity.

However, the business troubleshooter warned that the club could not sustain its current losses beyond the end of this season.

He told Chad in an exclusive interview on Tuesday: "The club needs stablising in the short-term, by that I mean achieving break-even. If it carries on losing money then serious questions would have to be asked and harsh decisions would have to be taken. The next six months are critical.

"If nothing else changes then come the end of the season there will be no cash left. The money is there for now, but if it continues to haemorrhage there will be problems. We need to stem the losses."

However, he added that administration 'is not an option'. "The club is not in debt . . . in the blackest of situations it would cease to exist like any other businesses losing money. But I am not even thinking about that. That would not happen under my stewardship.

"Mansfield Town is not a basket case, it is a very attractive proposition to suitors . . . and getting the club on a more even keel would make it even more attractive."

Mr Booth succeeded owner Keith Haslam, who stepped down from day-to-day control of the club which is reported to be on course to lose £500,000 this year - following two years of substantial losses.

Already he has met representatives from three major fans groups - Stags Fans For Change (SFFC), Stags Supporters Association (SSA) and TEAM Mansfield (TM) - in a bid to persuade supporters to come back to matches and businesses to sponsor the club.

"I have been impressed by the strength of their commitment to the club," he said. "I would hope that they would see already, by the time I have spent with them, that I want that dialogue with fans - not for my benefit, but for the benefit of the club which has a great tradition.

"I would like to think we can turn any negativity from the past into a positive now.

"It is hard to know
what effect the Haslam Out campaign has had, but I hope that those groups would now turn their efforts into a positive support of the club which is clearly close to their hearts - Mansfield Town FC."

He again stressed that the owner is no longer taking a salary out of the club and is not involved in the management at Field Mill.

"In my opinion, Keith will not be involved in the management of Mansfield Town FC again."

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Keith Haslam Rejects Latest Offer


STAGS owner Keith Haslam has rejected the offer from the James Derry consortium to buy Mansfield Town FC.

From Stags Fans For Change:

But the controversial chief executive has still left the door open for the consortium - which had imposed a noon deadline for a decision on its offer - to takeover the football club in the future.

Worried fans had always thought that Mr Haslam would not make a sale decision before Sunday's FA Cup Second Round televised tie at Harrogate Railway - because of the £75,000 windfall from the match being televised live on the BBC and the possibility of a glamour Third Round tie with a Premiership club.

On Thursday Mr Haslam, rejecting the consortium's offer, said that yesterday he had asked for written terms to be put forward, but the consortium was unwilling or unable to comply and instead imposed the deadline. He added in his lunchtime statement: "I cannot respond to an offer that is not clear in its terms and is not in writing. "I am still willing to reach a deal and I am happy to work with Mr Derry, but I can not respond to a verbal offer when even that seems to be moving on a daily basis. "I have to leave it to Mr Derry to decide what he now wants to do. I won't be making any further comment until after the weekend and the focus should now turn to the FA Cup game on Sunday against Harrogate Railway which is a very big game for the football club."

Mr Derry, who had said the consortium would walk away if there was no decision today, told Chad he would respond to the offer rejection fully once he had fully considered Mr Haslam's statement. He said: "Keith has not rejected our offer per se, he says he still wants clarification on certain points. "But as it stands the differences look fairly terminal. We will try to work through it, though."

See also: All Fans Groups issue Joint Statement warning

See also: This will start our protests all over again

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Fans group calls for takeover statement


Concerned Mansfield Town fans have called for news on the delay to the football club takeover to be made public.

From, By Tim Morriss:

Pressure group Stags Fans For Change (SFFC) said on Friday that supporters were worried the continuing uncertainty would affect manager Billy Dearden's plans.

The group, which led a high profile campaign to remove Stags owner Keith Haslam, said: "Already this season bigger clubs have been sold and new owners installed since the announcement was made regarding the sale of Mansfield Town to the James Derry consortium.

"The fans who are the lifeblood of this club deserve to be told the whole truth.

"The optimism with which the original announcement was met, the furthering of that optimism by the introduction of real fans as executive directors is undermined by this ongoing saga.

"We call on James Derry to tell the fans what the expected timescale is and to explain fully and transparently the exact details of the delay."

On 5th October Mr Derry and Mr Haslam announced that they had agreed a deal for the club to change hands.

But problems then followed as the Football League insisted that the takeover plans be altered.

Mr Derry's consortium had wanted to form its own company and just take over the trading rights for the football club - leaving Mr Haslam to retain Field Mill and any associated land. However, now the consortium is trying to buy the football club, with a 10-year lease to rent Field Mill from Mr Haslam. Ownership of the stadium would be transferred to Mr Haslam from the football club.

Mr Derry and his consortium have again been meeting talking to Mr Haslam this week and Chad also revealed that the takeover was further complicated by worries over a grant given to the club to redevelop Field Mill.

See also: Full statement from Stags Fans For Change

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James Derry buys Mansfield Town Football Club


STAGS' chairman James Derry has finally completed a takeover deal to buy crisis club Mansfield Town -- bringing an end to Keith Haslam's 14-year reign in charge. Mr Derry, who heads a consortium of local businessman, has been a front-runner in the race to buy the Field Mill outfit since he entered the bidding war in July.


The deal for the club is believed to be in the region of £500,000, with Mr Derry then renting the stadium for around £200,000 per year, though Mr Derry declined to give details of the takeover today.

Chad can also exclusively reveal that an Australian group -- which had been talking to the club over the past few months -- only dropped out of the running as late as yesterday (Thursday).

A second local consortium known to Chad also pulled out of the running this week after being frustrated by Mr Haslam's demands.

Tonight Mr Haslam - who sold the club just three days after Chad called on him to step down in a front page Comment - told Chad in an exclusive interview that he still had a strong attachment to the Stags.

Mr Derry said: "I just want the fans to get behind the club now as we enter a new era for Mansfield Town Football Club."
He also told "Once the contracts have finally been completed, I will be meeting with local business groups and supporters' groups to discuss the way forward for Mansfield Town Football Club."

The deal comes as the club finds itself in the most perilous position in its 110-year history, with the Stags currently rock bottom of the Football League.

But the gloom which surrounds Mansfield Town has failed to dampen Mr Derry's enthusiasm to own the club, telling Chad earlier this week how he felt 'there is a lot of potential' at Field Mill.

"I know that might sound odd after we have lost five matches on the trot, had another low attendance and are suffering other problems with the safety restrictions," he said.

"But I know this club can move up the league. And I know that we can attract a lot more fans into the ground."

The Stags slumped to the foot of the league on Saturday after a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to League newcomers Dagenham -- then suffered their sixth successive reverse on Tuesday when they were beaten 2-1 by MK Dons.

"With Keith Haslam gone the fans would come back, the sponsors would return and there would be a lot more support for the club," said Mr Derry.

"Anyone taking over would need to shake things up a bit, new faces, new ideas . . . but I am sure that there would be a feelgood factor following the takeover and the club could benefit hugely from that on and off the field."

Stags' supporters groups welcomed the news this afternoon.
A spokesman for Stags Fans For Change said tonight: "We are extremely pleased that progress is being made to completely remove Keith Haslam. Until we know further details of the deal it is difficult to comment further, just to say that we are delighted there is a new owner at Field Mill and we look forward to progress at the club."

TEAM Mansfield added: "We are absolutely delighted that Keith Haslam is no longer the owner of the football club, but he will remain a shadow in the side of Mansfield Town as he will ultimately still be landlord, we think.

"We just hope that Mr Derry is given every chance and every support to get us out of the predicament we are now in."

And a spokesman for the SSA added: "It is great news and a step forward. Now we have got to get behind Mr Derry and give him a chance."

See also: Haslam agrees deal to go

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Supporters groups call for action


Supporters groups of Mansfield Town Football Club Stags have reacted to the latest disaster to hit the Stags by calling on all fans to unite in order to save their team from relegation out of the Football League.

From Stags Fans For Change:

Stags Fans For Change, the Stags Supporters Association, TEAM Mansfield and the committee of Ollerton Stags Supporters Club who represent sponsors, shareholders and fans believe that the writing is on the wall for all to read and are planning a demonstration against the Club's owner, Keith Haslam before and during this Saturday's home tie with Dagenham and Redbridge.

Joint statement as follows:

These are desperate times at Field Mill and it's up to all Stags fans now to show their passion for the team by letting Keith Haslam know that he is not wanted at Field Mill; while ever he is in charge the team stands no chance of survival let alone success.

The debacle at the Chesterfield game and the subsequent reduction in ground capacity by the SAG committee should be a big enough signal for anyone to hear.

We believe that Keith Haslam has no concern for the welfare of fans and no interest in taking MTFC forward; his only interest is in making money for himself.

This season has seen gate prices increase, players' wages cut and training facilities paid for by the fans while Keith Haslam awards himself a 21% pay rise. That cannot be morally right given the state of the club. Keith Haslam is responsible for 14 years of decline to the desperate times we now face. The team need our support but Mr Haslam must be told in no uncertain terms to go and we call on all fans to join us in protesting against his ownership before and during this Saturday's game.

Mr Haslam claims he wants to sell, but all the indications are that he is asking ridiculous over-inflated prices, ultimately making the sale almost impossible.

What is the difference between Mansfield Town and Barnsley, Colchester, Crewe, Scunthorpe, Southend and Yeovil? These are towns of a similar size to Mansfield with once comparable gates. They've all played us in the bottom divisions and enjoyed success without living beyond their means. Shrewd investment and support for their managers has seen them climb divisions while we languish in the basement, flirting with relegation out of the Football League; we can't even beat Accrington Stanley - a team that can only attract 110 adult season ticket holders!

It is our belief that our future is destined to see us playing Conference League football whilst Keith Haslam remains in control. If we fall victim to his poor governance we are more to likely to follow Scarborough than Yeovil or Doncaster. The Conference currently has eight teams recently relegated from the Football League, proving how hard it is to regain league status. We cannot afford to allow our club to make the drop, nor can we stand by and let it happen.

We believe that Stags fans and our football club deserve better. The future is staring us all in the face - it's a case of what could have been versus what's likely.

How many more fiascos, embarrassments, drubbings and blatant disregards for our ambitions can we accept without protest as Mansfield Town fans? The Club cannot take another 14 years of lies, broken promises and poor services? It is time for us all to let Keith Haslam know that the time for him to go has gone.

We will be staging a protest on Quarry Lane at 2pm before the game and be making our feelings known at times during the game in the Quarry Lane end of the Upper West stand. Please join with us in trying to save our club from the Conference.

See also: Haslam will not attend any more Stags home matches

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Trust Decides Not To Make Bid


See full story at Stagsnet.

Supporters' trust TEAM Mansfield has pulled out of a proposed bid for the Stags.

The trust will not be making a bid because it claims the value of the club is far less than chairman Keith Haslam wants to sell it for.

The trust had been given an extended deadline to 1pm yesterday to put in a bid after the initial 21-day deadline ended on Friday.

Haslam has never said how much he wants for the club and TEAM Mansfield was made to sign confidentiality agreements when it was given financial information about the club.

But the Evening Post understands TEAM Mansfield may have been able to bid for the supposed value of the club, thought to be around £2m, after raising more than £100,000 in pledges and approaching banks and investors for the rest of the cash.

However, Haslam is thought to want at least £4m.

The bid on the table by Andy Perry, owner of shirt sponsor Perry Electricals, is thought to be between £2m and £4m.

A TEAM Mansfield spokesman said: 'Following meetings with their financial advisers, TEAM Mansfield has been advised by them that, based upon the limited financial information available, the true value of the club is far less than Mr Haslam would be willing to accept and is significantly lower than the current bid that has already been put on the table by Andy Perry.

'TEAM Mansfield will therefore not be submitting a formal bid for the club at this stage as it is clear that Mr Haslam's desired selling price is way in excess of any realistic valuation and TEAM Mansfield will not pay vastly over the odds for the club as the financing of such an offer could jeopardise its future.'

Trust joint chairman Colin Dobell added: 'The long-suffering Stags fans can feel proud that their voices have been heard and progress has been made.'

See full story at Stagsnet.

============== Previously ===============
Marching fans told: you have 21 days to buy your club

From Mansfield Today:

Mansfield Town supporters have been given 21 days to make a serious bid for the club.

Chairman Keith Haslam called a surprise meeting with supporters' campaigning group TEAM Mansfield yesterday afternoon when he told them that, although he didn't want to sell, they could make him an offer. He also showed them legal documentation that showed he had paid back his controversial personal loans from the club - another major bone of contention with fans.

This morning's planned rally at Mansfield Civic Centre, which was to get supporters behind TEAM Mansfield, still went ahead, followed by a march of over 500 fans to Field Mill before this afternoon's game. But the focus of the rally quickly changed as TEAM Mansfield called on fans to show their backing and treated it as a 'celebration' of a breakthrough.

Joint TM chairman Colin Dobell said this morning that the chairman had given them some financial information which was subject of a confidentiality agreement. 'It gives us some information for us to make him an offer for the football club,' he said. 'So we need to show that all supporters are behind us. This is a real chance of changing the regime at our football club. We can't say the meeting was a result. It was just the start - a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Keith Haslam rang us, we didn't call him. So I think the pressure by ourselves, the FA, the DTI, the David Conn article is all telling on him. I don't think he needs that anymore.'

TM press officer Chris Vasper added: 'The chairman has said we are a group of 10 or 11 people. But we have shown here today how much support we have. We are not a minority.'

Dean Foulkes, Stags Supporters Association chairman, also spoke at the rally and said: 'The chairman has always seen SSA money as his own money and always wanted it for nothing. 'But we have never done that. We have always bought things for the club ourselves. The fans have to be our priority. After we put our support behind TEAM Mansfield and refused to deal with him again, we were stunned when he then asked us if we would pay £8,000-£9,000 for the hire of frost covers at Christmas. With the million he has taken out the club we could have had under-soil heating installed! We feel Mansfield needs a change of ownership. Managers and players can move on elsewhere. But it's not like that for a supporter. I have been a Stags fan since I was six. And in the 13 years Keith Haslam has been here only once have we had a season in a division other than the basement division. We are bigger than that and fans deserve better than that.'

Phil Tooley, of Chesterfield FC Supporters' Trust, told the meeting what had happened elsewhere and how successful Supporters' Trust takeovers had been. 'Even at clubs like Stockport and Rushden, which were owned by very rich men, they couldn't make it work and have handed them over to Supporters' Trusts,' he said. 'Fans have had enough of being turnstile fodder.'

TEAM Mansfield are giving fans a few days to think about how they can support their bid and will be giving telephone numbers and addresses for pledges later in the week. They will then take that backing to the banks and investors to see just how much they can actually bid in the end. Mr Haslam has given them no indication what he would want to leave and, indeed, has again said does not really want to sell. Immediately at the meeting local businessman Andrew Saunders pledged £20,000 while another fan, who pointed out he wasn't a businessman, pledged £500.

'We need to put together a plan that will make Mr Haslam sit up,' added joint chairman Jeff Barnes. 'This has never been a bluff. If we can only raise £50,000 then this will be all over. Keith Haslam is fed up and has had enough of all the protests. He may well accept a cheque from us. We want everyone - fans, businesses, the council, everyone to get behind this bid.'

Club sponsor Andrew Perry has also made a bid for the club this week while there are other rumours about another local businessman doing the same.

================== Previously ==============
Fans Stay Outside For Kick-Off

From: Stags Mad:

The next home game for the Stags will see hundreds of supporters protesting, and could see only a handful of supporters in the ground for kick off......

At mid day on the 4th February, prior to the home game with Macclesfield Town, Team Mansfield have called on all supporters wanting chairman Keith Haslam out of field mill, to turn up at the Civic Centre for a public meeting. From there the gathered following, will walk to field mill, where a new twist to the event seems to becoming apparent. The protest will stay outside the ground as the players run out, before entering into the ground, Team Mansfield spokesman Chris Vasper said in todays Nottingham Evening Post 'We will stay outside for the kick-off, because we want Keith Haslam to look around the crowd and see how many people are missing.

'We expect this to be the biggest event we've staged since Team Mansfield was formed. I'm confident we will get enough numbers to get our message across.

'We also believe the march will be a first for the town. In 14 years I've lived here, I can't recall a protest march through the town on any issue.'

Our very own editor of recently made a sponsors donation to Team Mansfield, and is urging all supporters to take part in the days event 'This is our big chance to show Keith Haslam just how deep those feelings are towards getting him out, let's turn up in our droves and put on a strong show of support for the Team Mansfield cause. Whatever your thoughts are about Team Mansfield as a viable alternative, give them a chance to put across their points and views, and hear what they have to say. Afterall, the day will be a chance to show your disgust at the loans leaving your football club, when all that money could be spent improving it.'

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