INTERVIEW WITH KEITH HASLAM
BBC Radio Nottingham interview with Keith Haslam by David Jackson on Saturday.
transcribed by Mark Watson
Jackson: I want to talk a little bit about Carlton Palmer, he's been here now for exactly 3 months - there you are in mid table but looking to get in the play offs. How pleased have you been with him in the last few months he's been in temporary charge?
Haslam: I know Carlton well, he's a good friend but friendships stop when you get into work and I know his qualities, he's an honest person, he's passionate about the game and they're the qualities I've seen that's come through.
Jackson: Interesting you say there that the friedship goes out of the window when you get to work, I imagine that's quite a big factor because when Carltons took over he said he was doing you a favour but that can't get into the workplace can it?
Haslam: We talk about it and we talk about football all the time when we see each other socially and when we're in here we talk about the state of Mansfield Town and how we're going to improve it in the difficult time he's been here while the Keith Curle incident is sorted out.
Jackson: As an employer then and not as a friend, how pleased have been with the progress over the last 3 months?
Haslam: Everyone has their own feelings of what they want to bring to the club, obviously he's in a caretaker role but he's had to be allowed to get on with the job in his own way, because you cant just come here and tread water you've got to try and move forward - he's seen a few areas that we needed to sort out in the playing squad and I've supported him and the one thing that Carlton is is an honest person, people keep bringing up about Stockport County but that's history, they were very difficult circumstances, that was all amidst the digital TV farce really so I'm more than happy with what Carltons been doing while he's been here and we talk about it on a daily basis and its very good at the moment - the players are reacting and you can see that over the last 12 games that one thing theyve been giving is effort and hard work and grinding out the 1-0 wins rather than conceding goals which really is unheard of for Mansfield over the last 3 or 4 years.
Jackson: A lot of supporters still arent convinced are they? Even despite this last week when you've beaten Notts County away and Swansea at home, theres still a lot of supporters, and we've had them on our phone in, saying that they're not coming down here while Carlton Palmer is in charge. Do you think he'll eventually win those over?
Haslam: I woud hope so, obviously I listen to supporters - you've got to, they're what keep the club going. But you cant have it all ways - you've got to look at it all ways - we have lost some good players from last year, some flair players, and over the last 3 or 4 years we have been a flair team - probably the highest scorers in the division on a regular basis over the last 2 or 3 years, but those players have gone and Carlton has shored up the defence we're not conceding goals and we're win.., hopefully we're winning games, and its all about building on that - we've got some good young players coming into the club now: Rundle on the left and Brown on the right and experience up front with Richie Barker - when I first met him I realised what he was: a good honest man really and thats what we need in that type of position - he's great on the pitch, he's great in the dressing room - he's a leader.
Jackson: Does it concern you when you hear some of these supporters saying that they're still not convinced?
Haslam: Well, of course it does. You want everyone moving in the same direction - I want everyone moving Mansfield Town in the same direction, having the same ambition. You're not going to get everyone on board all the time - yes, I know Carlton has had, cos he is an outspoken person, I suppose some people could say you love him or hate him, but when you know him you would support him all the way because he is a very honest person.
Jackson: You've obviously given him a bit of financial support as you mentioned earlier, to try and get things sorted while the Keith Curle situation rumbles on. I wonder if it's inevitable that Carlton Palmer will be the long term replacement or whether you would consider other applicants as well.
Haslam: It's difficult as he's doing a good job at the moment, he's doing a very good job, I think, err, I was listening to the radio last night (Friday) and a stat came out that the first 16 games of Keith Curle or Stuart Watkiss - Carlton has got the best results out of the 3 managers.
Jackson: He's lost the least
Haslam: He's lost the least, err, well, yeah. But again, you know, Stuart was in a very strong position - we were in the Top 3, going for promotion when he took over, and I think he lost 7 out of the first 16. So I think at the end of the day Keith Curle had the resource, or the same offer of resources as Carltons had really.
Jackson: Did he? That's interesting because I was wondering about that because the players Keith Curle bought in at the time he had a very small squad, he brought in a couple of loan signings but CP has taken over and he's made a few more permanent signings and players from The Championship - you're saying that money was available for KC to use had he wanted it?
Haslam: That money was available he had a list of strikers lined up, we were desperate for strikers at the time - I had a conversation with KC a fortnight before the cup game saying that the loan players aren't good enough and that we needed to bring some permanent strikers in, at least one or 2 permanent strikers and we need to fill the squad out a bit and that was an offer that my associate directors here know about and that offer was on the table and I've know I've heard that there was only a certain amount he only had available but that's completely wrong.
Jackson: OK, and what about Keith Curle now? Obviously he was sacked back in December after being suspended for a month, he's appealed against that - there was a meeting on Tuesday so I understand, what's the situation now? Is it going to end soon?
Haslam: Well - I would hope so, it's employment law, employment law states that you investigate, you carry through all your investigations then you take your decision, my decision was to sack KC, subsequently as you say, he's appealed against the case, again an independent person has to go through all the reports again - interview people so it's taking that whole procedure through again to make sure everythings been looked at in the correct manner and assess the situation then, and I know the reports being drawn up now and that will be passed on to KC and his representatives and if they agree with the..., well the minutes of the meetings and then that will be left to the club and their advisors to make a decision whether they uphold the decision or re-instate him.
Jackson: Because obviously the appointment of CP relies on this coming to an end so would that draw a line under it so you are free to appoint CP or are there more processes that KC can go through to delay this appointment?
Haslam: No, as I understand this is the last stage of the procedure and if the dismissal in upheld then I believe KC's alternative is to go to a tribunal which I don't think any party wants.
Jackson: So are we looking days, weeks, months? it's not going to take as llong as the summer is it?
Haslam: I don't like to give a date because you're there to be shot at really, I would hope that within the next 7 days something could be sorted and finalised on this situation and as i say, business goes on and the club goes on but it's something in the backround that needs to be resolved in fairness to all parties.
Jackson: And then can we assume that CP will be appointed?
Haslam: (chuckles) Welll as I say, I think CP's done a very good job, I think CP took over - we were in 12th position, we're in 11th position at the moment and the players are happy and that's a good indication of how the manager is doing
Jackson: And finally I must ask you about Wayne Corden there's been lots of speculation about him over the last few weeks - CP's told him he can leave but there's lots of talk about his contract and so on, has anything been agreed with Wayne Corden? Is he going to be on his way soon do you know?
Haslam: There's a couple of clubs contacted us about WC, I think the agent said that there's 6 clubs contacted him about his future I think we've looked at it, CP's looked at it, I think WC's looked at it and I think WC acknowledges that he's not been performing, he's been off form for this season, all of this season probably even before CP came in we had a position with KC indicated to me that he was reluctant to play WC away from home - we needed to be more defensive minded on away games, so the signs were there before CP came along, so it's just not CP's decision, I think KC had the same view of WC that his time at MTFC??, he's been a great servant to MTFC and if he is to leave we wish him all the best.
Jackson: Ok then - we will wait with baited breath on that one - thanks very much Keith and as the sun comes out lets hope we can celebrate a third successive win this weekend.
Haslam: Look forward to it.
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