CHAD: SSA JOIN HASLAM CRITICS
SSA join Haslam critics
CHAD, 21 December 2005
THE 'Haslamgate' saga took another twist today as the Stags Supporters Association broke their silence to slam the Stags chairman.
Fellow supporters' organisation TEAM Mansfield had already stepped up their campaign against the chairman after a recent national newspaper article over the personal loans he had taken from the club.
But the much larger SSA had remained quiet until the SSA committee today released a damning statement in which they announced their 'complete lack of trust and confidence' in the chairman and refused to work with him or strike deals with him again.
The statement read: "Following Keith Haslam's recent public admission that he has broken company law as well as blatantly breaking the Team Mansfield shareholders' agreement by consistently taking personal loans out of our beloved Mansfield Town Football Club, Keith Haslam has given the SSA committee no option other than to announce our complete lack of trust and confidence in him.
"We would like to make it absolutely clear that we wish to see a change in the ownership of our football club.
"The SSA Committee feel cheated by his actions and that he has treated his customers, the loyal supporters of Mansfield Town with contempt. Mansfield Town supporters deserve better.
"Where could and should our Stags be if this loaned money had been invested into the club?
"Under Mr Haslam's control we have seen record income from various sources into the club and supporters expect the majority of club money to be spent on either Field Mill, the infrastructure of the football club or the playing staff.
"This has clearly not happened during 13 years under Mr Haslam and his reign has produced no progress on the pitch, a large and regular turnover of staff at all levels within the club and several controversial sagas off the pitch which have often brought the name of our football club into disrepute.
"Our local football club should not exist solely for personal financial benefit of any one person and the SSA Committee would urge Mr Haslam to finally do the right thing and sell his majority shareholding to people with the best interests of Mansfield Town FC and the supporters at heart.
"SSA hold shares in Team Mansfield and we fully support Team Mansfield Trust's new approach which has been forced on them by Mr Haslam's blatant breaking of their agreement.
"Furthermore, we completely agree with the Trust's legal campaign to force Mr Haslam to repay his debts and offer our complete support to them.
"We note Mr Haslam's comments last week acknowledging SSA.
"We fully realise that Mr Haslam values SSA's money
"But, having spent several years attempting to work with him alongside Team Mansfield, we do not feel Mr Haslam values our opinions and cannot see a way forward until his actions rather than words show respect to the supporters.
"Why should we wait continually for answers to fair questions?
"What is happening with the Academy which is supposed to provide much needed training facilities?
"We have tried to explain to Mr Haslam that not everything is purely about money.
"We ask for 'kid for quid' deals, as happen at other clubs, but Mr Haslam blamed SSA after the last one for costing the club money!
"Has the club signed up to the free children deal that many clubs have done?
"Mr Haslam agreed with SSA that the club would only release one new shirt per season, yet over the past two seasons four new shirts have been released all with the same sponsor.
"Mr Haslam agreed with SSA that our members could have priority tickets for big games after season ticket holders, yet SSA were not included in ticketing arrangements for the Newcastle game.
"Many fans are angered at the confusing ticketing details which are causing panic and forcing fans not to sit together.
"Why will the club just not tell supporters how many tickets we have been allocated?
"We feel for the excellent office staff at the club who are left on the front line in these occasions.
"We note Mr Haslam says he is proud of the ground yet the letters making up Mansfield Town FC have been hanging off the West Stand for months.
"Supporters care about the image of the club, but many people approach us as SSA saying they will not help or invest in the club until Mr Haslam leaves.
"The Stags have massive potential which is effectively strangled as Mr Haslam will not invest enough ambition for the club to grow.
"We have been overtaken in the football pyramid by many inferior clubs and it hurts."
The statement added: "We also found Alan Meale's comments last week regarding real fans patronising and uncalled for.
"Mr Meale appears to feel that to be a genuine supporter of Mansfield Town, you cannot challenge the leadership of the club, even when the Chairman admits an illegal action.
"We feel he does all supporters of Team Mansfield, SSA and the club as a whole an injustice by his comments, and would challenge him to meet and discuss MTFC with genuine fans so that he can make more balanced views in public.
"The SSA committee would also like to make clear that we will honour elements of the commercial sponsorship deal for this season we have done with Angela Gregory out of respect for the excellent, open and honest way she has worked with SSA.
"But we will not be striking further deals with Mansfield Town Football Club until Mr Haslam has either repaid the monies he owes or leaves.
"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Shirtliff for the excellent way he has pulled our team round and stress that as well as continuing to work hard for our magnificent loyal supporters, SSA will always be 100 per cent behind our players, manager and all the remaining staff at Field Mill."
Mr Haslam released his blueprint for the club's restructuring which would see him pay his loans back last week.
TEAM Mansfield are preparing their own statement on the subject over Christmas.
Chairman Keith Haslam declined to comment on the SSA statement this week.
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