EVENING POST: FANS LAUNCH BID TO TAKE CONTROL
FANS LAUNCH BID TO TAKE CONTROL
Eveing Post, 06 February 2006
Supporters' trust TEAM Mansfield have started taking pledges to put together a meaningful bid for Mansfield Town Football Club.
The group's joint chairmen, Colin Dobell and Jeff Barnes, believe they have got a chance of putting together a strong bid to take over from Keith Haslam - if enough fans put their hands in their pockets.
Meanwhile, an offer for the club has already been put on the table by Andy Perry, owner of Stags' shirt sponsor Perry Electrical.
Mr Barnes and Mr Dobell spoke about their plans as 650 fans packed Mansfield Civic Centre for the group's march before the match against Macclesfield on Saturday.
The pair had had a meeting with Mr Haslam on Friday where he gave them documents to prove he'd paid back interest-free personal loans of more than £500,000.
He also handed them financial information about the club and gave them 21 days to put together a bid, but made them sign confidentiality agreements.
Barnes and Dobell say once they get an idea of how much cash can be raised from pledges, they will then go to banks to raise more money.
They say all options are open for their bid, including buying the whole club themselves, buying the club but renting the ground and facilities from Mr Haslam or joining with other interested parties to put together a consortium bid.
Local businessman Andy Saunders immediately stumped up £20,000 and a further £5,000 was offered on the day.
Dobell said: "This isn't the end, it's only the start. But we've got a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. We've got to see how much we can raise. If its only £50,000 then it's over, but I'm confident we've got a good chance of getting our football club."
Mr Barnes said: "I don't think having the meeting the day before the march was any coincidence. We didn't call the meeting, Keith Haslam called us. I think the pressure has had an affect on him. I don't think he needs it anymore.
"We never quite knew how many people would turn up for the march. We thought what happened on Friday would mean fewer people would come but it actually had the opposite effect."
Perry has ruled out joining forces with TEAM Mansfield to put together a joint bid, but has said he will be talking to the supporters' trust about the future of the club.
He said: "I have put in a written formal bid. I don't want to talk numbers but I think it is a very good offer. I'm waiting for Keith to come back to me about it but I don't think anything will move until TEAM Mansfield's 21 days are up.
"My bid is for full control of the club and I'd be buying everything, including the ground.
"I wouldn't want to join with TEAM Mansfield. With the money that's involved I'd want to be in control. But I have been talking to Jeff and Colin and will gladly work with them. I would have a representative on the board."
Haslam has refused to state how much he wants for the club, although the figure is thought to be between £4m and £6m.
He said: "TEAM Mansfield have got the opportunity to put a bid in.
"They've been an organisation for six years, so we'll see what they can come up with. I would be happy to stay at Mansfield, but if somebody came up with the right offer I will consider it."
Haslam confirmed the personal loans of £585,142 had been repaid but said the other contentious payment of £583,499 to his holding company Stags Limited, to buy land for an academy yet to be built, was a not an issue.
He said: "That is an intercompany loan for assets of the football club. Most football clubs don't control their main assets in the trading company."
Latest | February 2006