HASLAM RESPONDS TO DAVID CONN ARTICLE
Statement From Keith Haslam
Fans of Mansfield town Football Club who came to Field Mill for the Carling Cup clash with Portsmouth on Tuesday night would have left having witnessed a great game of football and the team compete brilliantly with a club that is top of the premier league. It is therefore very disappointing that press coverage the next day was focussed on a muddled and confused article by David Conn in the Guardian on matters that he clearly has not researched to any great extent and is factually inaccurate.
It appears that the most serious allegation concerning payment of parts of the salaries of two club coaches from the funds of the charity, Stags community Trust is based on what the Trust's then accountant referred to as 'my working paper'. Kevin Philliskirk and Paul Holland have only ever been paid by Mansfield Town Football Club as payroll records will confirm. Mr Hogg's working papers are not formal accounting papers. If Mr.Conn had waited a matter of two weeks he could have been able to go through the published accounts of Mansfield Town Football Club and Stags Community trust with a fine toothed comb and then his article would have been better informed and more accurate. As these accounts will show that both organisations have been run incompliance with proper business and accounting practice, he could have found nothing untoward and therefore would have had no story critical of me, the Club or the Trust.
As to Mr.Conn's reference to monies due to the Trust's consultant, Bernard Whale, I can confirm that Mr.Whale has never expressed any concern to me about receiving payment for his services and continues to work for the Trust in seeking funding so we can carry on with the work on community development that has achieved so much for the people of Mansfield. In short he will be paid. The Trust is not insolvent as will be shown shortly when its accounts are published.
At least Mr.Conn had the good grace to allude to the work that the Trust has done for the community. His comments, however, nowhere near reflect what has been achieved. The Trust has:-
Built classrooms at the club
Invested substantially in IT
Run computer classes for adults and children
Run literacy and numeracy classes for adults and children
Run First Aid classes
Run Child Safety classes
Run after school activities under the Play for Success scheme
Worked with the Prince's Trust to provide activities for troubled youngsters/
Instead of grubbing around for documents and inferring things into their contents that are simply wrong, Mr.Conn might have best serve Guardian readers by speaking to the many local young people and adults who have enjoyed and benefited from the activities made available to the people of Mansfield by the Trust. He could then paint a truer picture of what the Trust is about and what it has achieved. I am particularly proud of how the Trust ahs helped the people of Mansfield and if Mr.Conn were ever to leave his Ivory Tower I would be more than happy to show him what has been done, what is being done and what will be done in the future by all those involved. The Trust has never, does not and will never pay Mansfield Town Football Club's bills, but it will, with the help of the Club, continue its community work for the benefit of the people of the area.
Mr.Conn makes reference to funds provided for youth development by Sport England. To dispel any confusion, deliberate or otherwise, arising from this article, I must make it clear that any money coming into Mansfield Town Football Club from sport England has nothing to do with the Trust. Grants are made to all Football League and Premier League clubs to assist youth development. Due to some grey areas as to what are eligible payments under this scheme, certain mistakes were made during 2004/05 which were put right during the course of meetings with the Football League. Both parties are now clear about what constitute non-eligible and eligible payments, and my staff are now fully aware of what can and can't be paid for from these grants. Although I believe I have arguments as to deductions that will be made for the 2005/06 grant, I accept the Football League's position and the Club will continue to spend substantial sums, some grant-aided, some not, on youth development.
I fear Mr.Conn has been much influenced by a small group of so-called Mansfield town supporters who I believe have been feeding him mis-information about my conduct in my roles with the Club and the Trust, with the sole aim of driving me out and taking over the club. My message to them is that they won't succeed, but what they might do is damage the Club and the Trust and underline the excellent work done on and off the filed by all concerned with both organisations.
'THEY WON'T DRIVE ME OUT'
Evening Post, 22 September 2006
Mansfield Town chairman Keith Haslam claims allegations about the club's community charity are the work of a group of fans who want to drive him out.
Speaking for the first time since claims of financial irregularities at the Stags Community Trust surfaced, Mr Haslam said they were "factually inaccurate".
In a statement, referring to Guardian journalist David Conn, he said: "I fear Mr Conn has been much influenced by a small group of so-called Mansfield Town supporters, who I believe have been feeding him misinformation about my conduct in my role with the club and the Trust, with the sole aim of driving me out and taking over the club.
"My message to them is that they won't succeed, but what they might do is damage the club and the Trust and undermine the excellent work done on and off the field by all concerned."
The allegations, accusing the Trust of paying the football club's coaching staff with Trust money,
reportedly centre on a document, written by chartered accountant Colin Hogg, which it is claimed shows Mr Haslam instructed that two club coaches - Kevin Philliskirk and Paul Holland - should be paid by the Trust and the club.
Mr Haslam said: "Kevin Philliskirk and Paul Holland have only ever been paid by Mansfield Town Football Club as payroll records will confirm."
There have also been concerns the Trust is in financial difficulty since Coun Chris Winterton, a trust director, wrote to fellow directors Mr Haslam and Alan Meale MP on May 31, suggesting it was insolvent and recommended it cease trading.
He was worried the Trust would not be able to pay consultant Bernard Wale, but yesterday said those concerns have been allayed.
Mr Haslam said: "I can confirm that Mr Wale has never expressed any concern to me about receiving payment for his services and continues to work for the Trust in seeking funding so we can carry on with the work on community development that has achieved so much for the people of Mansfield. In short, he will be paid.
"The Trust is not insolvent as will be shown shortly when its accounts are published."
The Trust received more than £500,000 in grants between its launch in May, 2003 and June, 2004.
Mr Haslam said money had been spent building classrooms in the West Stand at Field Mill and there had been substantial investment in a computer suite.
He said the trust had run classes for children and adults and worked with the Prince's Trust to help disadvantaged youngsters.
Mr Haslam said: "The Trust has never, does not and will never pay Mansfield Town Football Club's bills, but it will, with the help of the club, continue its community work."
It has also been revealed that Sport England found in an audit this summer that the football club had used £30,000 from grants to develop youth football on "non-eligible" expenditure.
Mr Haslam said: "I must make it clear that any money coming into the club from Sport England has nothing to do with the Trust. Due to some grey areas as to what are eligible payments under this scheme, certain mistakes were made during 2004/05 which were put right during the course of meetings with the Football League.
"My staff are now fully aware of what can and can't be paid for from these grants."
Latest | September 2006