HASLAM URGED TO ENGAGE FANS
Stags' boss urged to 'engage fans'
CHAD, 18 October 2006
A STAGS fans' group yesterday launched a broadside at the club's owner a week after he partly blamed 'a minority of supporters' for the football club's poor financial performance.
And Team Mansfield — behind last season's unsuccessful attempt to buy out Keith Haslam — said the club's owner and chief executive should try to 'engage fans to remedy the situation'.
In last week's Chad Mr Haslam — and accountants Hollis & Co — revealed that in the year ending June 2005, the club made a loss of almost £260,000, compared to a profit of £409,000 the previous year.
This was partly blamed on a drop in attendances and Mr Haslam was later reported saying: "It is hard work running a club at this level and it is not helped by a minority of supporters putting an inaccurate spin on things."
However, TM said yesterday: "During this period, (July 2004-June2005) there were no fans protests to the knowledge of the Trust, indeed we still had regular dialogue with Mr Haslam at this time.
"It is our view that the fall in gate receipts was due to poor performances on the pitch and the high profile sacking of Keith Curle, which alienated a number of fans.
"The Trust did not start a campaign against Mr Haslam's administration of MTFC until November 2005, after it was revealed in the 2003/04 accounts that Mr Haslam and companies controlled by him had increased loans taken from MTFC to almost £1.2m in breach of his agreement with the Trust.
"Mr Haslam actually attended a fans forum organised and chaired by TM on 2nd April 2005, when he agreed the decline in performance during the 2004/05 season was down to 'certain mistakes' ."
The supporters' group added: "The irony of the inaccurate comments attributed to Mr Haslam last week is not lost on the Trust in the context of his repeated threats to initiate proceedings against TM and its members for allegedly damaging his reputation.
"Not only are his comments inaccurate, they appear to be designed to mislead the reader and to try and shift blame onto individuals who were attempting to engage with Mr Haslam during the period in question."
And the fans called on the chief executive to accept that some supporters are not happy with the administration of the club and to improve contact between the two sides.
The TM statement concluded: "The inconsistency of Mr Haslam's stance which dismisses our legitimate concerns as 'spin' and suggests that we are a minority, then at the same time blames us for falling attendances and 'affecting the club', is difficult to square. Either Mr Haslam accepts that 600 Stags' fans marched through Mansfield last February because they were less delighted with his administration of our club and looks to see what he can do to engage fans to remedy the situation, or he can continue with his state of denial. Open and transparent management leads to trust (and better gates!)."