EVENING POST: HASLAM THREAT TO `SHUT STAGS`
HASLAM THREAT TO 'SHUT STAGS'
Evening Post, 10 January 2007
Under-fire Mansfield Town owner Keith Haslam today warned he could be forced to close the club down if he is hounded out by supporters.
The Stags Supporters' Association (SSA) has issued a statement calling for the chief executive to sell the club they feel is at an "all-time low" as soon as possible.
But Haslam says he is already outlined his intention to sell, but has received no offers. And he insists that leaves only one viable option if he is to quit: shutting the doors at Field Mill.
"I have said before that I am willing to sell, but if there are no bids on the table and if no-ones comes forward, there are only two options," said Haslam.
"I can either continue as the club's owner or the only other thing that can be done if I walk away is to close the club down.
"Whether that happens depends on various things, but it is a possibility."
Haslam is disappointed with the SSA's statement, which claims that the majority of Stags fans would like to see a new owner.
But he believes that view does not represent the majority of fans, even though the SSA has more than 1,000 members.
Haslam said: "As I keep saying, what is expressed in such statements is not always what all the supporters think.
"The SSA wants to be more involved, but how can you have dialogue with people who are threatening things all the time?"
There has been talk of a boycott of a home game by SSA members in protest against Haslam.
But that plan of action now seems unlikely, and Haslam is adamant that would only hinder rather than help the club.
He said: "That would hardly help Billy Dearden and the players at this point in the season. The important thing is the football team, and staying away would not be the solution."
FANS TELL HASLAM: SELL STAGS AT ONCE
Evening Post, 10 January 2007
Mansfield Town's official supporters' club today called for chief executive Keith Haslam to immediately sell the club they believe is at an "all-time low".
The Stags' Supporters' Association (SSA) has issued the statement after last week's sale of top scorer Richard Barker to Hartlepool.
The organisation, which has 1,000 members, feels the departure of the captain demonstrates Haslam's lack of ambition.
"The SSA believe Mr Haslam's handling of our club is now at an all-time low and would encourage him to sell the club to people with the best interests at heart as soon as possible," read the statement.
"The selling of happy and under-contract club captain and top scorer Richard Barker to a club like Hartlepool, when the club is one point off relegation to non-league, surely proves beyond all doubt in our opinion that he has no intention of moving the club forward.
"During Mr Haslam's 14-year reign, our club has spent every year but one in the basement division of the Football League, the worst on-pitch record of any owner in our club's history.
"The club is, in our opinion, under-staffed, under-funded, late with shareholders' AGMs and accounts and the club shop is a permanent symbol of embarrassment again."
The SSA says it would back "almost any alternative which will respect our fans and give our club a chance of growing".
But it has decided against boycotting an upcoming home game, believing it to be against the best interests of the team on the field as they bid to retain their League Two status.
But Haslam claimed the catalyst for the SSA's comments - Barker's departure - was entirely the player's decision.
He said the amount Mansfield will receive from the sell-on clause for Liam Lawrence after his move from Sunderland to Stoke is less than the £125,000 reported.
"We would have been happy for him to stay but we got an offer for Richie and he has agreed to go. He was more than happy to go," said Haslam.
"We turned down an offer in November but he did accept terms then and his agent has been in touch with them ever since."
Haslam also insisted he wants to keep the rest of the Mansfield squad together.
Wycombe and Forest have been linked with talented duo Alex-John Baptiste and Giles Coke.
He said: "When offers come in for players you consider them on merit, but I am not looking to sell anyone."
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