BIDS LATEST, PLUS SPONSOR`S ULTIMATUM
Sponsor's ultimatum to football club boss
CHAD, 17 January 2007
MANSFIELD Town FC has had yet another stormy week off the pitch — with the troubled club losing its chairman and a major sponsor threatening to quit.
First to walk out of the exit door was chairman Peter Lee and yesterday sponsor Andrew Saunders told Chad he intended to withdraw his insurance firm's sponsorship from the club next season unless chief executive Keith Haslam left the club.
Mr Saunders, also joint chairman of supporters' group TEAM Mansfield, indicated there were 'a number' of other sponsors thinking of doing the same thing .
"This is not a decision that has come lightly –– I've been a Stags supporter since 1966, I've been a ticket season holder since 1974/75 and I support the team home and away," he told Chad.
"It's because of a culmination of things regarding Mansfield Town and, unless there's some sort of change at the top and Mr Haslam has gone, I shall be withdrawing my sponsorship."
This latest bombshell comes hot on the heels of news that Mr Lee had recently resigned as Stags chairman, a role he took on June.
The announcement has put an end to months of speculation over the exact extent of the former Football Foundation chief executive's involvement with the club, with him barely seen at Field Mill in recent months.
Mr Haslam told Chad that Mr Lee had first 'informally' discussed his resignation with him around two weeks ago, but stressed he was hoping to have a replacement in position shortly.
Said Mr Haslam: "I have tried to persuade Peter to stay on, but he has not got the time to carry out the duties required of him.
"His remit was to assist and develop the club and chair meetings as a chairman would do, but the activities of certain groups of supporters creating adverse publicity was creating an amount of work for him that made this difficult to achieve."
He said that because of problems caused by recent 'negative publicity' surrounding the club, Mr Lee had not been able to find time for fundraising.
Mr Haslam also welcomed the support shown to the club by both Mansfield MP Alan Meale and mayor Tony Egginton, who this week spoke out against calls made by supporters' group TEAM Mansfield for fans to consider boycotting Stags' games.
Said Mr Haslam: "They know it would be a devastating blow if the town lost its league team. A boycott would do nothing but harm to the club and to the town.
"I've heard on the radio that Andrew Saunders is saying that if things don't change he will be withdrawing sponsorship next season –– but I have not discussed this with him myself.
"But I don't see how people taking money away from the club is going to help the situation –– the fans know I want to leave, and I have said I will consider any serious offers made to buy the club. So far I have not received any serious offers."
Both main sponsor Andy Perry and radio station Mansfield 103.2 have expressed interest in making takeover bids, and Mr Perry yesterday told Chad he was still putting together a business plan.
Managing director of Mansfield 103.2 Tony Delahunty told Chad the station's board of directors are still interested in making a bid of some form, although they are yet to meet over the proposals.
Chad was unable to contact former Stags chairman Peter Lee for this article.
Latest | January 2007