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Archived News from January 2007

MEALE MAKES IT INTO PRIVATE EYE
19th January 2007 23:07


Private Eye, 19Jan2007, page 9





Is Mansfield's Alan Meale attempting to score an own goal? The football-supporting MP is attempting to force the official supporters' website of Mansfield Town F.C. to hand over the names of two fans that made allegedly libellous comments about him on a message board.

Stagsnet, the website of the Stags Supporters Association (SSA), had voluntarily removed the offending remarks, which followed more than a year of scandal at the club. The Labour MP had repeatedly defended majority shareholder and sole director Keith Haslam. Mr Haslam had to apologise to the League Two club in December 2005 after the Guardian revealed he had taken out large personal loans from the club's cash. Mansfield Town hit the headlines again last summer with allegation that the club had drawn money for salaries from it's associated charity, the Stags Community Trust, of which Mr Meale is the chairman. Meanwhile a SportEngland audit found taht more than £23000 of lottery money had been misspent by the club, including £255 on a parking fine.

In August a judge at Manchester county Court described a club disciplinary process against its former manager Keith Curle, which was chaired by Alan Meale, as "a sham".

In a statement, the SSA's committee said that being taken to court by the MP had been "very stressful" for them as volunteers. "SSA have had no other option than to follow legal advice throughout" they said. "The judge ordered the release of registration details and found our conduct to be entirely proper and reasonable and endorsed such conduct by ordering Mr Meale to pay SSA's legal costs."

But Mr Meale has told local press in Mansfield that he intends to win that money back with a libel action against the two fans - an interesting approach to protecting his constituents.

 

Latest | January 2007