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Archived News from January 2007

21st January 2007 16:22

James Derry at Field Mill on 20 January 2007. Photo by Dan Westwell.

Evening Post, 20 January 2007
Mansfield today announced Newark businessman James Derry has been appointed their new chairman, on a part-time basis.

The 54-year-old replaces Peter Lee, who stepped down just over a week ago.

Derry - who is chairman and former managing director of Derry Building Services - immediately vowed to do 'everything he can' into keeping the Stags in the Football League.

He made it clear that he wanted to improve the relationship between board level and the fans.

Derry also insisted he will attend every game home and away and take a much more hands on approach to his role than his predecessor.

"Keith rang me out of the blue a couple of weeks ago. We had a couple of meetings about it and at that point I decided to come in," said Derry.

"The fans are not happy with the results and as I drove in I saw the 'Haslam out' signs all over the place.

"I hope people will give me the opportunity to show what I can bring to the club.

"I'm a businessman and I still believe the best way to run a football club is as a business.

"I will do anything I can to help this club in terms of bringing in sponsorship and I also think I am a good communicator.

"But it is very difficult to do that with the hate campaign that is going on, which is very sad.

"I don't know exactly what will be my role but I will be discussing it with Keith (Haslam)."

A big criticim of Lee's tenure as chairman was that he did not attend meetings.

It was also rare for him to be present at Stags games, despite being one of the most high-ranking individuals at the club.

But Derry was adamant he would deliver on those two fronts. He said: "I will be going to all the games - I will not be part-time in that regard.

"I will be available in the day and in the evening should Keith need to call a meeting as I am only 20 minutes away.

"To be fair, it was difficult for the previous chairman because he was based in Reading and it was difficult for him logistically.

"I am open to any ideas and I am more than willing to meet with supporters. I am quite prepared to discuss their concerns."

"Unlike the previous chairman, this will not be a paid role for me but entirely voluntary. But when I get involved in something I give it 100 per cent and I am completely behind the Stags."

Chief executive Haslam said: "I'm sure James is the right person. He's a successful businessman and has the credibility.

"He's a larger-than-life character, full of enthusiasm. I'm sure we will enjoy his time here and I'm sure he will too.

"He wants to communicate with the supporters and I'm sure he will do that. But things will not change overnight, it will be a gradual thing."
BBC Nottingham online, 20.01.07
Mansfield Town have a new chairman. He's James Derry who runs a building services company in Newark. Audio interview with James Derry from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed) http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/realmedia/2007/01/james_derry.ram

Derry unveiled as new Stags chairman
CHAD website, 20 January 2007

NEWARK businessman James Derry (54) was today unveiled as the new chairman of Mansfield Town Football Club.
And he immediately pledged to listen to supporters' concerns and attempt to build bridges as well as doing all he can to make Stags stay in the Football League.

Derry, who is 6ft 6ins tall and has an identical twin brother Andrew, replaces Peter Lee who resigned last week after taking the role in the summer, but then rarely being seen at the club.

"If I get involved with something then I do it 100 per cent and I will be at all the games, home and away," he said.

"It is no secret that Keith Haslam is under pressure here and supporters are not happy.

"I have seen all the 'Haslam out' banners all over this morning.

"I think it is all very sad and I hope supporters will give me the opportunity to draw a line under it.

"I know some people will ask what can I bring to the club and point out that I am not a Mansfield man.

"I am a businessman and I think a football club should be run as a business, though I appreciate there is a lot of passion involved.

"I am very keen for this club to succeed and I will be looking to bring in new sponsors as I have a lot of contacts in local business.

"But that is very difficult right now with the hate campaigns going on.

"I can understand their frustrations which always happen when a football club is not successful.

"I know they were unhappy over the sale of Richie Barker, but my friends in the North-East have told me that Barry |Conlon is a fantastic player."

He added: "I am quite prepared to meet the fans and discuss their concerns about the way the club is being run and improve the relationship.

"If fans boycott matches they are only doing the club damage. I would urge them to come back down here, support the club and see what I can do. Just give me the chance.

"Let us address all the issues, talk about their concerns and see if we can reach some compromises."

Married with two children, Derry is chairman of Derry Building Services in Newark - the 10th generation to run the business - and his father, Col Sam Derry, was a Second World War hero, immortilised in a Gregory Peck film The Scarlet and the Black and also on This is Your Life.

James Derry has grown Derry's from a £1.5m to a £45m turnover since becoming managing director and then chairman.

It is the largest mechanical and engineering firm in the Midlands.

James Derry first met Keith Haslam seven or eight years ago.

"I was introduced to Keith by Alan Meale to discuss the ground redevelopment. My company is part of Bowmer Kirkland and we built the retail park which facilitated the ground redevelopment.

"Keith just rang me out of the blue a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to be chairman.

"I was approached by Lincoln to get involved a couple of years ago, but the time wasn't right. But now I am chairman instead of managing director it frees me up a bit more time, though I am still heavily involved with my company.

"The chairman role here is part time. But it is unsalaried unlike my predecessor, which is important from the fans' point of view.

"It was very difficult for Peter Lee to get fully involved here with being based in Reading. I am only 20 minutes up the road and will be at all the games."
With all that is going on with fans' protests right now, is he a very brave man to take on this role and the flak that will come with it?

"Well you can look at it two ways and at the moment the only way for this club is up," he said.

"I am very open minded about what I am going to do here and will sit down and talk with Keith before I make any decisions.

"I am a big football fan and like to see all the Notts teams do well, as well as Lincoln. But I am here now and all I want to do is push Mansfield up the league and I hope fans will just judge me at the end of the season.

"I will not get involved in the team side of things. Billy Dearden runs the team and I know Keith has every confidence in him."

With Keith Haslam saying he is ready to sell the club, Mr Derry knows his tenure could be a short one. But he said: "I know there is a bit of uncertainty here but there is always uncertainty in everything and I won't let that cloud my judgement.

"It may or may not happen so I will just carry on doing my job as the most important thing is keeping us out of the bottom two."


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