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Archived News from February 2007

DAN IS BACK AT THE MILL
3rd February 2007 20:59


Dan is back at the Mill
CHAD website, 03 February 2007

Banned football photographer Dan Westwell is being allowed back into Field Mill.

He was excluded from Mansfield Town FC's ground after an incident at the Stags' home match with Walsall two weeks ago.

But tonight new Stags' chairman James Derry, whose first game was that Walsall match, revealed that the ban had now been lifted.

He said the decision had been taken earlier in the day in a meeting with chief executive Keith Haslam.

Mr Derry said that he had been impressed with the volume of fans' support for the photographer and stressed that he was keen to 'build bridges at the dawn of a new era'.

Mr Westwell was thrown out of Field Mill for displaying a photograph on his laptop showing a protest sign 'Haslam Out'.

The sign was one of hundreds erected on roads throughout the area two weeks ago and part of an ongoing fans' campaign calling for the football club boss to sell up.

The photographer was later charged with a public order offence over an incident as he was escorted from the ground by several stewards and police officers - and is due to reappear before Mansfield magistrates later this month.

But tonight the new Stags' chairman said that Mr Westwell is welcome back at the club, regardless of the outcome of that court hearing.

Mr Derry told Chad: "It was a very unfortunate incident and neither side handled it very well.

"But I am very keen to build bridges with the fans. This is the dawn of a new era.

"I received lots of e-mails from fans telling me what a great supporter of the club Dan is and how he had been the club's official photographer for many years.

"There is no point in being vindictive . . . so Dan is welcome back at the club, regardless of the outcome of the pending court case.

"Hopefully the fans will see that I am trying to make a difference.

Mr Derry added that he was 'very pleased' there had been no protest chants against Mr Haslam during the match.

The new chairman also revealed that he hopes to make minor alterations around Field Mill after fans told him of the stadium's 'general uncleanliness'.

He also said that he was looking at the dressing room area of the ground to see if it could be improved.

However, he stressed that there were no major plans for the ground at the moment.

"People were very sceptical when I first came to the club, but all I ask is that they give me a chance.

"I wasn't a Stags fan, but I am now. You throw yourself into something and it takes over.

"We are trying to do what we can to improve the PR side of the club.

"I met with Team Mansfield today and I am going to the next Stags Supporters Association meeting next week.

"Fans have raised points with me and I will look into them.

"I am a very open guy and happy to talk to people."


Reprieved photographer thanks Stags fans
CHAD website, 03 February 2007

Delighted photographer Dan Westwell tonight thanked the Stags fans who helped to overturn his ban from Mansfield Town Football Club.

Earlier this evening new Stags chairman James Derry revealed that the freelance snapper would be welcome back at Field Mill, just a week after the football club had told him to stay away. (see separate story)

Mr Derry said: "I received lots of e-mails from fans telling me what a great supporter of the club Dan is.

"There is no point in being vindictive . . . so Dan is welcome back at the club, regardless of the outcome of the pending court case.

Mr Westwell, thrown out two weeks ago for displaying a photograph of a 'Haslam Out' road sign on his laptop - and later charged with a public order offence over an incident as left the ground - said: "It is the best news I could have wished for."

The photographer - also a fervent Stags fan - whose case was highlighted on Chad's front page as angry fans stepped up their protests against Stags' chief executive Keith Haslam, was working at Notts County FC this afternoon.

He added: "I was amazed when I heard . . . It is the best news I could have wished for."

Details of the football club's change of heart was revealed after the Stags 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury, Simon Brown earning a point after former Mansfield striker Derek Asamoah had given the visitors an early lead.

Mr Westwell added: "I sat there today at Meadow Lane as miserable as sin watching County thrash Lincoln - and getting even more depressed when a text came through saying that Asamoah had scored.

"I'd like to thank the fans for being the best in the land, apparently it was them who swayed the decision.

"The past two weeks has certainly proved to me that there are no better fans than Mansfield Town fans.

"I'd also like to thank Mr Derry for this decision and I hope the fans give him the time he has asked for to change things around at Field Mill for the better.

"If current form is anything to go by, I think things off the field are going to improve 100% now. I can't wait for the Grimsby game when I can return to my second home and do the thing I love doing most in my life - taking photographs of Mansfield Town for Mansfield Town fans."

 

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