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Archived News from June 2007

5th June 2007 20:29

05 June 2007

Following the end of another season of abject failure on and off the pitch
under the ownership of Keith Haslam, Mansfield Town supporters groups have
united together to demand changes at Field Mill. Stags Fans For Change, The
Stags Supporters Association, the committee of Ollerton Stags Supporters
Club, and TEAM Mansfield and have agreed the following joint statement:

For the second season running we were in danger of relegation to non-league
football due to a severe lack of investment, continuity and management of the
Club. If change does not take place we will, as has happened with York,
Exeter, Southport, Torquay and Oxford, fall out of the Football League. All
the signs are there and a change of ownership and direction needs to happen
now to prevent it happening.

Players like Alex John Baptiste question the ambition of the club, just as
large numbers of supporters are doing before deciding to buy their season
tickets. The club has continuously wasted excellent home-grown talent such
Liam Lawrence, Bobby Hassell, Lee Williamson and Craig Disley and looks set
to do the same with Alex. It is unacceptable to us as fans to see excellent
players leave to further their careers; Richard Barker being a case in point.

During the recent past the Club has lost the services of a Chairman, Manager,
Commercial Manager, Bar Manager, Groundsman, Press Officer, Main Club
Sponsor, Safety Officer and Ticket Office Manager. This huge staff turnover
is damaging our club and must stop.

All four groups reaffirm their desire for Mr Haslam to continue actively
seeking to sell the Club. He must continue to seek a buyer, allowing as
smooth a sale as possible. The right financial documents must be made
available and due diligence needs to be sorted without hindrance to the
process. Mr Haslam must publish a realistic price on the true value of the
Club and it must take account of James Derry stating that the Club continues
to have falling gates, has no commercial department to speak of and has lost
money this past year. Our club also appears without a main sponsor at
present - we cannot face a new season without one. Mr Derry has publicly said
the main problem at the club is the lack of trust in Mr Haslam and has taken
steps to "ring fence" funds from the him; in which case this problem should
be removed as soon as possible.

We firmly believe the situation will only get worse under Mr Haslam's
stewardship as did 88% of Stags fans surveyed by SFFC this year.

We believe that Mr Haslam has shown nothing but disregard for the paying fans
at Field Mill. The abysmal health and safety record and the recent SAG
decision on capacity threatens our ability to kick off the new season at
Field Mill. We congratulate the SAG on taking a firm stance following the
some of the clubs stewards' shocking behaviour, culminating in the ugly
scenes at the final game, which virtually repeated the end of the previous
season. Steps have to be taken to ensure this never happens again.

Following negotiations between the SSA and James Derry regarding benefits for
SSA members next season, the SSA has managed to secure for our players
excellent training facilities for the first time in many years. For far too
long we have had the ridiculous situation of our managers frantically ringing
round local schools and parks trying to find grass to train on and disputes
over training bills not being paid.

The SSA felt it had to take matters into its own hands and has agreed a deal
directly with the new training complex in which bills will be paid monthly by
the SSA to the value of £5,000 over the season. The SSA will always put our
players first and hope that this helps attract new players to our club. This
was agreed following Mr Derry's agreement of SSA members' benefits for the
new season.

Regarding Beck Lane where over £580,000 of the Club's money has apparently
been invested for over five years with nothing to show for it. We feel it
should be sold at the earliest opportunity and all the proceeds from the sale
of the land returned to the Club's new "Development Committee" where it can
be used for the betterment of the Club and its supporters. Under company law
we believe all the funds of any sale belong to MTFC (not just the initial
investment in the land) even though the land was purchased for Stags Ltd. As
shareholders in the Club TEAM Mansfield has made it clear to all supporters
groups that it will seek legal counsel to ensure this happens.

We are pleased that the club's AGM has been set for June and we hope that Mr
Haslam will take the opportunity at that meeting to prove to shareholders and
supporters that his outstanding personal loan has actually been paid back to
Mansfield Town. We expect that if the loan has been paid that the money will
be made available to the Development Committee.

This is the first time that all four groups have ever issued a joint
statement and reflects the desire amongst fans to see the Club succeed. We
need to see change at Field Mill to give the fans confidence that the Club is
going in the right direction. There's no reason why MTFC cannot match the
success enjoyed by clubs like Colchester and Scunthorpe if the Club is run in
the right way. Our club needs to be allowed to grow and develop after 14
years of Mr Haslam being in charge. We understand there are people willing to
buy our club. Mr Haslam needs to move on so that we can enjoy supporting our
team again, because as loyal paying customers we won't accept the poor
investment and shoddy treatment handed out to us.

We need openness and transparency if we are to attract back those fans that
are staying away. Without an increase in crowds we will struggle financially.
All four groups support the Club in different ways including holding shares,
sponsoring players, purchasing essential equipment for the players and
following the team up and down the country.

Our players have shown great commitment with limited resources over the
years; the fans have given some terrific, passionate support. We feel we are
constantly being let down by the Club's owner and that has to change now.

The Club has asked us to work with it to build a brighter future and we will
if the Club responds in kind. We want to hear that the Club has the same
commitment to success and will match it with deeds - the time for talking is
over. We want to see our Club rising up the leagues, we are proud to be Stags
fans and don't ever want to see our beloved club fighting a relegation battle
from what is, after all, the basement division of the Football League.


Latest | June 2007