DERRY LAUNCHES LOCAL BID TO BUY MTFC
Exclusive interview with James Derry from mansfieldtown.net. click here --> http://www.mansfieldtown.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/LatestNewsDetail/0,,10325~1081341,00.html
Stags' chairman launches 'local' bid to buy football club
By Tim Morriss, CHAD website, 30 July 2007
STAGS' chairman James Derry is fronting a consortium of local businessman bidding to buy Mansfield Town FC, it has been revealed today.
The new bid is the latest twist in the ongoing Stags' ownership saga ––
with at least four groups now vying to persuade Keith Haslam to sell the football club.
Mr Derry, currently backed by up to five businessmen from the area, told Chad: "This is a local bid and we want the people of the town and the area to get behind it."
The consortium aim to buy the Stags and rent Field Mill, with an option to buy the ground in the future.
And Mr Derry stressed that the consortium have no plans to move the club from their historic home, saying: "Of course we would consider anything, but it would have to be a massive bid to even consider moving.
"To rebuild our stadium elsewhere would cost at least £7m-£8m and I can't see anyone offering that. So we will be at Field Mill for the foreseeable future."
Now he is appealing to other local potential investors to get involved and pledge their support –– possibly investing upwards of £50,000 each.
Mr Derry explained: "Rather than putting money in a building society, we are saying to business people, put in £50,000-£100,000 to the football club as a loan and at the end of an agreed period the money would be returned with interest.
"There is not much of a risk involved –– the football club is in the black.
"We already have four or five people on board. But we want other business people from the town to be involved.
"People have said that if Keith (Haslam) was not at the football club they would get involved. Now we want to hear from them."
The Newark-based businessman, who was invited to become Stags' chairman back in January, has already had one offer to buy the club.
The offer for the club and all its land, which was made in conjunction with a third party football club, was rejected by Mr Haslam in July.
But the Stags chief executive has made it clear that he would still sell Mansfield Town FC, and then rent Field Mill to new owners.
Mr Derry, now no longer involved in handling other bids for the club, said: "I have had discussions with Keith (Haslam) and if I come up with the right deal I am hopeful he will go with it."
It is expected that a decision on new owners could be made before the end of August.
Mr Derry said: "I always said when I first came to the club that if a number of local people wanted to put in a bid, I would support it. That has now happened and I am very flattered that they want me to head the bid.
"I have put a lot of effort in since January, trying to put systems in place to get the club running in the right direction.
"People can see that positive things are happening, for instance the appointment of Tony Lormor as commercial manager this week; the stewarding situation has been sorted out. And on the pitch on Saturday we beat a Premiership team and showed real potential.
"We have a good manager and a good young squad. Billy Dearden was successful before and is the right manager. So people can see that we are heading forwards and it would be a shame to see someone else reap that benefit.
"It has also always worried me that someone without a loyalty to the club and the area would come in and take over. I want to stress to the fans that this is a local bid and I hope they will react positively to the news."
Mr Derry stressed that his consortium would not take money out of the club - and said that he believed fans and sponsors would return to Field Mill if there was a change of ownership.
"If we are successful, all monies raised would go back into the football club. We would run the club as transparently as possible, which perhaps hasn't been the case todate.
"New owners, whoever they are, would generate interest, however, they would need the fans to come back. I think they will.
"I would like to see the club being really successful, there is tremendous potential. We are debt free, there is a large catchment area. If Scunthorpe and Colchester can reach the Championship, why not Mansfield?
The chairman declined to reveal financial details of the local bid or name the other businessmen at this stage, adding: "We are not going to mention figures and help our rivals. But I can tell fans that the businessmen backing this bid are true fans who are supporters of the club. I don't want to give too much away money wise, but it is obvious that the level of rent will be crucial."
Mr Derry conceded that if successful, the consortium might have to 'write-off' the £500,000 currently owed to the football club by Stags Ltd, a company set up by Mr Haslam to purchase land at Beck Lane, Skegby, with the aim of building an academy/training ground.
The local bid faces competition from a London-based group and another unnamed local faction - while Australian businessmen, who have already had their £275,000 offer for the football club turned down, remain interested.
The Australians, surprised that their bid was handled by Mr Derry before he declared his own interest in taking control of the Stags, told Chad today: "If the club is genuinely for sale, we would still like to be part of the plans."
Mr Haslam, currently out of the country on holiday, was unavailable for comment.
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