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Archived News from August 2007

7th August 2007 20:31

Audio from BBC Radio Nottingham breakfast show, Tuesday 7 August 2007: interviews with Graham Parker from Stags Fans For Change, and MTFC chairman James Derry. click here

full interview with Graham Parker (SFFC) now here

Consortium to put in Stags' bid this week?
By Tim Morriss
CHAD website, 04 Aug 2007
THE local consortium headed by Stags' chairman James Derry hopes to put in a bid for Mansfield Town Football Club by the end of next week.
And today Mr Derry also revealed that the group could be joined by a 'well respected, credible local businessman'.

The man, Mansfield born and a lifelong Stags' fan, came forward after hearing of Mr Derry's appeal last week urging more local businessmen to back the consortium.

The consortium, headed by the Stags' chairman, is one of four interested parties hoping to persuade Mansfield Town FC chief executive Keith Haslam to sell the football club.

Mr Haslam returns from holiday on Sunday and, aside from the rejected Australian bid, already has one offer from a London-based group to consider for the club - with two more expected to be made very soon, including the local consortium.

Mr Derry told chad.co.uk: "I will be meeting with Keith on Monday. This is a critical week and by the end of it we will know a lot more.

"It would be nice for there to be preferred new owners by the start of the season. It is still possible, but let's just wait and see.

"I had a very useful, fruitful meeting with the local businessman on Friday. He is very keen to join us.

"He is a true Mansfield lad, born in the town and a lifelong fan. He is a very creditable businessman.

"I have had a lot of support this week from people saying they want this local bid to be successful."

As revealed by Chad last week, the partners in the consortium have asked to remain anonymous while the bid is being put together. But other businessmen are still being urged to come forward.

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 – if we are successful in taking over the club - and at the end of an agreed period the money would be returned with interest.

Mr Derry also lashed out at the Australian businessmen whose £275,000 offer for the club over three years was rejected in June.

Last week the duo, Steve Dolheguy and Gary Wall, told Chad exclusively how they believed the chairman has been morally wrong to handle their bid on behalf of the football club – and then put together his own offer a few weeks later.

The Australians, who remain interested in purchasing the club, also claimed that the local consortium's proposed offer was similar to their own.

But today Mr Derry told chad.co.uk: "The two bids are not similar at all, it is ludicrous to suggest that. This is not the same bid at all.

"In fact, we haven't actually made a bid yet anyway, we are just considering one. But our offer will not be the same as the Australians'. It is misinformation to suggest otherwise."

"Their bid was for £275,000 over three years. At the time I told them that was miles below the valuation and when they declined to increase their offer I said there was no point in them coming over to England.

"At that time their bid was dead. The consortium which I am heading has come along weeks later."

'Very interested' parties want to buy Stags
CHAD website, 01 Aug 2007
By Tim Morriss
THE man handling bids for Mansfield Town FC, Mike Howarth, spoke publically for the first time this week, confirming that there are other groups considering making a move.
Mr Howarth, appointed by chief executive Keith Haslam, said: "There are two other very interested parties, apart from Mr Derry's consortium.

"That does not include the Australian bid. I have had no direct contact with them, but obviously we would listen to any serious offer.

"It would appear to make sense that a new owner should take control at the beginning of the season, if this is possible. Mr Haslam is quite prepared to sell the football club."

Mr Howarth declined to name a price that Mr Haslam is looking for, but added: "Mansfield Town FC is solvent, which would need to be reflected in any offer."

Mr Haslam is currently out of the country on holiday.

We still want to buy Stags - Aussie businessmen
CHAD website, 01 Aug 2007
By Tim Morriss
AUSTRALIAN businessmen rebuffed in their bid to buy the Stags exclusively told Chad today that they have still not given up hope of clinching a deal for Mansfield Town FC.
The partners, named for the first time today, have received no reply from Field Mill to their 'what does it take to get a deal done' message.

Surprised that their bid was handled by James Derry before he declared his own interest in taking control of the Stags, the businessmen told Chad yesterday: "If the club is genuinely for sale, we would still like to be part of the plans.

"Mr Derry's offer looks very similar in structure to our's and it is our belief that his conduct has been morally and ethically wrong."

Now, after the total silence from Field Mill to their questions in recent weeks, the businessmen think any deal with Keith Haslam 'is dead' - but they want the fans to know that their interest in the club was, and remains, 'very serious'.

Sydney-based businessmen Steve Dolheguy and Gary Wall, who have a background ranging from logistics to engineering, initially made contact with the Stags towards the end of last season.

They put together a structured bid, to run over three years, which was first revealed in Chad in June and would have given Mr Haslam a minimum of £275,000. It included creating a strong football academy, re-invigorating the marketing side of the business and, aside from wages, taking no money out of the club for three years.

Mr Dolheguy told Chad yesterday: "It is important that the fans know that at no time were we offered the opportunity to buy any land - be it at Field Mill or Skegby. The bid price was just for the football club."

Their initial bid was welcomed by Stags' chairman James Derry - nominated by Mr Haslam along with Mr Mike Howarth to deal with the interest from Australia. He said at the time: 'It was a complicated, well thought out offer, but miles below our valuation. We have suggested they come to see us or send a representative'.

Mr Derry then agreed to meet the duo in England and they arranged to travel to Mansfield at the end of June. But a few days before their flight, the Stags' chairman told them not to travel because he had received a better offer and the Australians were now the 'underbidder'.

Since then Mr Derry has declined to talk further to the interest from overseas. Mr Dolheguy added: "We asked the club several weeks ago what it would take to get a deal done, but received no reply.

"Now we can only assume that our bid, unfortunately, is dead. It is a disappointing outcome, but we are not convinced that the club is genuinely for sale.

"Expectations from the owners to receive a large sum are high, but the commercial reality is that from what we have been able to see up to this date, the club is not a financial success. To ask for substantially higher sums than our bid without giving up the land is a pipe dream.

"We felt that we would add value in many areas, not just financial, but it appears our plans do not match the current agenda at Field Mill - which we believe is not in line with the actual commercial value of the team.

"However, we would like to wish all at Field Mill the best for the upcoming season and we would also like to be part of the plans if the club is ever genuinely for sale."

Mr Dolheguy, who insisted that the businessmen have no previous connection with Mansfield, also revealed his frustration at the negotiations and why they wanted to buy the club.

He said: "As a group we have been involved in many acquisitions, but have found this one to be unstructured in general.

"We saw Mansfield as an opportunity, with a current infrastructure that could be valued added. We saw potential in developing the club from the ground upwards, investing heavily in a junior academy based on some of the finest in the world.

"We have no connection to Mansfield. MTFC represented an opportunity to develop a club into something more than it may currently be.

"We would like it to be clear that we were very serious and still are, but do not believe in hindsight that this club was ever for sale."

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.

from 11July2007
BBC Nottingham online
Take-over and stadium capacity (updated 08.38, 11/07/07)
It's looking less and less likely that Mansfield Town will have new owners for the start of the season. Chairman James Derry has been speaking to the BBC Radio Nottingham Breakfast show. Previously he'd told us that a take-over at Field Mill was imminent, but he says it's all dragging on a bit.

Listen to the interview with James Derry >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

Mansfield Town should be able to stay at Field Mill next season after all. You may remember the Stags were forced to cut the stadium's capacity by half. It was after Nottinghamshire County Council raised concerns about safety.


Latest | August 2007