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Archived News from September 2007

SAG REDUCE CAPACITY TO 50%
22nd September 2007 10:16


Consortium closer to Stags takeover?
CHAD.co.uk, 22 Sep 2007
By Tim Morriss
BUSINESSMAN James Derry believes he has moved a step closer to taking control of Mansfield Town Football Club after a troubled week at Field Mill.
The Stags chairman and head of a local consortium is the front-runner in the race to buy the football club.

And after meeting chief executive Keith Haslam on Friday he said: "We have ironed out one or two issues and moved forward.

"We will talk again next week. I know this seems to be dragging on, but things like this take time.

"I remain hopeful that a deal can be done very soon."

Last week Chad.co.uk reported it is believed that a price for the sale of the football club has been agreed and that the two sides are trying to finalise a deal for the lease of the Field Mill stadium.

Last week Mr Derry warned that any draconian punishment by Nottinghamshire County Council's Safety Advisory Group after the ticketing problems at the Chesterfield match could lead to him walking away from takeover talks.

SAG cut the capacity at Field Mill from 70% to 50% - 4,684 fans – but said the figure would be restored back to 70%, 6,553, once it was confident the computerised monitoring of turnstiles was working properly.

However, Mr Derry told Chad.co.uk this weekend he was still very interested in buying the football club.

He added: "I am hopeful that we can quickly sort out the turnstile problem this week and get back to where we were. It is just a shame that we can not get the limit raised above 70% for the Notts County game next month.

"I am sure we could attract well over 6,000 supporters into Field Mill for that game if we didn't have restrictions in place and the possibility of it being all-ticket."

Last week Chad.co.uk revealed that Mr Derry's consortium appeared to be the front runner in the race to buy the Stags, ahead of another local group of businessmen. Australian bidders and a group from London have also shown interest in the Stags.

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BBC Radio Nottingham breakfast show, 21Sep2007, including comment by SSA's Martin Shaw here
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BBC Nottingham online:
Capacity cut again , 20 Sep 2007
Mansfield Town have had the capacity of their Field Mill Stadium reduced again. The capacity was only at two-thirds of its maximum, and it's now been cut to half. It comes after too many tickets were issued to visiting Chesterfield fans over the weekend. The capacity now stands at 4684.

Hear more about the ground problems at Field Mill from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed) http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/realmedia/2007/09/stags_capacity.ram
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Stags capacity slashed to 50%
CHAD.co.uk, 20 Sep 2007
By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town Football Club have had their ground capacity slashed again for breaching safety regulations at last Saturday's clash with Chesterfield.
The club will be allowed to utilise just 50% of the capacity at Field Mill for future matches until further notice.

That means just 4,684 fans can attend games - a figure which was imposed after stewarding problems at Field Mill last season, but then raised to 6,553 for the start of the new season.

The decision could lead to problems, and a definite loss of revenue for the Stags, if the restrictions are still in place for the derby clash with Notts County on 20th October.

Nottinghamshire County Council's Safety Advisory Group (SAG) revealed the punishment this afternoon (Thursday) after too many away fans were allowed into the all-ticket derby match five days earlier.

A spokesperson from Nottinghamshire County Council, which chairs the Safety Advisory Group, said: "We are still investigating what occurred at the recent Chesterfield match and are working with Mansfield Town to help them build on the safety improvements that are already being made.

"We have decided to reduce the capacity of the whole ground to 50% until the club can restore our confidence in the computerised turnstile monitoring system, which is currently unable to accurately determine the number of supporters coming into the ground.

"The club is also aware of problems with the turnstile system and share our concerns.

"Once this problem has been rectified, we will raise the capacity back to 70% in line with ongoing improvement measures."

Safety restrictions already imposed by SAG meant the Stags should have allocated just 1,300 tickets to away fans for the Chesterfield match.

But the club, through an administrative error, sent 1,900 tickets for sale at Chesterfield - and then allowed a further 200 supporters into the already full North Stand on the day of the match.

Chad.co.uk was the first to reveal the ticketing problems - that the Stags had sent 600 too many tickets to be sold by Chesterfield - and then that computerised turnstiles were not working.

It has still not been explained how 200 further fans got into the already full stand.

There is speculation that these Chesterfield fans bought tickets for home stands and used these to gain entry to the North Stand. It has also been suggested that the 'extra' fans were let into the away area without tickets.

The overspill meant that police - who have categorically denied early suggestions that they had ordered ticketless fans to be allowed into Field Mill - had to escort around 200 supporters into the disused Bishop Street Stand.

Police later said the match had highlighted some 'significant issues for the club and the SAG'.

Ch Insp Mark Holland, police match commander for the game, told Chad.co.uk on Monday there was 'a potentially dangerous situation in the North Stand'.

SAG - made up of representatives from the County Council, Nottinghamshire Police, Notinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Mansfield District Council and other organisations - had set the capacity at 90%, 9,368, at the start of last season.

But following trouble with stewarding at the last game of last season they reduced it to 4,684, but then raised it to 6,553 before the start of this season following the successful handling of pre-season friendlies.

Later this afternoon Mansfield Town's new safety officer, Les Norman - appointed in the summer and praised by SAG earlier this week - said: "We have made considerable progress in the last three months implementing new safety measures in all areas of the stadium.

"The turnstiles, historically have been a problem. We have worked hard in the close and early part of this season to correct the problem and I am confident we can overcome it.

"It did appear that there slightly more away supporters in the North Stand than the 1900 tickets issued. We are unsure of how this occurred and with a potential investigation, it would not be prudent of me to comment further at this stage.

"I was delighted with the behaviour of both sets of fans at the match on Saturday. I can report that there were no arrests or ejections from the ground. This was due in no small measure to the excellent policing and stewarding of the game."

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EARLIER STORY:
No decision on Stags' ticket row today
CHAD.co.uk, 19 Sep 2007
By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town FC will have to wait a little longer to see if they will be punished for Saturday's ticket problems at Field Mill.
This afternoon members of Nottinghamshire County Council's Safety Advisory Group (SAG) met with club officials over the incident.

The trouble centred around too many away fans being admitted into the North Stand for the derby - an all-ticket match.

Around 2,100 Chesterfield supporters were admitted into the away area - 200 more than the capacity for the away stand and 800 more than the limit imposed by SAG.

Now SAG have adjourned the meeting to a date to be decided, without commenting further, today, on the incident.

However, they did congratulate the Stags' new safety officer Les Norman, who was appointed in the summer, for an improvement in stewarding at the club this season.

Earlier this week chad.co.uk revealed that a computerised system monitoring the number of people being admitted into the North Stand was not working.

And we also revealed that the Stags had sent 600 too many tickets, through an administrative error, to Saltergate for Chesterfield to sell for the derby.

The overspill meant that police had to escort around 200 supporters into the disused Bishop Street Stand.

Police then said the match had highlighted some 'significant issues for the club and the SAG'.

Ch Insp Mark Holland, police match commander for the game, told Chad on Monday there was 'a potentially dangerous situation in the North Stand'.

SAG - made up of representatives from the County Council, Nottinghamshire Police, Notinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Mansfield District Council and other organisations - had set the capacity at 90%, 9,368, at the start of last season.

But following trouble with stewarding at the last game of last season they reduced it to 4,684, but then raised it to 6,553 before the start of this season following the successful handling of pre-season friendlies.

Stags chairman James Derry told chad.co.uk earlier this week that he would walk away from takeover plans if the capacity was cut further by 'draconian measures'.

Tonight he said: "I will still be meeting Keith (Haslam) as planned on Friday, but I am reluctant to go any further until we know what the repercussions will be from Saturday.

"This has created a problem for me. We might have expected a larger attendance last Saturday but for the original restrictions and if they are still in place, or even more severe, before the Notts County game then that is potentially more money lost to the football club."

 

Latest | September 2007