DELAY IN DERRY TAKEOVER + MEET RANDALL+THORPE
Meet members of Derry's new Stags team
CHAD.co.uk, By Tim Morriss, 16 Oct 2007
Photo of Ian Randall:
TWO members of James Derry's team to run Mansfield Town Football Club – once his consortium completes its takeover – were unveiled this week.
And today Chad can exclusively reveal some of their plans for the Stags, together with the news that a major sponsorship deal is being finalised with Marston's brewery – as reported at chad.co.uk on Friday.
They hope that changes will begin as soon as the consortium's £500,000 buyout, announced earlier this month, is concluded.
Both of the new faces at Field Mill are lifelong Stags fans – Ian Randall and John Thorpe.
Mr Thorpe is a former national director with Lloyds TSB, while Mr Randall holds a senior position in a multi-national company.
Both will become associate directors once Mr Derry's takeover is completed - and Mr Thorpe, says incoming owner James Derry, has also been earmarked for the chief executive's role.
Mr Derry, who has always said that he would want a salaried chief excutive to run the club on a day-to-day basis, told Chad: "I am delighted to have both on board.
"John will bring a wealth of financial experience and I hope may have a greater role within the club long-term.
"He will initially be a consultant to look at the whole structure of the football club.
"Ian will be invaluable to us in bringing in the business community and promoting the commercial activities within the football club.
"He is a lifelong Stags fan, travels all around the country watching matches. He has shown a commitment to the club."
Both men are not part of the consortium, but Mr Derry added: "I hope to be announcing the investors soon, as I know that the fans are keen to know their identity."
Mr Randall (39), who lives near Clumber with his wife and family, spoke exclusively to Chad about his hopes and plans for the football club, which he has followed 'through thick and thin'.
He is a former Notts FA council member and is also a former secretary of both the Newark Football Alliance and the Newark Youth Football League.
Mr Randall, who has lived all his life in and around the Ollerton area, and 'followed the Stags since being a kid', said: "My main focus will be the development and broadening of the commercial and corporate side of Mansfield Town.
"Mansfield Town must be successful on the pitch and to support this they must be successful off the pitch, there are loads of opportunities for the club to work with local businesses to promote each other."
Mr Randall, who stressed that he would 'not be taking anything out of the Stags except the delight when we win games', added: "The club needs to be involved within the community more, working with the schools, promoting youth football and getting children back into football and Field Mill, as happened 20 years ago.
"Mansfield Town FC is about the only thing in Mansfield that gets national coverage in the press, week in, week out, and we need to capitalise on this.
"Mansfield Town is vital to the local economy with it employing in the region of 160 staff in various capacities.
"I must say the first business to come forward and to back the Stags after the sale was announced last week was Chad. They have made a contribution in advertising boards within the ground and MTFC are thankful for that.
"Chad is also looking at running an online shop to allow the purchase of the Stags' merchandise, which would be a great benefit and service to the fans.
"Tony Lormor, our commercial manger, is working very hard on the corporate scene and this week he has an offer on the table for a large deal with Marston's brewery, which should be signed shortly.
"There is also a potential away strip sponsor who has come forward since the news about the sale.
"Mansfield Town now needs the backing of local businesses. The Stags already have some good sponsors, and they make good use of the club's sponsors lounge where tailor-made hospitality packages are available.
"But the new team want to create more facilities at Field Mill."
Already, a survey and costings are being undertaken to make use of the large void under the main West Stand, which at present is being used as a store room.
The new team is also looking at a new club shop and various other options to move the club forward.
Mr Randall said they hope to turn the West Stand void into one or two bar/lounge areas for the supporters to use before and after matches.
He told Chad: "If Notts County can have this facility, then Mansfield Town can have better.
"We would also like to make use of the X-Bar more often and money needs to be set aside to provide better facilities as the supporters deserve better, whether it be in the X-Bar or in the stadium in general.
"This will be done in conjunction with the supporters' groups as their valid views and thoughts will be sought on this."
"There is a lot to offer at Field Mill and I can say all the roads towards making the Stags successful off the field are being reviewed and looked at presently, and once the papers have been signed, things will happen."
Mr Thorpe is also a lifelong Stags fan, who told Chad: "Mansfield Town FC runs through my blood and I am desperate to see it do well."
A former national director of banking assurance and savings at Lloyds TSB, he is currently chairman of WTX plc, a Mansfield-based electronics components business, and also a consultant for financial services companies.
Married with two children, Mr Thorpe (45) lives in Ravenshead and was born and bred in the area.
He told Chad: "My father first took me to Field Mill when I was about six, I used to stand on the terraces in the glory days of Ray Clarke, Terry Eccles and Jimmy McAffrey.
"I have been a fan ever since and attend most home matches and as many away matches as I can.
"My job has taken me all over the country, but when it has come to the choice of going to Manchester United, for instance, or coming to Field Mill, you can not help where your heart is.
"I know a lot of fans, many are friends of mine, and we are all desperate for the club to do well.
"I think the club is in a perilous state and it needs local business people and all the fans to get together to try to save our Football League status.
"Bigger clubs than us have gone out of the League and then struggled to get back.
"There is a tremendous goodwill feeling in the town when the club does well, but lately it has been run down to such an extent . . . but we should be proud we have a League club.
"Now we have all got to do what we can to help us survive. I will be investing a lot of my time with the club and I hope that everyone, all the fans and business people, will pull together and support the club.
Delay in Stags takeover
CHAD.co.uk, By Tim Morriss, 15 Oct 2007
THE sale of Mansfield Town Football Club to a local consortium headed by James Derry will not be completed before Saturday's match with Notts County.
Mr Derry had hoped to finalise his takeover - announced earlier this month - before the big derby and then launch his 'new era' on the back of a large crowd at Field Mill.
But tonight he told Chad: "It will take a lot longer for the Football League to accept a new company taking over the football club than we had envisaged.
"They would want to vet us in more detail because of recent problems at Leeds United and other clubs and do a higher level of due diligence than before.
"Our other option now is to buy the old company, Mansfield Town FC, rather than create a new company to run the football club.
"But if we go down this road there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed.
"The due dilgence involved in either option will delay the sale a little.
"But I am hopeful that we can very quickly get to a position where a deal is accepted by both sides, even if we have to wait for the final Football League 'ok' before the takeover is completed."
Meanwhile Derry told mansfieldtown.net: "One of the reasons for the delay in completing the contract is that under Football League rules there are now stringent rules in forming a new company following the problems at Leeds Utd and other clubs. The only problem with that is that there are things that need to be done in greater detail to assess the liabilities when you are taking on a football club."
Full story here --> http://www.mansfieldtown.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/LatestNewsDetail/0,,10325~1144312,00.html
Derry to meet with fans groups
CHAD.co.uk, By Tim Morriss, 15 Oct 2007
NEW Stags' owner James Derry has agreed to meet supporters' groups to listen to their views.
He will start by attending the TEAM Mansfield board meeting on Saturday.
Mr Derry told Chad that he was delighted with the support he has already received from fans since the announcement of his takeover earlier this month.
"So far the fans have been very supportive and that is very pleasing. I hope that they can see we are trying to move things forward," he added.
Mr Derry also hopes to attend the TEAM Mansfield and Stags Supporters Association (SSA) annual meetings on 29th October at the X-Bar at Field Mill. The TM meeting is at 7pm, followed by the SSA annual meeting at 7.30pm.
Also, speaking on Friday on the 103.2 phone-in, he pledged to meet a third fans' group, Stags Fans For Change.
Marston's sign Stags sponsorship deal
CHAD.co.uk, 16 Oct 2007
Mansfield Town will be able to capitalise on having a high profile sponsor like Marston's."
Stags' Commercial Manager Tony LormorBy Tim Morriss
AS revealed by Chad earlier this week, the Stags have signed a major sponsorship deal with Marston's brewery.
The two-year deal will see the Marston's logo on the players' shirts and shorts, and its beers, wines and spirits available at the ground.
"It is a huge step forward for the club," says Stags' commercial manager Tony Lormor.
"We are delighted a company as big as Marston's has got behind us.
"Mansfield Town will be able to capitalise on having a high profile sponsor like Marston's."
Marston's Beer Company marketing director Peter Jackson said: "This deal adds to our commmittment to support sport on a national and local level.
"Our association with sport is one of our key national objectives - our role as the official beer of English cricket has been crucial in raising Marston's profile in the UK and globally."
Marston's took over Wolverhampton & Dudley Brewery, who had earlier bought out Mansfield Brewery.
Meanwhile Derry told Nottingham Evening Post: "It is going to take longer than expected - I would think about a month - and that is frustrating. But I would like to reassure people that things are still going to go through and I think the fact we are already bringing new people in shows that. I don't want there to be any negativity because this hold-up is not Keith's doing. The intention originally was to form a new company but that has to get ratification from the Football League and because of the Leeds scenario that may take four months - which is too long. On the other hand if we buy the existing company they are not as concerned because they know a new owner is taking on any existing debts. But in that case we need to be thorough in checking out what we are taking on."
Full interview and story here -->
Evening Post reports that John Thorpe and Ian Randall will join a new-look board once chairman James Derry completes his takeover at Field Mill. Thorpe, 45, will look at the structure of the club and its finances while Randall, 39, has been given the task of improving the club's commercial performance.
Thorpe told Evening Post "The club is in a terrible position at the moment, probably the worst I can remember. It needs people to help it get back on its feet and we - Ian, James and myself - think we can do it. When you look back you can see the club has been making heavy losses.
Randall added: “Mansfield is a market town not really renown for much but it does has the Football League club to put it in the national spotlight and we need to retain that. We need to improve off the field by getting the corporate side of things right. Commercially we are probably running at a third of the revenue that other local clubs of a similar size are generating. But I believe I can help because there is a good population in Mansfield and plenty of people who can get behind the club.”
For full story and interviews, visit http://www.thisismansfieldtown.net
'Fans' take charge - and look to future
Evening Post, 20 Oct 2007
For full story and interviews, visit http://www.thisismansfieldtown.net
It may now take another month for James Derry's consortium to officially take control of Mansfield Town, but it appears the wheels of change are already in motion at Field Mill.
Keith Haslam may still own the club, but plans are being put in place to shake things up following his departure.
Derry's bid to take control has been held up by the process of getting the buy-out ratified by the Football League.
He wants to set up a new company to run the Stags, while the league would prefer him to use the existing one - and in doing so take on any existing debts.
Understandably, Derry and his consortium want to be 100 per cent sure what they are committing themselves to if they are to shell out a reported £500,000 between them for the Stags.
But it is a sign of their confidence that the proposed new regime is already pressing ahead with their vision for the future for Mansfield.
The first step has been for Derry to appoint two associate directors - Ian Randall and John Thorpe - to work closely with him.
Randall, 39, is a senior executive for a multi-national corporation and has been given the brief to improve the club's commercial performance. Thorpe, 45, a former regional director at Lloyds TSB will look at the structure and finances of the club.
Randall, who lives close to Clumber Park, is a long-standing friend of Derry and a former member of the Notts FA Committee.
He was also secretary of the Newark Alliance and Newark Junior Leagues during the 1980s and early 1990s.
Randall is only too pleased to be involved with the running of the club he loves - and has been using his weekends and spare time to put together a plan for the way forward.
"The number one aim is to keep the club in the Football League in the short-term and then get back up into the higher division after that," he said.
"I haven't put anything in financially, James has put together his own consortium to do that but I just wanted to help the club out.
" I have been going to watch Mansfield since I was a boy, although I can't really remember my first game.
"But I know it would be when I was a lad in the 1970s.
"I have been to some really good games in that time and the one that sticks in the memory is the Freight Rover Trophy final win at Wembley in 1987.
I want to see the good times back at the club and get us back to the level where we belong."
Randall reckons although things have not gone well for the club in recent times, there are plenty of things still going for it.
He said: "I wouldn't say the commercial side has been neglected, but there has been a lot of negativity towards Keith over the last two or three years.
"That has possibly affected the sponsorship because the sponsors are usually fans like at all clubs, apart from the really big boys.
"We just have to work hard to get those people back on side and then keep them happy."
Randall has a host of ideas he is keen to put into practice and is already working at bringing in new sponsorship along with commercial manager Tony Lormor.
"There is loads of stuff that we are already looking at," he said.
"We are talking to a phone company about sponsoring our away shirts and we have struck a separate deal with Marstons Brewery.
"We have good facilities with the executive lounge and we are looking into the costing and feasibility of making a supporters lounge and vice presidents lounge as well.
"There is a need to create more advertising space around the ground and we will be meeting with the supporters group to take things forward.
"I would like to see us develop more links with the community, especially with getting more kids down to matches.
"It is they who are the future supporters of the club and if you get them drawn in then, they will stay with the club for life.
"That's what happened to me and I'm sure a lot of other people who go to watch Mansfield."
"I can safely say we have half a dozen sponsors who will come back as soon as the club has been signed over to James and his consortium - but they won't sign until the deal has been done.
"We are now going to have a very strong team in place, including Tony Lormor, and that is going to strengthen things.
"There is the possibility we will get more staff to work with him in the future because that is what we need."
Thorpe also attended Field Mill for the first time in the 1970s when the Stags enjoyed arguably the most successful period in their history.
Mansfield-born, he now lives in Ravenshead and believes making Mansfield a more friendly and approachable club will reap dividends.
"My father took me to Mansfield to watch the Stags in the good old days of Ray Clarke, Tony Eccles and Jimmy McCaffrey and I've been going for 40 years now," said Thorpe.
"Apart from when I'm working I go to every home game and I try to get to quite a few of the away ones as well.
"The Freight Rover win was an occasion all Mansfield supporters will take with them to the grave and the trip to the Millennium Stadium for the play-off final sticks out in my mind.
"But there was also the team that got promoted four or five years ago with the likes of Liam Lawrence, Craig Disley and Chris Greenacre that played some fantastic football.
"When James appealed for support from the local business community I got in touch and sat down with him and had a few conversations and it went from there.
"The club is in a perilous state right now but we know there are things that can be done to help save the club and then take it forward.
"If you look at the commercial side of Mansfield in the last couple of years it has gone backwards while other supposedly smaller clubs are generating three or four more times as much income.
"Previously when I was at Lloyds of TSB we used to do a lot of sponsorship with the club and they were always enjoyable occasions.
"When people are good enough to support us we have to make sure they enjoy it and want to come back again."
Thorpe argues that a good dialogue with supporters - the lack of which has always been a big criticism of Haslam during his reign - is essential to the healthy wellbeing of the club.
He said: "The relationship towards the supporters group also needs a positive change of direction as well.
"It is those people who are genuinely interested in the welfare of their club and we are lucky to have people like that.
"The link between the club and their fans needs to be much stronger and we need to listen to them."
Above all, though, Thorpe wants to introduce a more professional set-up at Mansfield which he insists must stem from the newly-appointed board.
"I am going in with a blank piece of paper, but quite clearly needs quality, professional leadership from the top," he said.
"It needs, sensitive, caring, passionate and driving leadership.
"We need to make it a great place to work.
"We have a lot of good quality staff at the club and they need to know what exactly their job is and give them the support to do it correctly.
"A lot of people have left the club in the past, especially in the last 12 months, and we want to stop that happening.
"I think it can affect the players because they are the club's employees as well, so better morale would help.
"The club needs to be run properly, like any other business organisation.
"With James, Ian and myself, we have a wealth of leadership experience and we are certainly looking to make an impact sooner rather than later."
Like Derry, Thorpe is appealing for the whole community to resurrect the fortunes of Mansfield by giving the club their backing.
He said: "I think the town badly needs a Football League club and that is why we have to do everything we can to preserve out status.
"We have to stick together and try to now make this a club we can be proud of."
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