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Archived News from October 2007

30th October 2007 10:59

29 Oct 2007

Stags takeover 'will happen', fans told
CHAD.co.uk, By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town fans have been reassured that the takeover of their football club WILL happen . . . and 'as soon as possible'.
Chairman and incoming owner James Derry told a fans' forum on Monday evening: "There is no danger of it not happening."

And to any fans concerned at the length of time the takeover is taking and the motives of the new owners, he added: "The basis of the deal has been agreed, it is just the intricacies that need sorting. We have got to make sure it is the right deal for the football club."

Mr Derry is heading a local consortium which is completing a £500,000 deal to buy the Stags from controversial owner Keith Haslam.

He attended the forum, organised by the Stags Supporters Association and TEAM Mansfield, together with two prospective associate directors John Thorpe and Ian Randall, manager Billy Dearden, captain Jake Buxton and new safety officer Les Norman.

There was a stirring message from lifelong Stags fan and successful businessman Mr Thorpe: "We can move mountains at the football club . . .and we ARE going to do it."

Mr Thorpe, who along with all of the speakers earned warmed approval from most of the 100 plus fans present, outlined his role: "I am here to look at Mansfield Town as a business off the pitch. We will shake it up off the pitch.

"We will run it with quality, passion, committment, dedication . . . we will listen to what you want and let you know what is happening. We will get this right off the pitch for our fans, our customers.

"If we get the right governance and systems in place we can make this a great place to work at and a grat place to come to as a supporter."

Mr Randall said: "There is a lot to do behind the scenes, we need facilities to be better. We want better links with the youth and community, we need to get all the family here with cheaper tickets for kids. There has been a lot of people working towards that, we should be able to move the club forward.

"We know the toilets are crap . . . the club shop is an embarassment! John and myself will be walking around the whole stadium at a match to see whatever needs doing.

"We have a big list to tackle . . . things will be better and we will sort it out. Between us all we can do it. Mansfield Town is better than Notts County and the Spireites!"

Mr Thorpe said he started his career at Lloyds TSB at Kirkby and over 25 years worked his way to national director level, before setting up a stockbroker business which he sold in August.

He added: "We have implemented already a workflow process and all issues raised (including the club shop and putting large Stags badges on the exterior of stands) are on a tactical or strategic document. The problems are listed, we know what we want to do, who has the responsibility to make it happen and by when."

As Chad revealed last week, accountants are completing the process of due diligence with the consortium now looking to buy the football club for a reported £500,000, rather than form its own company to run the Stags, with current owner Keith Haslam retaining Field Mill and associated land.

But there is still no indication of how Mr Haslam will separate the stadium - which he would lease to the consortium for 10 years with an option to buy - and how he will compensate the minority shareholders in MTFC.

Mr Derry, when asked if he was still enjoying his time at the Stags, said: "I have throughly enjoyed it. When I came in January I said I was not interested in buying the club, but this club grows on you . . . meeting the people, the way we play football - the proper way - and the way we are moving forward."

He again stressed that the consortium would need higher attendances, improved commercial activity and backing from Mansfield District Council to succeed.

He added: "The club has a trading loss of £250,000 a year, we have got to stop the bleeding and got to get the fans through the gates."

And Mr Derry also pledged that the new regime would hold more forums with the fans - and more often.

Other questions answered by Mr Derry included:

Field Mill - "I accept the stadium does need money spending on it, there are various areas that are shabby and we need to improve on. Everything takes money, but any money raised will go into the football club." He confirmed plans first revealed in Chad to hopefully terrace the Bishop Street Stand and said there were no plans to allow home fans to return to the North Stand because of the police's stance.

Moving from Field Mill - "I am open minded, but I don't foresee us moving in the next five years and then only if the local authority built us a stadium! But here we have the basis of a decent ground, I can't see the point in moving away."

Takeover and consortium - "We are still looking for people to join the consortium, for people who want to invest. For instance, we had discussions with two or three people last week, people who can see we are trying to move things forward and that things are happening. I am hopeful the takeover will be completed soon, as soon as possible, these things take time but our accountants are working through it."

Alan Meale - When Mansfield MP Alan Meale and his connection with the Stags was raised, Mr Derry stressed: "He is not part of the consortium or anything like that. He will not play any role in moving the club forward other than by being a supporter of the club."

Safety restrictions - He revealed that at a meeting with the county council's Safety Advisory Group on Monday, the authority again refused to lift or further raise the Field Mill capacity. However, once the turnstiles are fully working in the West Stand the figure would be raised in that stand to 70% - and there would be regular meetings to try to end the capping.

Stewarding - Mr Derry said that new safety officer Les Norman, who attended the forum, had been praised by SAG. Mr Norman said: "I was at the Barnet match (the last game of last season) and saw it myself. The stewarding was not good, we got rid of those who we needed to in the summer. We buy some stewarding in now, some quality, and we do things slightly differently. We are not ejecting as many fans. I ask fans to support the stewards, do as they are told and hopefully we will do the stewarding with a smile on our face.

Keith Haslam - No money will go to him once the takeover is complete (apart from rent). There are no commercial, sales or player sell-on deals linked to the current owner.

We will climb the League, Dearden tells fans
CHAD.co.uk, By Tim Morriss
STAGS manager Billy Dearden has told supporters the club can climb up the Football League.
Dearden, who correctly predicted promotion within three years during his first stint as manager of the club, told the Stags Supporters Association fans forum on Monday:

"The potential is there now, with new people taking over there may be a bit of money and we will spend it in the right direction

"And hopefully the young lads coming through will be as good as around 2000. I can't say that we will go up in three years again, but I like to think we will be there or thereabouts.

"We will improve, you can't stay at the bottom. With the help of everyone I firmly believe the club has the potential to go up, if everyone pulls together instead of in different directions.

"And I'd like to think we can keep this current run, three games unbeaten, going. We have had problems at the back this season, but we have now had the same back four for a few games and it helps.

Dearden also answered questions on:

Danny Reet - "He came back very heavy pre-season. The lad has talent and as soon as he loses weight he will be considered for the first team. At Alfreton (where he is in the second month of a three-month loan) he has got down to business and lost some weight. It is upto Danny, he knows the position, I laid it on the line pre-season. He is a likeable lad and we have not had a fall out. He knows if he loses a lot of weight he will be a better player for it. You might see him back here sooner rather than later.

Jon D'Laryea - "I would love to shove him into the 16 on Saturday. It would give him, me and the players a real boost."

Referees - I have a lot of respect for referees and don't fall out with them too often, but they haven't got a lot of marks off me this season. The referee against MK Dons was very poor and I thought the one on Saturday was poor, too. But we have a lot to learn though on our side. We can learn from Rugby league in terms of respect for referees. We have to learn to accept decisions, bite your tongue and get on with it."

Ian Holmes (signed at the start of the season from Matlock) - "He is one for the future. It is a big step from Matlock to Mansfield and he is not quite ready yet, but he is a hard worker and is learning quickly."

Contracts - When it was stated that just one player is on a contract for next season because of the policy of offering just one-year deals, the manager added: "If you include some of the younger players it is three or four players already contracted for next season. It is important from now on that the players we want to keep are sorted as quickly as possible."
Mr Derry added: "It is vitally important that we protect our assets and will be looking with Billy at drawing up a list of formulating deals as quickly as possible."

New players - "We do need a couple of players, hopefully we will get them. I know we are not playing as well as we can do. We want to try to play more football, but when you are down at the bottom players are frightened to do one or two things. I still think we have got more to offer."

Reserve team - "We were unlucky not to into the Pontins League for this season. Players need to play week in week out, but it has been difficult with so many injuries."

Match preparation - "When I came back to the club I said that matches over three hours travel away needed to be overnight stays. James Derry has agreed to that.

Captain Jake Buxton told the forum: "I am honoured to be captain of my local side. Hopefully we have turned the corner, the performances are there now and the lads have got themselves together, dug deep. It has been a team effort from all the staff and players, we have worked hard. But we have got to keep going or the last three games will mean nothing."


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