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Archived News from November 2007

TAKEOVER LATEST
16th November 2007 13:30


Stags takeover may be concluded next week
CHAD.co.uk, 16 Nov 2007, By Tim Morriss
THE takeover at Mansfield Town Football Club could be finished within seven days.
That was incoming owner James Derry's hope on Friday as negotiations continued between his consortium and Stags owner Keith Haslam.

His comments came after supporters group Stags Fans For Change called for news on the delay in the takeover by Mr Derry's consortium.

Mr Derry told Chad on Friday: "I would hope that negotiations would be concluded within the next seven days."

Mr Haslam and the consortium are meeting again on Monday to try to finalise the deal.

Mr Derry added: "I have always stressed, and do so again, that this is a complicated deal, there are all sorts of issues to be addressed - such as the Football Foundation grant.

"We just can not rush into things without looking into detail at everything."

On 5th October Mr Derry and Mr Haslam announced that they had agreed a deal for the club to change hands.

But problems then followed as the Football League insisted that the takeover plans be altered.

Mr Derry's consortium had wanted to form its own company and just take over the trading rights for the football club - leaving Mr Haslam to retain Field Mill and any associated land. However, now the consortium is trying to buy the football club, with a 10-year lease to rent Field Mill from Mr Haslam. Ownership of the stadium would be transferred to Mr Haslam from the football club.


Fans group calls for takeover statement
CHAD.co.uk, 16 Nov 2007, By Tim Morriss
CONCERNED Mansfield Town fans have called for news on the delay to the football club takeover to be made public.
Pressure group Stags Fans For Change (SFFC) said on Friday that supporters were worried the continuing uncertainty would affect manager Billy Dearden's plans.

The group, which led a high profile campaign to remove Stags owner Keith Haslam, said: "Already this season bigger clubs have been sold and new owners installed since the announcement was made regarding the sale of Mansfield Town to the James Derry consortium.

"The fans who are the lifeblood of this club deserve to be told the whole truth.

"The optimism with which the original announcement was met, the furthering of that optimism by the introduction of real fans as executive directors is undermined by this ongoing saga.

"We call on James Derry to tell the fans what the expected timescale is and to explain fully and transparently the exact details of the delay."

On 5th October Mr Derry and Mr Haslam announced that they had agreed a deal for the club to change hands.

But problems then followed as the Football League insisted that the takeover plans be altered.

Mr Derry's consortium had wanted to form its own company and just take over the trading rights for the football club - leaving Mr Haslam to retain Field Mill and any associated land. However, now the consortium is trying to buy the football club, with a 10-year lease to rent Field Mill from Mr Haslam. Ownership of the stadium would be transferred to Mr Haslam from the football club.

Mr Derry and his consortium have again been meeting talking to Mr Haslam this week and Chad also revealed that the takeover was further complicated by worries over a grant given to the club to redevelop Field Mill.

The full SFFC statement reads:

"It is obvious from comments in the stands, on the various message boards and when discussing the Stags in any situation, that fans are growing more and more concerned by the delay in the purchase of Mansfield Town Football Club.

"As a fans organisation the SFFC welcomed the announcement of a takeover, reflecting the mood of the fans. As a fans organisation we now feel it is appropriate to speak up for the concerns those same fans are now expressing.

"Mr Derry said in August that he hoped the deal was only a week away. It is now 16th November and we still have no idea when this deal will be concluded, indeed many are beginning to believe it never will be.

"We are approaching the January transfer window, it was at this time last year that rumours of the sale of Richard Barker began to circulate. Though initially denied this became a reality just weeks later.

"We have a number of players on one-year contracts, with no clear indication of when there will be a regime change at Mansfield Town Football Club, will some of those players begin to think about their own futures rather than that of the club we all support?

"We cannot in our position afford to lose our most experienced and higher quality players to clubs with a more assured future. Clubs in all likelihood we will be playing in the second half of the season.

"We have seen again this week a long list of players reporting to the treament room, how can we expect to add to a depleted squad with the uncertainty surrounding our club?

"We hoped to see activity on the recruitment front before now, loan players with a view to purchase in the January window. The lack of clarity of the ownership of Mansfield Town is not going to encourage players to come here. Billy Dearden will have his hands tied financially until a new oner is in place.

"Promises made to Billy about funds, eg from the Coke transfer, presumably now cannot happen. We would assume the same will apply to the extra income from FA Cup games and TV fees. Fans are highly suspicious of the destination of what will be substantial sums of money from this cup run.

"The optimism with which the original announcement was met, the furthering of that optimism by the introduction of real fans as executive directors, both on the field and off, it is undermined by this ongoing saga.

"We call on James Derry to tell the fans what the expected timescale is and to explain fully and transparently the exact details of the delay. It is no longer sufficient to say "It's with the lawyers" or "When the Football League have finished with their enquiries".

"Already this season bigger clubs have been sold and new owners installed since the announcement was made regarding the sale of Mansfield Town Football Club to the James Derry consortium. The fans who are the lifeblood of this club deserve to be told the whole truth."


Stags takeover consortium aware of grants worries
CHAD.co.uk, 15 Nov 2007, By Tim Morriss
A FOOTBALL grants body has added to the confusion surrounding the takeover of Mansfield Town FC.
The Football Foundation gave the club £1.5m through its Football Stadium Improvement Fund (FSIF)to help develop Field Mill in 2001 and has the power to demand repayment.

But fears that any intervention by the funding organisation to claw back its grant could affect the sale of the club appear unfounded.

Talks over the protracted sale of the Stags are continuing this week with further meetings between owner Keith Haslam and James Derry's consortium. A spokesman for the consortium said they hoped to have news for the fans on the progress of the buyout - the consortium is aiming to buy Mansfield Town FC (which would no longer own the ground) and lease Field Mill from landlord Mr Haslam - very soon.

Today the consortium said it was aware of the situation with the FSIF and that it did not believe it was an issue in the takeover talks.

Mr Haslam was pictured in Chad in 2001 receiving a cheque for £1,550,000 from the Football Foundation towards the redevelopment of Field Mill, which saw the North, South and West stands rebuilt..

However, a clause in the agreement says that the funding body can seek repayment of all or part of the grant under certain conditions over the following 10 years.

This includes Clause 24 of the agreement:

If a grant funded facility is sold, or transferred or leased or otherwise disposed of, or its ownership changes, or control passes from the Club to a third party, or the grant aided facility ceases to be used for the purpose for which grant was given, the FSIF reserves the contractual right to demand repayment of the grant or (at the FSIF's discretion) a proportion of the market value, whichever is the greater.

So if the grant-funded facility (Field Mill) is taken out of the football club and leased by Mr Haslam - as proposed in the takeover - this would appear to be in a breach of the grant. It is thought that Mr Haslam would be liable, and not the football club's new owners, if any penalty was imposed.

A spokesman for the FSIF told Chad last week: "This matter is on our radar as we have our ears to the ground, but there is no definitive ruling to be applied.

"Each case is taken on its merits of what is best for the football club, the community and the FSIF. If the sale goes ahead we would be looking into whether we need to take any action."

However, no precedent has been set and there are no reports of the FSIF taking any action to recover grants in similiar situations.

A spokesman for James Derry's consortium said: "We have been in contact with the FSIF. We are fully aware of this and have also discussed it with Mr Haslam's representatives and supporters groups."

 

Latest | November 2007