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Archived News from November 2007

21st November 2007 18:18

Consortium member thanks fans and business
CHAD.co.uk, 21 Nov 2007, By Tim Morriss
A MEMBER of the consortium trying to buy Mansfield Town Football Club has thanked fans and the business community for their 'magnificent support'.
John Thorpe - who would also be part of James Derry's executive management team if the consortium is successful - stressed on Wednesday that the group is as serious as ever in its attempts to take over at Field Mill.

And he told Chad that the businessmen, led by James Derry, were still waiting for an answer to their offer to buy the Stags, tabled at a meeting between the consortium and football club owner Keith Haslam on Monday.

Mr Thorpe said: "The meeting on Monday was thorough and professional. Apart from that, I am not prepared to make any other comment on the content or detail at this stage.

"What I would stress on behalf of the consortium is our sincere thanks for the magnificent support from the fans and the business community who are clearly as keen to make this happen as we are.

"The supporters group leaders, we know, are happy with the level of engagement which is important to us and we are particularly appreciative of business professionals like Andy Perry.

"I know Andy has stated that he has no interest in buying the football club, but people like him are at a premium with his experience and qualities.

"Whoever owns the football club going forward will need all of us to work together for the good of Mansfield Town and, if we do, we can make some real history that we can be proud of."

On Tuesday Chad revealed that controversial owner Keith Haslam insists he does want to sell the club - and that Mr Perry, who has had a bid rebuffed, is no longer interested in buying the Stags.

CHAD EXCLUSIVE: I don't want to be here, says Haslam
CHAD.co.uk, 20 Nov 2007, By Tim Morriss
THE protracted sale of Mansfield Town Football Club could be completed this week after talks reached a critical stage.
A possible breakthrough in the long-running saga came after a 'make or break' meeting between James Derry's consortium and Stags owner Keith Haslam on Monday.

Mr Haslam is now considering a final revised offer from the consortium, which has considerably reduced its bid and will walk away from the Stags if the negotiations are dragged out any longer.

And yesterday the controversial owner told Chad in an exclusive interview: "I am very interested in selling, clearly something has got to happen and I am sure it will at some point. It is realistic to say I would expect to make a decision on the offer this week.

"I don't want to be here (at the football club) anymore. Everyone has a time when you have to move on.

"I can't do anything about the fans' worries, but I understand them.

"I am not going to confirm anything that was said in the meeting or discuss it. A decision will be made after my advisers have considered the offer - that is where we are."

Mr Haslam also denied that he was stalling the sale negotiations to cash in on the Stags' televised FA Cup match at Harrogate - and a possible glamour Third Round tie against a Premiership side.

He said: "That is not the case. And we have agreed a cut-off period of 1st November if the deal is done, so any money coming into the club from then would not benefit me."

But Mr Haslam, when asked what would happen if he failed to agree a deal with Mr Derry's consortium, added: "There are other alternatives which I could consider, but I can't say what." He then declined to answer any further questions.

It is not clear what Mr Haslam's alternatives could be. Today Chad can reveal that fans website MyFootballClub — which last week completed a high profile buyout of non league club Ebbsfleet — did show a real interest in buying the football club.

And local businessman Andy Perry, a former bidder for the club thought to have been approached by Mr Haslam recently to see if he was still interested, yesterday denied rumours of a new bid.

He told Chad: "I am disappointed that a deal could not have been done before, but I have no interest whatsover in making an offer or buying into the club anymore. Of course, I am interested in the club as a fan and want the best for the supporters."

Worried fans fear the only real alternative at this stage would be taking the club into administration, which would bring an immediate 10-point penalty and heighten the threat of relegation from the Football League.

After the meeting in Sheffield between the consortium, Mr Haslam and his advisers, Mr Derry would only say: "The due diligence has shown up a worse situation than was first envisaged, so a revised offer has been submitted. I am still hopeful a deal can be agreed this week."

It is believed that the revised offer is far less than the original £500,000 plus £200,000 annual rent offer because of the perilous state of the club's finances.

Chad understands the consortium, as well as lowering its offer, has also refused demands from Mr Haslam to profit from future transfers and attendances.

Chad can reveal that the Stags could potentially make a loss of more than £500,000 this financial year — around double the losses of the previous two years — unless a takeover can be agreed.

And there are real fears that the club could go into administration within three months.

If the deal is not completed this week, the club will definitely miss out on the lucrative Christmas merchandise market.

On 5th October Mr Derry and Mr Haslam had 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 us trying to buy the football club, with a 10-year lease to rent Field Mill from Mr Haslam who would continue to own the stadium.

It is not clear how the minority shareholders in MTFC, including fans group TEAM Mansfield which held 3.3% of the shares, will be compensated if the football club is sold.
Fears over having to possibly repay a Football Foundation grant, donated for the transformation of Field Mill at the turn of the century, also added to the confusion recently.

20 Nov 2007
Evening Post today carries a story that James Derry expects to find out within the next 24 hours if his consortium's final offer to buy Mansfield Town has been accepted. The Evening Post understands that after the company books were examined during a process of due diligence, the club was found to be in a much worse financial position than the consortium previously thought.
To read the full story, visit --->


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