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Archived News from November 2007

DERRY SETS THURSDAY NOON DEADLINE
28th November 2007 21:11


Wed 28 Nov 2007, 7pm.
High noon in Stags takeover!
CHAD.co.uk, exclusive by Tim Morriss
THE consortium bidding to buy Mansfield Town FC issued an ultimatum to owner Keith Haslam on Wednesday night.
And the group of businessmen, headed by Stags chairman James Derry, vowed to walk away from their takeover plans if Mr Haslam does not make a decision on their final offer by tomorrow (Thursday) lunchtime.

The dramatic developments in the protracted sale saga followed an unexpected statement from Mr Haslam on Wednesday afternoon, calling for more information and 'confirmation of adequate funding to secure the future of the club' from the consortium.
Mr Haslam added: "The consortium have put nothing in writing so it's difficult to fully assess the offer. It would not be responsible of me to decide without a full understanding of the offer and, most importantly, the certainty that the club will have the financial backing to survive and prosper." - full Haslam statement

But tonight (Wednesday) Mr Derry told Chad: "Keith has asked for certain information following our meeting last Monday, when we gave him our revised and final offer.

"We are surprised it has taken Keith (Haslam) 10 days to ask for this information.

"This could have been made available at the meeting, but we have now supplied it today.

"Certain things he asked for we are not prepared to give in on, as this was our final offer.

"We have now set a deadline of 12noon Thursday for a decision, after which we will withdraw our offer.

"This cannot keep dragging on. We asked for a decision by last Friday, but Keith said he wanted time to consider our offer. Now we must know by tomorrow or we will walk away."

Earlier this evening Chad tracked down Mr Haslam to ask him to expand on his statement calling for more information from the consortium - which first agreed a takeover deal at the beginning of October, but then reduced its offer after the process of due diligence uncovered a worse financial position at Field Mill than it first thought.

He said: "I have had nothing in writing. I want to know who the members of the consortium are, who I am dealing with, and if they have the wherewithal to take the football club forward.

"I have spent £40,000 on legal and associated fees doing work on this deal, of course I am serious. But they (the consortium) haven't incurred any cost."

But Mr Derry replied: "Keith has had personal guarantees from myself and one member of the consortium, John Thorpe. That should be sufficient. Other members of the group have asked to remain anonymous and I do not see why they should not do so.

"It is nonsense to say we haven't had a financial outlay, John Thorpe turned down thousands of pounds worth of work to carry out the due diligence, for instance."

When asked if his statement was a delaying tactic to try to benefit from the Stags FA Cup run and a potential Third Round glamour tie with a Premiership club, Mr Haslam said: "We had agreed that all money coming into the club after 1st November would not be anything to do with me.

"But that was before the revised offer. Perhaps if I accept their changes then this cut-off point needs to change too.

"But it is nonsense to say I have not made a decision because of the FA Cup.

"I do want to sell, but I need to be convinced that this is the right deal and that they (the consortium) have the money to take this club forward."

Mr Haslam also said that the fans should remember they have a part to play in the club's future and that 'if they attack me, they attack Mansfield Town'.

"The people in the town must decide if they want a football club. People have got to show that they want one - fans, businesses, the council, everyone.

"If the town loses its football club it will lose its soul. If there is no League club then the town will not be on the map anymore.

"People have got to remember the state this club was in when I took over.

"All I am doing now is ensuring that it is in a position to carry on. I want the club to do well."

When asked about the money he owes the football club over the purchase of land at Skegby and the minority shareholders in MTFC, Mr Haslam added: "Skegby is part of the discussions we are having and will be dealt with.

"As for the shareholders, I would expect there to be an EGM or something like that."

And when asked what would happen if the consortium walked away or had its bid rejected, he told Chad: "There are other people I could go back to, other people still showing an interest."


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Wed 28 Nov 2007, 4.55pm.
Statement by Keith Haslam - read in full here --->
http://www.mansfieldtown.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10325~1178494,00.html

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BBC.co.uk, 28 Nov 2007
Mansfield boss probes consortium

Haslam is pondering a revised offer to buy the club
Mansfield owner Keith Haslam is determined to seek confirmation that the consortium bidding for the club has sufficient funds to secure its future.
James Derry's consortium last week made a substantially reduced offer for the purchase of the League Two side.

"We're seeking confirmation of adequate funding and also of some key terms that are yet to be clarified," Haslam said.

"The issues are important but are not extensive or complicated and I expect a written response this week."
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New Haslam statement on takeover
CHAD.co.uk, Wed 28 Nov 2007, by Deputy Editor Tim Morriss
STAGS owner Keith Haslam released a new statement on the proposed takeover of the club on Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday the consortium trying to buy the club was told that Mr Haslam would make a decision on their offer - revised downwards from a deal first agreed at the beginning of October after the process of due diligence - by Friday.

But late on Wednesday afternoon Mr Haslam released a statement calling for more information and confirmation that the would-be buyers, led by chairman James Derry, have the necessary funding.

Mr Haslam's statement reads:

"The consortium have asked for a decision on their verbal offer of last week.

"I and my advisors have been giving the matter full consideration, and have kept the consortium informed of what we need to have available to make the decision.

"We are seeking confirmation of adequate funding to secure the future of the club, and also of some key terms that are yet to be clarified.

"The consortium have put nothing in writing so it's difficult to fully assess the offer. It would not be responsible of me to decide without a full understanding of the offer and, most importantly, the certainty that the club will have the financial backing to survive and prosper.

"The consortium is now suggesting that they require a decision very soon. I have therefore asked that these outstanding matters be addressed by the consortium. The issues I have asked to be confirmed are important but are not extensive or complicated and I would expect their written response before the end of the week. If this is done I will be able to give my final decision within days."

Mr Haslam added: "We have to look at the resurgence and safeguard of the football club in order for it to move on to bigger and better things."

The statement added to the fears of fans, who have remained sceptical for several weeks that Mr Haslam would sell the club ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie at Harrogate Railway and a potential Third Round draw against a Premiership club - and a massive windfall.

Tonight (Wednesday) Chad tried to contact Mr Haslam to again put the fans' concerns to him, but were told that he was 'busy in a meeting'.

Last week Chad asked the controversial owner if he was stalling the sale negotiations because of the cup run, he replied: "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."

However, it is thought that Mr Haslam has asked for the FA Cup windfall - which has included £75,000 from the BBC which is televising Sunday's tie live on Match Of The Day - to be included in the takeover talks on the revised offer, as the cup run has come after a deal was first struck between the Derry consortium and Mr Haslam at the beginning of October.

On Wednesday evening Mr Derry, informed of the statement by Chad, said that he would not be commenting until Thursday morning.
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earlier stories:

HASLAM WILL MAKE SALE DECISION NEXT WEEK
Full Keith Haslam interview exclusively here ---->
http://www.mansfieldtown.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10325~1173389,00.html

I will make sale decision next week - Haslam
CHAD.co.uk, 22 Nov 2007, By Tim Morriss
UNDER-FIRE Stags owner Keith Haslam has promised to make a decision on selling Mansfield Town Football Club by next week.
Mr Haslam was given a deadline of Friday to respond to a final offer from James Derry's consortium as the saga over the protracted sale of the club rumbles on – with MP Alan Meale today calling the delay disturbing.

But in an exclusive interview with the club's website http://www.mansfieldtown.net, Mr Haslam said: "I am having meetings in connection with this today (Thursday) and on Friday. But I don't think I will be making a decision this side of the weekend, so it will be next week.

"I can't put a time on it, but this is moving on. I can't be moving any quicker."

Mr Haslam repeated his assurances made in an exclusive Chad interview earlier this week that he is trying to sell the Stags – but criticised the actions of some fans for encouraging supporters to boycott matches.

The Derry consortium presented its revised offer to Mr Haslam on Monday after completing the process of due diligence, which revealed financial problems the group of businessmen had previously been unware of.

Their offer has been reduced from the deal agreed in principle by Mr Derry and Mr Haslam at the beginning of October - Mansfield Town takeover - because the Football League insisted it purchase the club rather than forming a new company.

Mr Haslam told the club's press officer Mark Stevenson: "A fresh offer – a revised offer - was made on Monday (by the consortium) so no-one can expect me to turn round and accept it without considering it and making a valued judgment.

"I am aware that it is James' final offer, but it has quite significantly dropped. Enough to make me think. We did accept the first bid (in October) but this has changed since."

Mr Haslam insisted that he is actively trying to sell the club, adding: "I can assure supporters I am trying to procure the sale of the football club at the earliest convenience.

"Whether this (James Derry's) is the right deal, I can't say at the moment. But I do have several alternatives and I am having meetings on Friday to discuss them.

"People I need to speak to are not always available at the drop of a hat, so then things take time.

"I can understand the fans want an early resolution to see where the club is going. I do!

"I want to see the club move forward and prosper, but it will take a lot of work for all parties to move the club forward – business, the community, local authorities, the fans to get behind the club.

"I understand the concerns of supporters, but people can't have it all ways.

"Yes, the club is losing money. Why? Because the supporters are not coming through the turnstiles.

"Certain elements were encouraging people not to come. What has that achieved? Maybe James Derry reconsidering his offer.

"In a perverse way actions by certain people to try to force me out have kept me here longer than I wanted to stay."

Talking about the revised offer from the Derry consortium, the chief executive went on: "It is not our side that is holding this up. We have rejigged five different ways forward which have been rebuffed by James Derry.

"Really this is the first offer we have had apart from the agreed one (in October) which has now dramatically changed.

"In mind of that we are allowed some time to consider that.

"There is no reasons for James' people to be back in the club until this has reached a conclusion, yeah or nay.

"The hold-up now is that I am looking at their figures, trying to evaluate that. It takes time.

"It is a major departure from the offer agreed on 5th October.

"We felt that with James being here since January, the consortium was fully aware (of the club's financial situation), or should have been. It is being said now they were not.

"It is now down to whether our number crunching comes out the right way and if we feel it is a reasonable offer.

"The offer in October I thought we would have concluded by now, this dramatic change has put it back.

"I m looking to make the right decision. If it takes an extra day or two it is not affecting the running of the football club."


Dearden frustration at Stags takeover saga
CHAD.co.uk, 22 Nov 2007, By John Lomas
Billy Dearden today expressed his frustration as the never-ending take-over saga at Field Mill.
"If I did want to bring a player in then I wouldn't know who to go and ask. I would just have to do it," he said.

"It is very difficult at the moment but I am a professional person and we are just getting on with our football.

"But what is going on behind the scenes doesn't help us at all.

"There is no definite person to go to, though Keith Haslam is still the club owner.

"But he may not want to put money in if he is leaving and new people won't want to put money in unless they are taking over. So it makes it doubly difficult.

"Sometimes a manager needs some help and I am not getting any right now apart from my little squad and the people in the office. We are just getting by.

"We need to get a few good results together and make someone stand up and get hold of this club by the scruff of the neck.

"It is very important the take-over is sorted quickly or that we are back to square one if they pull out. Either way we need it sorted by January as we need to strengthen then – no two ways about it.

"We have just enough now to get us through and see what happens."


Stags sale delay 'disturbing' says MP
CHAD.co.uk, 22 Nov 2007, By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD MP Alan Meale has said the protracted sale of the Stags is 'disturbing . . . and worrying for the staff'.
Friday has been named as D-Day by James Derry's consortium, which is still trying to finalise a deal - first agreed six weeks ago - with Mansfield Town FC owner Keith Haslam.
On Monday the consortium of businessmen tabled their revised and final offer to the club's chief executive following weeks of lengthy negotiations - I don't want to be here says Haslam.

Mr Meale, who introduced Mr Derry to the Stags and has also been a champion of the controversial chief executive, told Chad on Thursday: "Of course I am concerned at the lack of a settlement, it is very disturbing, but what can one do?
"I helped to get James (Derry) to come in, but I have not been involved since.

"I was pleased that Keith (Haslam) decided to go with James Derry's bid and one can only hope that this is sorted soon.

"I talked to James some time ago and offered my help if he wanted it at any time.

"I also saw Keith a short time ago and said that I was pleased he was selling. I also told him I would be willing to help in any way I could, but neither of them have asked for help.

"One can only hope that they will get their financial acts together soon.

"The instability can not be good for all the staff. You must remember that there are not just footballers at the club, there are clerical staff, coaches etc. The lack of a buyout must worry them.

"But it is not for me to get involved unless asked."


Friday is D-Day for Stags buyout
CHAD.co.uk, 22 Nov 2007, By Tim Morriss
WOULD-BE Stags owner James Derry hopes to find out by the end of the week if his consortium's bid for the club has been successful.
Mr Derry told Chad on Wednesday night that he has still not heard from controversial Mansfield Town owner Keith Haslam since their meeting on Monday.

At that meeting the consortium tabled a final revised bid for the club, six weeks after a deal had been agreed between Mr Derry and Mr Haslam. The group of businessmen altered their bid to reflect the financial problems uncovered during their due diligence process.

Mr Derry told Chad: "I never said there was a 24-hour deadline, I said at the meeting on Monday that we wanted a decision in a few days. I will give Keith until Friday night to come back to me."


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.

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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.

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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 --->
http://www.thisismansfieldtown.co.uk/news/Anxious-wait-on-deci784113726.aspx

 

Latest | November 2007