FANS LAUNCH NEW GROUP TO BUY STAGS
Fans launch new group to buy Stags
CHAD.co.uk, 19Dec2007, by Tim Morriss
A NEW Stags supporters organisation is being created to try to buy Mansfield Town — and give the fans a say in the running of the football club.
Mansfield Town Fans Together (MTFT) plan to sell shares in their new group to finance a takeover at Field Mill, where controversial owner Keith Haslam recently rejected a £3m plus offer from the James Derry consortium.
Mr Haslam has indicated for more than a year that he wants to sell the struggling Stags — and after rejecting bids earlier this year from an Australian interest and then a group of businessmen headed by chairman Mr Derry, he recently appointed business troubleshooter Stephen Booth to stabilise and sell the club.
Now a group of lifelong fans, who wish to remain anonymous for now but are known to Chad, have set up MTFT to try to take over the Stags.
The club is reported to be on course to lose £500,000 this year and remains rock bottom of the Football League.
Yesterday a spokesman for MTFT said: "The supporters are the lifeblood of a football club.
"With fans staying away from Field Mill in large numbers and the club reportedly making weekly losses, we believe it's time the fan base came together to buy back Mansfield Town Football Club.
"Mansfield Town fans have endured much heartache recently with failed takeover bids, we assure supporters we have the very best interests of the club at heart and, as long-term supporters ourselves, want to see a successful and well supported Mansfield Town.
"We believe a supporter-owned and run Mansfield Town would give the club its best opportunity for success on and off the pitch. We want to bring back the pride into our club, hopefully we can do that with the help, support and backing of Mansfield Town fans and local businesses.
"We believe a new approach is required to secure the future of Mansfield Town. We plan to unite fans, businesses and people with local interest, to purchase the name and operating rights to Mansfield Town FC, with a secondary target being to buy back Field Mill."
Shares in MTFT, which if successful would take over the ownership of the Stags, would be sold at a £1,000 each — with fans offered the chance through a local financial institution to borrow money at a competitive rate and over an extended term.
A spokesman told Chad: "This could make the cost of buying a share as little as £20 per month."
If there is enough interest in the shares offer, the fans group would then launch takeover talks at Field Mill
Shares would be limited to a maximum of 50 per person and at this stage there is no limit or target number of shares to be issued. The spokesman added: "The aim is to raise enough to buy the club and Field Mill. Any money left over after the purchase of the club would be put to the shareholders vote, either to be spent on improving the team or put towards a fund set up to raise money to buy Field Mill."
Holding a share in MTFT, if it went on to buy Mansfield Town FC, would make the fans a shareholder in the football club and entitled to a vote at the club's AGM and in deciding the club's chairman, who would run the Stags on a day to day basis.
The board of directors at the club would include at least two shareholders from MTFT. The SSA (Stags Supporters Association) would also be invited to place a representative on the board to help ensure transparency and appeal to the broader fan base.
Major decisions such as the sale of a player might also be put to the vote of the shareholders, but the manager — working with the chairman — would be responsible for buying players; and the manager would have sole responsibility over team selection.
The MTFT spokesman added: "We would also hope to give each shareholder a discount on season tickets at Field Mill; this would depend on the financial state of the club when MTFT takes control. Other benefits for shareholders would be discussed at a future date."
Initially MTFT is asking supporters to give their feedback to the plan and to indicate whether they would be interested in buying a share in the football club. Later, a full application form will be sent to interested parties who have registered their interest in buying shares.
To register an interest go the MTFT website at http://www.mtft.co.uk and click on Feedback or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who don't have internet access, ring 07892872251
If a takeover bid is launched, all monies would then be held in a bank account controlled and monitored by a pre-announced legal firm. If the takeover fails after interest has been gained on the fans' money, this would be divided and repaid to shareholders along with their initial payment.
Message on Stagsnet messageboard by Chris Fryatt, 19Dec2007:
Yes Jamie and I (Chris Fryatt) are behind MTFT.
To be clear our aim is to guage fan, popular and business support for an attempted takeover of the club given all the inherant difficulties etc that many have talked about and some have encountered.
At this stage we are guaging support only, not asking for money, not defining precisely the process just guaging support.
Several people have already shown interest and we will continue to guage interest.
If you have genuine questions please direct them to the web site http://www.mtft.co.uk and we will attempt to answer them as openly and honestly as we can via the FAQ page.
As for consultation - no we did not but we believe that should there be sufficient interest in MTFT it may be that a united fan base with the same aim would help to provide what we all want - a successful club. We have attempted to speak to all 3 fans organisations today and will continue to do so.
Mansfield Town Fans Together
Buyout fans group thanks supporters for initial interest
THE new Stags supporters group set up to try to buy Mansfield Town Football Club has thanked fans for their initial interest in Mansfield Town Fans Together (MTFT).
Last week Chad exclusively revealed MTFT's plans to launch a possible takeover bid at Field Mill and give fans a say in the running of the troubled club.
Supporters, who would be asked to buy £1,000 shares in the group to fund a buyout, were asked last week to register an interest in MTFT's plans.
And today the new supporters group said: "Mansfield Town Fans Together would like to thank everyone who has shown interest in our plan to buy Mansfield Town via selling shares to supporters. The initial response was very encouraging with over 70 expressions of interest for shares in this scheme on its first day (Wednesday) alone!"
The group has been set up by long-standing Stags fans, father and son Chris and Jamie Fryatt, who had initially asked to remain anonymous.
They are frustrated at the year-long takeover saga at Field Mill, where controversial owner Keith Haslam recently rejected a £3m plus offer from the James Derry consortium.
Jamie works locally as the internet manager for a large company, whilst Chris owns a consultancy company. They said: "Together we have been watching the Stags for many years. Our aim throughout all of this is to ensure we can continue to watch them for many more years to come.
"MTFT will continue to canvass support and gauge feedback from supporters over the Christmas and New Year period. We are in the process of writing to local businesses and will continue to canvass for support at Mansfield Town fixtures.
"We call on any supporter who is worried about the future of Mansfield Town Football Club to visit our website and read our ideas for a supporter-based takeover of the football club.
"We believe a football club owned and run by the people who care about it most is the best way to secure the club's future. Mansfield Town is in a desperate position, bottom of the Football League, struggling financially and with supporters staying away in numbers and calling for Keith Haslam to sell the club.
"We urge our fellow supporters and supporters groups to unite, to work with MTFT and to help bring enough support to this idea to ensure Mansfield Town has a future, a future where the club is run by the people who care about it most."
MTFT is also trying to arrange a meeting between the several Stags fans groups for the beginning of the New Year - with the Stags Supporters Association, TEAM Mansfield and Stags Fans For Change invited to attend.
Shares in MTFT, which if successful would take over the ownership of the Stags, would be sold at a £1,000 each — with fans offered the chance through a local financial institution to borrow money at a competitive rate and over an extended term. A spokesman told Chad: "This could make the cost of buying a share as little as £20 per month."
If there is enough interest in the shares offer, the fans group would then launch takeover talks at Field Mill Shares would be limited to a maximum of 50 per person.
To register an interest in the plan or ask further questions of MTFT, go to its website http://www.mtft.co.uk and click Feedback.