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Archived News from January 2008

4th January 2008 21:52

Aussies in new Stags takeover bid
CHAD.co.uk, 4 Jan 2008, by Tim Morriss

AUSTRALIAN businessmen are back in the race to buy Mansfield Town - and Chad can reveal that at least three different parties are considering new bids for the football club.

Sydney-based Steve Dolheguy and Gary Wall have teamed up with a group of local businessmen currently bidding for the Stags to create a joint venture.

The new partners have been in deep discussion over a takeover bid throughout the Christmas period.

Now the Australians hope to fly to England early in the New Year for further talks with the group as they try to put together a new takeover package for the Stags.

The Australians were originally rebuffed in their initial efforts to buy the club in the summer after winning major support from the fans.

But they have always kept in contact with the takeover saga at Field Mill. They remained interested in concluding a deal before the James Derry consortium seemed to have clinched a buyout - and now they have made contact with a group of local businessmen to try to form this new joint venture.

However, they face competition from a rival Mansfield-based bid - known to Chad and whose members have asked to remain anonymous for now - which has emerged over recent days and is believed to have already tabled an offer. There has also been a tentative enquiry from a third local organisation, while rumours persist of another interest from outside the area.

The sale of the Stags is being handled by new chief executive Stephen Booth, appointed when owner Keith Haslam rejected a £3m-plus offer from the James Derry consortium late last year.

Mr Derry has remained at Field Mill as chairman and made it clear that he still hopes to gain control at the Stags in the future while working with Mr Booth to secure the troubled club's future.

Mr Booth, brought in to stablilise the day-to-day running of the Stags and find a buyer, declined to comment other than to tell Chad: "Discussions are taking place. It is vitally important that we end up with a situation that is best not only for Mansfield Town Football Club, but also for Mansfield itself."

The Australians' plans for the Stags in the summer included creating a strong football academy, re-invigorating the marketing side of the business and, aside from wages, taking no money out of the club for three years.

At the time Mr Dolheguy, whose bid won major backing from supporters on chad.co.uk - Aussie bidders want your views - told Chad: "This was an opportunity to develop a club into something more than it may currently be."

When Mr Haslam, who insists that he wants to sell the Stags and will not return to the club, rejected the Derry consortium offer he then installed Mr Booth as chief executive - ending his day-to-day involvement at Field Mill.

Mr Booth has said recently that one of his major roles is to find a buyer quickly and that the door was open to any 'serious offers - offers that can prove they have the funds to buy and inject working capital into the club'.


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