BOOTH ON TRANSFER MONEY AND CUP RUN
Will Cup run hold transfer window key?
CHAD.co.uk, exclusive by Tim Morriss, 6 Jan 2008
MANSFIELD Town's magnificent FA Cup to the Fourth Round for the first time in 20 years has earned the Stags an unexpected cash windfall.
And new chief executive Stephen Booth today confirmed to Chad that some of the money will be spent on bringing new players to Field Mill this month.
He also dismissed fears that success in the FA Cup might delay any takeover at Field Mill and persuade controversial owner Keith Haslam - who was at the cup tie and the subject of loud protests at the Withdean Stadium - not to carry out his pledge to sell the Stags.
Victories over non league Lewes and Harrogate Railway, and now Saturday's terrific 2-1 upset at League One Brighton, have handed the League Two strugglers a £200,000 bonus so far.
They have won £16,000, £24,000 and £40,000 for victories in the first three rounds - with a £60,000 prizemoney carrot for victory in Round IV.
The Stags also earned a £75,000 payday from the BBC which screened their Second Round win at Harrogate live on BBC 1.
And they get a 45% share of the gate receipts from each tie, with their opponents also receiving 45% and the FA 10%.
But the cup success left supporters asking one question: Would any of the money be given to manager Billy Dearden to spend on new players in the transfer window?
Tonight Mr Booth answered the question, telling Chad: "A proportion of the prizemoney from the Brighton win will go to the manager towards attracting new players, but not all of it. There are also other areas at the club which need some of the money.
"At our meeting last Wednesday, Billy was given a figure that he could spend on new players.
"But we said that in the event of us being further successful in the FA Cup, that would generate some additional funds for him.
"The receipts from the attendance at Brighton has already been budgeted for, but clearly the prizemoney is additional revenue.
"Now we will have to wait and see what happens in the draw tomorrow. Obviously there is the possibility of further money from that."
Manager Billy Dearden has said that he hopes to bring in as many as three or four new faces during January as Mansfield's small squad, now depleted by injuries, faces a tough fight to avoid relegation from the Football League.
Earlier this week he told Chad: "I need players quickly and I have already spoken to one or two clubs."
Dearden's hopes of bringing in his first target on Friday were hit when a transfer designed to replace the player at his current club was delayed. But he still believes the player will be at Field Mill in time for Tuesday's League match with Wycombe Wanderers.
After the win over Brighton, the manager added: "Perhaps this result will help to encourage players to come to us as we look to strengthen the squad in the transfer window."
And chairman James Derry said on Saturday evening: "Billy is close to doing a deal for two or three players, hopefully the result will help.
"It was a fantastic performance. Hopefully we will get a big club in the draw and get some money to keep things going."
Mr Booth, appointed when owner Keith Haslam turned down a £3m plus bid for the football club at the end of November, also agrees that new players need to be brought in.
He said: "There is a need for an injection of new players. I can ssure fans that Billy does have funds available and those funds have been enhanced by the win at Brighton.
"Billy has several options and different possibilities. Now it is all about getting the right players in at the right time on the right wages."
Mr Booth added that the cup success would not make any difference to his efforts to find a buyer for Mansfield Town FC, as he also fights to stop weekly losses at the Stags which could see it lose £500,000 this year - after two successive years of heavy financial losses, too.
And he warned: "I hope that people do not think that everything is alright because we are in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. It isn't!
"It was wonderful winning at Brighton and really helps with the stablisiation of the club - one of the major tasks I am trying to carry out.
"But the club still has to be sold. Keith (Haslam) still has to leave.
"All the cup run is doing is to help stem the weekly losses from our position in the League, the low attendances and the lack of real commercial activity.
"The win at Brighton has assisted the stability of the club for now and gives Billy Dearden more money for players. But really it doesn't change anything."
When asked if he thought the cup run might delay Mr Haslam's desire to leave Field Mill, he added: "I don't think so at all. The result at Brighton changes nothing.
"The basis of any takeover is that the football club is sold with a zero debt. That won't change.
"I can only repeat what I said when I started this job last month. Keith is not in charge of the finances anymore and is taking nothing out of the club.
"Any monies that come in will go straight to the club - whether it is on new players, paying the wages, ground maintenance or whatever."
Mr Booth - also charged with finding a buyer for the Stags, as well as stabilising the day-to-day running of the club - said that the search for new owners is continuing.
Chad.co.uk exclusively revealed on Friday that there are at least three major interests in the takeover race - a link-up between local businessmen and the Australians previously rejected; a local group and another organisation.
Mr Booth added: "If anyone is able to come up with the right funds, then we are happy to talk to anyone.
"If someone wants to offer the right sum for everything - the land, the stadium and the football club - then we are willing to talk.
"Equally, if people are looking to only buy the club, then we are prepared to talk on that basis."
When asked if it was possible for two different groups to be involved in any buyout - one securing the land and stadium, and another the football club - Mr Booth told Chad.co.uk: "Anything is possible."
Mr Booth, who was also at the Withdean Stadium on Saturday, concluded: "It was a superb day. The result and the manner of victory were very, very encouraging. We deserved to win, the people from Brighton even told us that.
"But it is back to the day job on Tuesday. We need three points, we need the fans to get behind the team.
"I know that turning out on a cold, January Tuesday evening is not always appealing. I know that those fans who went to Brighton will have spent a lot of money on travelling and even overnight accommodation. And I know that we have a lot of home games coming up.
"But the players need their support on Tuesday and I hope that the supporters get right behind the team against Wycombe."
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