BOOTH OFFERS TO QUIT IN HASLAM ROW
Booth offers to quit, Derry walks out in Haslam row
CHAD.co.uk, exclusive by Tim Morriss, 13Feb08
THE Stags were left in turmoil off the pitch after remarkable incidents behind the scenes at Field Mill on Tuesday night.
Chief executive Stephen Booth offered to resign – leaving Field Mill midway through the first half - and non executive chairman James Derry also left the ground at half-time after a series of rows with owner Keith Haslam.
Mr Haslam, who had vowed never to attend another home match last year but then turned up at the Middlesbrough FA Cup game, surprised everyone at the ground by appearing during the first half of the match with Morecambe - which the Stags eventually lost 2-1, their sixth successive home reverse.
The owner, who had been celebrating his birthday at Southwell races during Tuesday afternoon, was reportedly involved in a bust-up - threatening to sack stewards - after being asked to extinguish his cigar near the boardroom.
It is the club's policy, in line with Football League regulations, that Field Mill is a no smoking area - a policy announced on the club's own website last summer.
Mr Haslam was then seen to be abusive towards Mr Derry and also be involved in a row with Mr Booth, brought in by the owner in December to run the club and find a buyer.
Mr Derry reportedly left to avoid any further confrontation with the controversial owner, who seemed to be unaware of the no smoking rule at Field Mill.
And Mr Booth, who always said he would leave the club if not allowed to fulfil his chief executive's role and run the club, later confirmed to Chad that he had offered to resign.
It is believed that his disagreement with the owner also centred around the cigar smoking incident and Mr Haslam's reaction.
Late on Tuesday evening Chad managed to contact Mr Haslam and he said he was unaware that Mr Booth had offered to resign.
When asked who was now running the club, he added: "Stephen I presume, I have not heard anything different."
And when asked why he had attended the game - after pledging not to go to Field Mill during home matches - Mr Haslam replied: "I chose to go because it is my birthday and I was in the area."
The owner, when pressed over the cigar smoking incident, said he had no further comment.
But on Wednesday Nottinghamshire County Council, whose Safety Advisory Group monitors health and safety at Field Mill, issued a statement to Chad.
Richard Hodge, service director at the County Council, said: "Our officers were at the ground last night carrying out a match inspection.
"We were aware of the smoking incident, which was dealt with promptly by the safety officers and stewards at the ground."
Stags safety officer Les Norman told Chad: "Keith (Haslam) was seen smoking and the issue was dealt with properly by the stewards.
"Our policy is clear, no smoking is allowed anywhere within the stadium.
"If we see someone smoking a cigarette, a cigar or a pipe, our stewards are briefed, before every match, to ask that person to put it out.
"If they do, they are not ejected. I don't think we have had one ejection for smoking this season."
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