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Archived News from April 2008

TAKEOVER LATEST: HASLAM AT GAME, BOOTH INTERVIEW
7th April 2008 23:06


1 Apr 2008
audio interview with Stephen Booth from Radio Nottingham, here

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Batchelor Stags bid only one on table says Haslam on controversial return to Mill
Owner says he would close club if no buyout and fans do not return
CHAD.co.uk, 2 Apr 2008, exclusive by Tim Morriss

CONTROVERSIAL Stags owner Keith Haslam was surprisingly back at Field Mill for a home match on Tuesday night for the first time in two months – breaking his self-imposed ban on attending home matches to come out fighting, throwing more confusion over the future of the club.
His return was revealed by Chad.co.uk on Tuesday evening after he broke his silence on the current takeover furore to talk to Chad.

He warned over stayaway fans and the failure of bidders to secure a takeover at Mansfield Town, saying: "This is all about survival. If fans don't want a club – and they don't seem to want one by not coming to matches – and no-one wants to buy it, then I will close the club down.

"I can't do anymore. I have said I will sell, I have said I will not come to matches, but we are just not getting anywhere."

Full story at CHAD website here

Haslam insisted that the only bid his advisers were considering was from the colourful John Batchelor, although Stags chief executive Stephen Booth replied that there was yet to be an official offer from the former York City owner.

But Haslam did leave the way open for a possible future deal with Mansfield District Council over the stadium – as suggested by Chad this week.

He told Chad in an exclusive interview: "At the moment John Batchelor is the only game in town. James Derry's three bids have all fallen away at the 11th hour when backers reneged and I was ready to sign – and that saddened me.

"So what do people expect me to do now though? I have said I want to see £0.5m working capital and the club is available for £1, plus the rent – as it was 15 years ago.

"The great and the good of Mansfield had a chance to buy the club then, but didn't. Now where are they, these local businessmen who say they have the good of the club at heart?

"Everyone says they can run the club better than me. Well, where are you? If you can run it so much better, then your money will not be at risk surely?

"I am just waiting to see if John Batchelor can prove absolutely that his funds are liquid. No-one else is coming up with the money at the moment, apart from him.

"I understand why people say they don't want John Batchelor because of his background and past – but where is the alternative? If he is the only option then I will continue to talk to him.

"The rest of the people supposed to be interested have all gone very quiet and I don't hear from them.

"Mansfield District Council? Perhaps there could be a partnership there. If Tony (Egginton, the new club chairman and town mayor) can come up with a way forward, then I will listen. I have not closed the door on anyone."

Haslam also blasted fans group for their protests against him and lack of support for takeover bids.

And he told supporters that he was now back at the club because 'I want to support the club, I own most of the club and tonight and the rest of the season are very important. It is all about League survival and the players'.

The owner added: "I don't hear from the supporters groups, TEAM Mansfield and the SSA, wanting to help.

"So I have no alternative but to come back. These fans groups are leading people on, but they don't represent the majority.

"Haslam Out protests and campaigns, what have they achieved? It has taken it out on the players and they have been brave enough to come forward and say it has affected the team. I am not having a go at the individual fans, but the supporters groups.

"What have the supporters groups done? They have assisted in the destruction of Mansfield Town. It is shameful. I have no time for them.

"What has it all achieved? I have stayed away as they and others have asked, I have allowed others to run my club, but no more fans are coming through the turnstiles, the protests and campaign against me has continued and we are at the bottom of the table. It can't be a coincidence that this is now the worst run at home ever.

"The fans groups have just created a hostile environment. It is all political and has not helped the team."

"I may well be back now for all home matches. I can't stay away for ever. I am the longest standing owner in the Football League, 5 Live radio cited us as one of the two best run clubs in the League.

Haslam had pledged not to come to anymore home matches after the row over smoking a cigar at the match against Morecambe in February – when he again broke a self-imposed match ban. That led to a walkout by the then chairman James Derry and Stephen Booth.

Booth, who returned only on the understanding that the owner would stay away, said last night: "I am as surprised as anyone by this. But walking away now will achieve nothing. We need to keep the focus on the pitch and staying in the Football League. I am caught between a rock and a hard place."

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Keith Haslam back watching the Stags . . . despite promise never to return
CHAD.co.uk, 1 Apr 2008, exclusive by Tim Morriss

CONTROVERSIAL Mansfield Town owner Keith Haslam was back watching the Stags on Tuesday night - two months after promising never to go to Field Mill on matchdays.
Haslam made a surprise appearance at the club for the match against relegation rivals Wrexham.

For the third time, he has broken a pledge not to attend Stags home games - and this time he says he could be back for good.

Haslam told Chad in an exclusive interview just before kick-off: "What has it achieved me staying away? There are no more fans through the turnstile, we are at the bottom of the table."

Full story at CHAD website here

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Could Mansfield District Council help a takeover at the Stags?
CHAD.co.uk, 1 Apr 2008, by Tim Morriss
THE Derry consortium's bid for Mansfield Town finally collapsed on Thursday, as Chad's exclusive back page report last week suggested . . . James Derry has now resigned as chairman . . . mayor Tony Egginton has replaced him . . . and unconventional businessman John Batchelor says he has submitted a solo £5m bid to buy both the club and Field Mill.
Another whirlwind week off the pitch at the Stags has left the protracted takeover of the club shrouded in even more confusion than before.

But the shock appointment of the mayor has left some fans hoping that this is the start of Mansfield District Council eventually owning Field Mill — and effectively securing the future of Mansfield Town Football Club.

The mayor admitted to Chad he has been involved in some of the takeover discussions at the club over the past few months, trying to persuade controversial owner Keith Haslam to complete the sale he insists he wants.

And when asked if the council could one day become the landlords of the football club, he said: "It is fair to say there has been intervention at others clubs with local authorities owning the grounds.

"Who is to say that it is not going to happen here?

Full story at CHAD website here

"I have been involved in trying to bring in a credible new owner and I will try to get to grips with this for the benefit of the town.

"Keith (Haslam) has to be realistic. We must broker a deal and secure the future of the club."

It is known that the council wants to see areas close to Field Mill developed further as it tries to expand leisure facilities in that area of the town - but it would not want to buy the football club.

The mayor added: "Maybe I can oversee a takeover deal that goes through in the best interests of the club, the fans and the town.

"It is important the new owners have the club and the fans at heart.

"I will NOT be chairman of Harchester United, you can be assured of that."

That comment was in reference to John Batchelor's controversial idea to change the Stags' name to a fictional TV team from Sky soap opera Dream Team - if his reported £5m bid is accepted.

And this week fans, worried by the Harchester reports, also reminded chief executive Stephen Booth of his recent comments that any new owner 'would have to be right for Mansfield Town and secure the long-term future of the club'

Mr Booth, brought to the club to broker a sale, said on Friday evening: "There has been a great deal of media speculation regarding John Batchelor. I can say that he has met with myself and Keith Haslam. However, no formal agreement has yet been reached. No further comment will be made until there are any significant developments."

Mr Booth declined to comment further when approached by Chad this week, but Chad understands that the chief executive has had tentative talks over recent days with other businessmen interested in buying the club and ground.

Mr Batchelor - who says he can transform the club's losses into a profit 'through previously unexplored commercial opportunities in football' - still wants a quick sale to give him a chance to affect the team's relegation battle.

He seemed to be in poll position when the Derry consortium deal collapased exactly a week after the club's chief executive announced it was 'effectively in control'.

But after another dramatic week at Mansfield Town Football Club, the long-term future of the club seems no clearer.

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Derry the fan pays to watch Stags victory
CHAD.co.uk, 1 Apr 2008, by Tim Morriss

WHAT a difference a week makes in the life of a football club chairman!
A week ago James Derry joined the directors of Bury at Gigg Lane to watch the Stags from the comfort of the executive area.

But on Tuesday night he had to pay to get into Field Mill to see the Stags finally win a home match for the first time since Boxing Day.

Sandwiched in between, of course, was his resignation from Mansfield Town after four failed bids to buy the football club left his position 'untenable'.

Full story at CHAD website here

He had been asked by the club not to go to the Wrexham match and was not invited intothe boardroom - or to be a guest at the match.

But Derry has always maintained that he is now a Stags fan - after nearly 15 months as chairman - and told Chad: "I am a Mansfield supporter and this club has got to stay up. I care what happens to this club.

"But all that matters at the moment is what happens on the pitch."

In a bizarre night off the field, his 'place' in the directors' area was taken by both his replacement as non executive chairman, mayor Tony Egginton, and owner Keith Haslam - who controversially broke his self-imposed ban to watch a home match for the first time for two months.

Mr Haslam, speaking for the first time about the failure of the Derry consortium to complete on what Mr Booth called 'an agreed deal', told Chad:"James Derry's three bids have all fallen away at the 11th hour when backers reneged and I was ready to sign – and that saddened me."

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I was wrong to make Stags takeover statement at fans forum, admits Booth
CHAD.co.uk, 1 Apr 2008, by Tim Morriss

THE takeover announcement at the SSA fans forum on Thursday 20th March that the Derry consortium was in control of the Stags has added to the confusion surrounding the sale of the club.
This week chief executive Stephen Booth, who told the forum 'James' consortium is effectively in control' after previously saying he would not make any announcements until a deal was agreed, admitted his statement had been a mistake.

He Chad: "I hold my hands up. I made the statement having had discussions with James (Derry) that afternoon." He declined to comment any further.

Full story at CHAD website here

Consortium head Derry — whose bid it is believed is still on the table if Haslam wants to negotiate on the rent — said: "On that Thursday afternoon Stephen put a deal to me. It was a new deal. I said it looked workable, but Keith (Haslam) would not commit to it until his lawyers looked at it.

"So for Stephen to say what he did at a forum was a surprise to me. I said at the time that nothing with Keith is ever done until the paperwork has been signed. After the weekend, we looked at it again and if we were to be in the Conference, it plainly is not workable."

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Stags fans could buy shares in, own and run Mansfield Town for £625,000 - if I take over first, says Batchelor
But he would have to remain chairman for three years and run commercial operation
CHAD.co.uk, 2 Apr 2008, exclusive by Tim Morriss

WOULD-BE Stags owner John Batchleor has unveiled plans to give fans the chance to buy Mansfield Town for £625,000 . . . and then run their football club as either directors and/or shareholders - if he first takes over at Field Mill.
Batchelor – blasted last week by supporters for his idea to rebrand Mansfield Town as fictional TV team Harchester United – says this would enable them to stop his renaming plan.

He told Chad: "This is a win, win, win situation. The fans get to own their club, Keith Haslam would be gone and I would gain a commercial advantage."

Full story at CHAD website here

And he threw down a challenge to the supporters and the town, saying: "So now it's over to the people of Mansfield, how much do you want a professional club that YOU own?

But the possible future owner stressed that this is a business idea and not a supporters trust scheme.

In effect, he would be brokering a deal for the fans to buy Mansfield Town FC - which he would first acquire for a £500,001 investment - for £625,000.

Of the £125,000 profit for the football club, he would earn a commission of 25% (£31,000) should the club be in profit at the end of its first year under the fans ownership.

Batchelor, said to be the only bidder on the table by Stags owner Haslam, aims to acquire the club for £1 early next week.

He will also have to invest £500,000 cash (working capital required by Keith Haslam) – after showing interest in several clubs recently, including Accrington Stanley, Rotherham and Macclesfield.

He would then offer a strictly limited number of shares, probably 2,500, for a 100% ownership of the club (a limited company) at £250 each. And says: "If the fans want to own it all, that's fine. I won't even have one. I just want to be chairman for at least three years, that is all, and obviously take my already stated 25% from the profits.

"There is a risk for me . . . the fans may not take up all the shares and I would not recoup my investment. But I am confident they will want a part of this and I am confident I can bring money into this club and get it making a profit."

Buying a share – and fans could purchase as many as they want – would also give them the opportunity to become a director, says Mr Batchelor.

He said: "Shareholders would not have to become a director, but why wouldn't they want to be a real director of a club.

"With each share certificate issued would be a 288a form to fill in (registration of a director) if you wish to be a director. With that come risks and responsibilities and anyone wishing to be a director should take separate legal advice.

"The reasoning behind this is that the people of Mansfield, including the 300 who have already called me, want two things, first that Mr Haslam sells the club, and secondly that we DON'T change the name to Harchester. I can guarantee one and hopefully arrange the other i.e. We will remain as Mansfield Town FC.

"Anyone doing the maths on this deal will realise that if all shares are purchased, then it produces a profit for me. As I have said previously, on any commercial deal I would keep 25% and put the rest into the club. I will take no salary, so I have an incentive to make it work for all of us."

Of the £625,000 made from selling 2,500 shares at £250 each, £0.5m would repay Batchelor's buyout deal and he would then take £25% of the £125,000 'profit' at the end of the first year.

Batchelor added: "This gives interested fans ownership, but also responsibility. This is NOT a Supporters Trust, this is a business, where anyone prepared to get involved has to understand that, they have responsibilities, (unlike trusts where individuals just shout their mouths off but risk nothing). Although should individuals choose to act only as shareholders, should they choose not to become directors, the only risk is the value of their shares, which would attract a dividend if we are successful."

He says the day-to-day running of the club would be done by a steering committee, elected by all directors.

The would-be owner guarantees to supply and fund an additional management team – reported earlier this week to include former York City boss Terry Dolan.

He would also want to be chairman for a minimum of three years, a position then voted on by shareholders, so that he could earn his commission on commercial deals brought to the club.

And as chairman he would want 'a contract to run the club in all of its commercial activities'. He added: "But again I re-inforce that I would take 25% of the profit on any deal, but only when the club is in profit on an annual basis.

"And I promise that ALL transactions would be transparent and open to public scrutiny."

Batchelor went on: "And any plans to buy the stadium would be dealt with as it would be by any board of any company, in other words we have to find a method of purchase that is cheaper than the rent asked for by the landlord."

When asked by Chad what would happen if the club continued to lose money – reported to be around £250,000 a year recently – he replied: "There are four options: We all re-invest, we do a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), we go into administration or we sell the shares on to a new buyer."

A CVA is a deal between the company and its creditors; unsecured, trade and tax, to repay them from future profits (or a deal may be written to sell assets and pay back creditors from the proceeds).

He added: "The club would not under any circumstances revert to Keith, because we would have purchased both it and hopefully by then the ground. As far as creditors are concerned, exactly what would happen to any creditor of any company that goes bump i.e. They are stuffed!

"But the reason that I think that this will not happen, however, is that the ownership of the club by the fans, the exit of Haslam and the enhanced profile will, if nothing else, fill the ground to a greater degree than it is now.

"That ignores TV interest, sponsorship deals and any other 'insane' ideas that I might come up with that the board (of potentially 2,500 people or their representatives) will allow me to put in place.

"If we only increased the gate to the number of people that went to the Notts County away game, we would be in profit, if you include the removal of Keith Haslam from the club."

Batchelor admits that in theory he could then be left with no shares or ownership in the club. And after three years no job, if the directors then decide to replace him as chairman

He added: "I don't need to own the club, I just speak on its behalf on a commercial level with a perceived degree of gravitas – that is how I will make my money, for three years at least!"

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Could Stags feature in TV documentary?
Producer wants to hear views of Stags fans
CHAD.co.uk, 2 Apr 2008, by Tim Morriss

A TV production company is considering filming a documentary about the soap opera that is Mansfield Town Football Club.
Now the firm – first approached by would-be Stags owner John Batchelor to use the Harchester United brand in his controversial renaming idea – would like to hear from Stags fans.

Batchelor's bizarre plan to rebrand Mansfield Town as the fictional side in Sky's Dream Team created a massive outcry among fans, politicians and football authorities.

His idea seems unlikely to happen, even if he does gain control at Field Mill – and on Tuesday night owner Keith Haslam said the Batchelor bid is the 'only one on the table'.

But also at the match against Wrexham on Tuesday evening was Jane Hewland, from Double Act Films.

Jane was the executive producer for Dream Team, the Sky One show which ran for 10 seasons and was made by her former company Hewland International.

Full story at CHAD website here

She had originally shown an interest in the club because of Chad's exclusive revelations over Batchelor's plans to link the club with Harchester United and her old programme.

But now Jane hopes to persuade Sky One bosses to allow her to make a documentary about the club, the takeover saga, the struggles of a lower League outfit and the personalities involved – including the supporters.

She told Chad: "There is another very different and fascinating series that could be made."

Jane had wanted to film at Tuesday night's match, but was asked not to in an attempt to avoid causing a distraction from the vitalrelegation fight on the field.

However, she was still invited to the club by chief executive Stephen Booth, and told Chad: "I had a brilliant time, watched a terrific game, met some great people and the Stags won!

"I still have to meet fans, players, coaching staff and all the many layers of people connected with this brave and fascinating club, before we could proceed to a proper documentary proposal.

"But I hope to be back at Field Mill on Saturday - and with a camera, to shoot some footage. If we do, I do hope people will give us their honest views.

"I would also like to hear from the fans now. And I would like to thank all at the club for their hospitality last night."

Click here to contact Jane and give her your views on the club and the idea of making a TV documentary behind the scenes at Field Mill.

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April Fool? Has Harchester United man made Mansfield Town a laughing stock?
CHAD.co.uk, 1 Apr 2008, by Tim Morriss

IT was the story that should have been reported yesterday . . . then everyone would have known it was a joke.
Sadly for Mansfield Town Football Club it was no joke. The man who wants to buy the Stags, lock stock and barrel, for £5m — he says — would then change the club's name.

Mansfield Town FC, the name which has stood proudly for 98 years, would be gone. In its place Harchester United, a virtual team from a television programme — Dream Team on Sky One — and, says John Batchelor, a more marketable brand!

Pie in the sky? Certainly a nightmare for the vast majority of Stags fans.

Full story at CHAD website here

Overnight John Batchelor did what it has taken Keith Haslam, the Stags' controversial owner, almost 15 years to achieve.

He is now possibly the most hated man in Mansfield. Barmy? He says he's been called worse names!

Taking away the club's identity would rip the heart and soul out of the club — not to mention the town.

All in the quest for a fast buck.

Where would the club be when the initial surge in national publicity and sponsorship has gone?

Where would the club be when the novelty value has worn off for any 'new' fans . . . and the Stags supporters have been alienated forever?

Would investors really want a part in such an acrimonious venture?

20,000 plus Harchester 'fans' have registered on a website. Real fans, not virtual supporters, do not follow a team blindly just because it has the same name as one on TV. They do so because they identify with their local club, from their home town.

They might be intangible assets and not show up on a balance sheet — but goodwill and emotional attachment count for a lot.

'Barmy Batchelor' likens football as a business to a supermarket but would Tesco shoppers travel 200 miles just to go grocery shopping?

Mansfield Town FC might not be the best club in the world, it might not be the most successful, but it is ours . . . it belongs to the fans, to the community and not to a get-rich-quick opportunist with not a care for the amber and blue.

Yes, 'Barmy Batchelor' has proved that he can generate more publicity and interest in 24 hours for the club than anyone could have imagined.
But can we forget:

That his business scruples leave behind a trail of protest.
That he has already taken one club into administration
That our club — players, fans and staff — are being ridiculed far and wide

Yes, football IS in the entertainment business, Mr Batchelor. But it is not a circus, with you as the ringmaster!

This ridiculous idea cannot be allowed to become virtual reality.

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Profitable firm bust in just 3 months under 'Harchester Batchelor', the man wanting to buy Mansfield Town
Victims of would-be Stags owner tell Chad of their misery

CHAD.co.uk, 1 Apr 2008, By James Hoy and Tim Morriss
FURIOUS businessmen who claim would-be Mansfield Town owner John Batchelor has put them out of pocket by hundreds and thousands of pounds are warning he could send the football club under in a matter of months.
Mr Batchelor has admitted to buying and then closing down around 15 companies — including two hygiene products firms Besglos and Moornate.

In just three months Moornate went from a profitable company to being in the hands of the administrators after Mr Batchelor set in place a transfer of money between the two companies.

David Brown, former managing director of Lancashire-based hygiene products firm Moornate, says he was left £300,000 out-of-pocket after Mr Batchelor started to buy his company in November 2006 –– and less than a year later called the administrators in.

Warned Mr Brown: "Whoever is dealing with this guy, he will be making all sorts of promises to them but they won't get a thing –– I would warn them to steer well clear. He took a company with a successful 41-year history and stripped it," he said.

Full story at CHAD website here

"We had shown a profit in the three years up to him taking over. Before all this I don't think I had bounced a cheque in all these years.

"We were doing well and it's he who comes in and undoes all this hard work –– it's disgusting he is allowed to get away with it. If he gets in at Mansfield Town it won't take long for something like it to happen."

Mr Brown took over as managing director in 1994, and the business bought its premises through a mortgage with the NatWest.

The business showed a profit for all but three years (1995, 1996 and 2000) up to November 2006, when it was approached by Mr Batchelor who said he wanted to buy the company.

A report by the eventual administrator Gordon Craig, issued in September of last year states: "His (Mr Batchelor's) stated intention was to purchase six to eight companies and eventually float the amalgamated unit as a public company."

It revealed that Mr Batchelor wanted to spread the £485,000 cost of buying Moornate over three years through loan notes — but the first was not redeemable until November 2007.

Batchelor had also set up an intra-company agreement which saw £120,000 given to rival company Besglos — which Batchelor was involved with — and agree to guarantee all Besglos liabilities under an invoice factoring agreement.

The administrator reported that between April and July 2007 Mr Batchelor then 'made various demands for payments to himself as a consultant to the new owners and also requested that monies be transferred to Besglos'.

The plan was that Besglos would control all accounting functions of Moornate. However, the administrator said that while the money was transferred for this, the funds 'were not being used to discharge the liabilities of this company'.

And Batchelor's partner Cheryl Hopkins, who had been installed as director and company secretary in April, then put Moornate into administration in July last year — a couple of weeks after Mr Brown resigned.

She bought back the company's assets for £17,000 through another company –– Cobco (847) Ltd of which she was company secretary — leaving Moornate overdrawn and owing more than £26,000 on the mortgage for the property.

The previous owners of Moornate were left being owed £300,000 — with numerous other creditors of Moornate and a total debt of over £436,000.

Within three months a previously successful business with a successful 41-year history had gone to the wall . . .

A month later Besglos was also placed into administration by Cheryl Hopkins, who had replaced Mr Batchelor as a director in March, Again she bought back assets, this time worth £30,000.

When Chad put the allegations to Mr Batchelor this week, he said: "It is true that Moornate made a profit, however, it was very small. During this deal, David's solicitors failed to register a charge over the building, the sale of the building made a greater profit than five years of what would have been very hard work . . . I had an opportunity to make a profit, so I took it.

"In actual fact, it changed my view on how the whole thing should be put together. I had intended to create a group, but it was more profitable in the short term to exploit the opportunity."

Dave Morley told Chad he was one of five employees asked to join Mr Batchelor at janitorial company Besglos Polish when he left Systems Hygiene (another company once owned by Mr Batchelor) in 2006.

"He promised us large salaries which he paid until September when he just decided to stop paying everyone at the company," he said.

"He is a man without scruples who cares only for himself and would sell his own mother. Please take this on board and make sure that he stays well away from Mansfield Town."

Mr Batchelor said: "I have never heard of Dave Morley, I suspect that it may be an alias."

Judith Baxendale had known Mr Batchelor for 18 years and also joined Besglos after being promised a large salary and benefits like private health care, said husband Ian.

But after being diagnosed with lung cancer in October last year she was left with no sick pay or redundancy money and the 54-year-old died in February after battling with the disease.

Said Ian: "We were planning to move abroad permanently and I said to him, 'please don't mess us around, we just want a good 12 months and then we are out'. I encouraged Judith to make the move because it was such a good wage –– I said she would be mad to turn it down," he said.

"It turned out she didn't get any sick pay or redundancy money and we were left £10,000 out of pocket in back pay. I can't believe he would do that to someone he had known for so many years. I can't blame him for Judith getting lung cancer, but his actions made the last few months very stressful for her."

Mr Batchelor said: "Sometimes things don't work out the way that you would like them to, and in Judith's case, she really did deliver. I worked with her in three companies over a 20-year period, I am not sure where the 10k figure comes from, as far as I am aware, Judith was paid up to date, less one month.

"However, any outstanding salaries are a matter for the administrator. She, above all others (in her capacity as finance manager) knew the difficulties that those companies had and was sensible enough to try to help them. I miss speaking to her and it must be terrible for Ian to have suffered that loss.

"I understand the bitterness, but if (and this is not true of Judith) people don't deliver in terms of sales and management, then a company failure is inevitable. Neither Besglos nor Moornate were particularly healthy. Besglos was insolvent when we purchased it, we just gave it a go! Everyone will have a view, but all we all tried to do was fix them . . . end of!"

Richard Dyson, of Stockport firm Greyland, says he was a supplier to Besglos and was left £20,000 out of pocket when the firm went into administration.

He told Chad: "He pursues companies that are in a mess financially –– just like a lot of lower league football clubs are –– then strips their assets. He freely admits that this is how he makes his money.

"He works just within the boundaries of the law and has got some very expensive lawyers –– £20,000 is a lot of money to me, but I'll never see any of it."

Mr Batchelor said: "Commercial risk, hard luck, I've been on the other end of it."

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Batchelor snubbed by York for Euro pre-season tournament plan
. . . and he would not be welcome at club even if he owned Mansfield
CHAD.co.uk, 3 APril 2008, By Tim Morriss
FURIOUS York City officials have delivered a blow to would-be Stags owner John Batchelor's plans for a European pre-season tournament at Field Mill.
Last week Chad reported how Batchelor, if he takes over Mansfield Town FC, has arranged for former European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade and also Partizan Belgrade to feature in a summer tournament at the Stags.

He approached his old club, which he took into administration, to see if they wanted to be the fourth club involved.

But the Minstermen have bluntly told him that York would not be involved - and that he would not be welcome at KitKat Crescent should Mansfield be relegated to Blue Square Premier at the end of the season.

Batchelor told Chad: "I wanted York to do it as there would obviously be a lot of interest given my involvement there.

"But as we have chosen Partizan and Red Star because of their fierce rivalry I will now look at Chesterfield as the other local team.

"I thought it would be a nice gesture for York to get some money back out of me as they still feel so aggrieved, but I guess I am not surprised they turned me down.

Sophie McGill, City's communications and community director, said the board left Batchelor in no uncertain terms of their displeasure at his offer.

She told the York Evening Press: "I informed him that the board of York City Football Club was not interested in his proposal and reaffirmed the message that John Batchelor was not welcome at York City Football Club at any time.

"I then gave Mr Batchelor my personal views of his tenure at York City. I was very blunt and forceful with him and I was personally horrified by the audacity and bare-faced cheek of the man."

 

Latest | April 2008